13. Description of the core message of your event and key topics to be covered (c.100 words):
We’ve all experienced it, but why? Surprisingly, scientists have only just figured it out. Retrace their steps by measuring how your fingertips change as they wrinkle in water, and then see how this affects your ability to do certain tasks.
We will compare the volume of the finger tips and the grip of the finger tips both before and after wrinkling. We will have a container with comfortably warm water for them to hold their hands in to induce wrinkling. Before and after wrinkling, they will:
1) measure the volume of the finger tips, using Archimedes’ method of weighing the water displacement of the finger tip on a fine balance. According to current knowledge, wrinkled fingers are shrunk (smaller volume) compared to non-wrinkled fingers
2) measure how quickly they can move a number of objects out of a container with water. Our recent results show that people are faster with wrinkled fingers than without.
The children will learn something about physics (water displacement) and physiology (shrinking of finger tips). They will also learn about fine timing of behavioural measures. In addition, we will walk them through what they’ll be doing, and ask them to predict what should happen, and what that might mean. They therefore also get some practice in thinking scientifically about testing hypotheses and making predictions. We will collate all the data on a screen or a white-board, so that the progress of the data collection can be checked throughout the day.