Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Water is Wonderful!

My students are loving our water unit.  I have a lot of English Language Learners, so we try to build as much vocabulary as possible while having fun learning.  Each student is writing a water book.
The first page we do is a web where we brainstorm for ways that students use water that is fun.  Here's a copy from one student's book.
Then the students pick their favorite idea to write more about on the next page.
Our next page is about how we use water for things we need.  Again, we brainstorm and make a web.
Then I had students choose 3 ways they need water.
Then we get to some of the experiments.  As I navigate this unit I use this wonderful book with great photographs.  It's called A Drop of Water by Walter Wick. 
The first pages of the book discuss how water droplets form in the shape of a sphere because the molecules like to cling together.  I have the students experience this to see how it makes a round shape by linking up arm in arm until everyone is linked and we look at the shape we're in.  It's a circle.  Then we do a couple of fun experiments with surface tension.

The first one explores how the water molecules like to cling together.  Each child gets a piece of waxed paper, a toothpick, and an eye dropper.  I place a cup with some water and food dye (just for fun) in the center of their tables and show them how to drop the water onto the waxed paper.  Then they use the toothpicks to drag water molecules apart and together.  Here are some pictures.

The best part of this activity is that my students are so engaged in exploring it's very quiet in the room!

The next surface tension experiment we do is to use our water droppers to see how many drops we can put on a penny before the surface tension breaks.  The students predict first, then try it.

Students write about both experiments and what they learned in their water books.

That's all we've done so far.  We will also be exploring the water cycle and buoyancy.  I'll get those posted as we go.

If you have any feedback for me on my lessons, or my blogging, I love constructive criticism, or just great ideas.  Thanks for reading.

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