Exploring Science with Water – Karen’s PreK PageBy Karen Cox
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Give each child an ice cube tray, a cup of water, and a medicine dropper. Have them drop a few drops of water (not too much) into each section of the ice cube tray. Provide them with a variety of materials for the experiment, some that will absorb and some that will not. The children will place one item in each section of the ice cube tray to see which ones absorb water and which do not. Examples of materials to use: small piece of wood, facial tissue, tissue paper, writing paper, paper towel, Unifix cube, cotton ball, rock, etc.
Show children a set of items, some that will dissolve in water and some that will not dissolve. Examples: sugar cube (will dissolve), Unifix cube (will not dissolve). Ask children to make a prediction about each item. Then place each item in a cup of water, observe, and compare.
Children drop a ball of clay into a small tub of water to see if it floats or sinks. Next, form a boat from the clay and try to make a boat that will float. You can try putting small toy animals in the boat to see how many the boat will hold without sinking.
Next time it rains at your school, collect some rain water in a clear jar or water from a puddle (any water that is a little dirty). Pass the jar around to the children for them to inspect. Line a funnel with a coffee filter and place the funnel in another clear jar. Pour the water through the funnel into the new jar. Pass the jar of filtered water around for the children to inspect. What happened to the dirt? Allow each child to take a look at the dirt on the filter.
Warm & Cold:
Place an ice cube in a cup of warm water and another ice cube in a cup of cold water. Observe to see which cube melts first.
Add water to the sensory table along with turkey basters, and cups with and without holes in the bottom.
Fill about five or six glass vases with graduated amounts of colored water. The children use a guiro mallet (from a children’s musical instrument collection) to gently tap them as they listen to the musical notes made.
Children use a funnel to fill a plastic drink bottle half full with water. They fill the bottle the rest of the way with baby oil. Give the liquid a chance to settle, then add a few drops of blue food coloring (it’s fun to watch the blue color drop down through the oil, then “explode” into the water). Add plastic fish or sequins, and make waves by turning the bottle sideways and rocking it gently.
Float & Sink:
Children predict whether a set of items will float or sink. Place a set of items into two groups (float/sink) on a floor mat, according to the children’s predictions. Working at tables, children work in pairs to test the items (cap, penny, marble, feather, toy fish, etc.) in the water. Then, check their predictions.
Fill a bowl with water, sprinkle pepper on top, and drop liquid dish detergent into the middle. The pepper floats because of surface tension. The soap breaks the surface tension and the pepper scatters to the sides and sinks.