Inside: Water experiments are a fantastic way of teaching kids the value of our Earth’s most important resource. At home or in the classroom, they are easy to perform and most can be completed with common household materials. Try some easy water experiments in your home school or classroom today!
If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water. — Loren Eiseley
The Magic of Water
I was a born scientist raised on the shores of beautiful Lake Ontario so water experiments came naturally. As a child, I delighted in playing in water. Puddles fascinated me. I would collect bottles of water and look at drops of it under my microscope. The dozens of microscopic creatures I watched and drew were magic to me.
There was a pond across the road from my house. Daily in the summer my friends and I would go fishing in that pond. I had to examine every fish we caught and water bug we saw. It was a magical time. Any fish we caught, of course were released back into that pond. My mum would take us daily to the local beaches in Sarnia, Ontario where I grew up. My siblings and friends would spend hours tubing and swimming and searching the sand for beautiful shells.
Crucial to all Life
Water is a crucial aspect of life. It’s the main thing that makes us unique from every other planet in our solar system. It’s also why NASA is forever on the lookout for water sources during their explorations. Water = life. Understanding the nature of water is important for our survival and so water experiments can make for a whole load of fun learning.
When it comes to teaching kids, water is fantastic because it’s safe, easy to get access to, and cheap. You won’t need to worry about ordering chemicals or lab jackets; you’ll just need to get that tap running. Ideally, water-based experimentation is best saved for summer science experiments, though the lessons it brings can stick at any time of year. So, once you’ve protected your floor from potential spillage (of which there will be plenty), keep reading to find out what lessons lie in a bucket of water.
Easy Water Experiments
1. Water filtration
Water filtration is a fantastic process. It’s what allows us to drink water without getting ill. As such, this is the first useful lesson water can bring. Most kids know, after all, that they can drink the water from the kitchen tap but not out of the river. Show them the difference between the two with a simple filtration experiment using equipment like this 24 well plate. This device can remove particle matter from liquids.
Get samples of water from several sources: your tap, a pond, a river, a fish tank and place each sample in a different well of the filtration plate. Examine the filtered particles under a microscope. Create an observation page and draw what you see. Are the particles all the same size? What are their shapes. What do you think these particles are? Do some research on the internet to see if you can discover more about these particles.
Look at the liquid part under a microscope. Are there any tiny creatures swimming in the water? Are there particles in the water not filtered out? Draw them on your observation sheet. If you found creatures in your water, search the internet to see if you can discover what they are.
Clean, filtered water is vital to good health and using a device like this filtration well plate is an effective means of showing that. After an experiment like this, your kids will never take tap water for granted again.
2. Water displacement
If you want to keep things even simpler, use water to teach your kids about water displacement. This activity doesn’t require any fancy equipment. You’ll just need a bucket of water and some small kids toys. If you want to be more precise, you can use a large measuring cup. By asking your children to place different toys into the bucket, you can then show them how the water level rises depending on the mass and weight of each toy. Throughout the experiment, ask them to write what they expect to happen. By getting them to then jot down how the reality differed, you increase the chances of your displacement activity displacing any false beliefs.
3. Water vapor
Changes of state are easy to study in water experiments using simple materials. It’s easy to show kids how something liquid can change states to vapor. That is precisely what they’ll see in this last experiment. Some simple kitchen gear and water is all you’ll need. Get a saucepan of water and put it on the stove. Remember to keep those little fingers out-of-the-way when you turn on the heat. Then, get your kids to see what happens to the water in the pan. Soon, you’ll find yourselves looking at an empty pan and, as easy as that, the experiment will have done the trick. If you want to go all out, start this with an ice-cube. That would give a detailed example of how solids can change to a liquid and then to a gas and all without ever having to leave the house!
Water experiments are fun and provide great learning about the nature of water. Water is our most precious resource. Clean drinking water is vital to the health of us and the planet. Use these water experiments to give your kids a good grasp of the nature of water and the need for clean, toxin-free sources of this resource.
Do you have any favorite water experiments you do with your kids or in your classroom? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear about your adventures with water!