What’s up with puddles? Plan your own experiment about evaporation!

14th July, 2010 - Posted by Sammie Gann - 1 Comment

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Kids are always up for investigating rain puddles. Carolina™ Curriculum has designed an activity to help students generate an investigable question and then plan an experiment. Use a graphic novel from Carolina’s Science Magnifier™ (Yellow Dot, for grades 2–3) as an attention-grabbing starting point. Then download and use an activity sheet to guide students through the steps to plan an experiment to answer their question.

Students generate a question and plan an experiment about evaporation






Activity: What’s Up with Puddles? Plan an Experiment

Activity objectives:

  • Observe, measure, and record change
  • Gather evidence to begin building an explanation of evaporation
  • Practice developing investigable questions
  • Plan an experiment based on student-generated questions
  • Identify what is observed, measured, and recorded in the experiment

Teacher directions:

  1. Students begin this activity by viewing (using the computer lab, smart board, etc.) the graphic novel.
  2. Use the storyline in the graphic novel to spark a class discussion. Guiding questions include:
  • What question did the kids want to answer?
  • Are there any “science words” in this story?
  • What are the kids observing?
  • What are the kids measuring? How? What tool are they using? Might there be another way to measure? Another tool to use?
  • Do you think they measured one time? Many times? Why do you think so?
  • What do you need to do this experiment?
  • What might be a good way to record the results?

3. Ask students: Think of a question you have about evaporation.

  • With younger students, consider asking the question to start a whole-group discussion (using chart paper to record student ideas/questions).
  • Older students can work in teams of 2 or 4 to generate a question. Use the question as an opportunity for students to “think about it” and to record their questions on Student Activity Sheet: Plan an Experiment.

Let’s get started!

  1. Download Student Activity Sheet: Plan an Experiment and make a copy of the activity sheet for each student.
  2. Distribute a copy of Student Activity Sheet: Plan an Experiment to each student. If using this activity with younger students, consider using the activity sheet as a guide and record student responses on chart paper.
  3. Talk through the directions on Student Activity Sheet: Plan an Experiment so that students understand the task. Set classroom guidelines for the experiments. Guidelines may include:
  • Use items in your experiment that are easily found in our classroom or brought in from home.
  • Have your teacher review your experimental plan and materials before you set up the experiment.
  • Follow class rules for safety in science lab.

4. Review students’ experimental plans. Approve their materials lists and/or make suggestions for substitutions.

5. Guide students to complete their experiments and record their results.

6. Plan time for each team of students to share its experiment and results with the rest of the class.

7. Conclude with a class discussion. Build a working definition of evaporation based on results of the experiments.

Additional resources
Science Magnifier™ (Yellow Dot), pgs. 202, 203; Science Magnifier™ (Blue Dot, for grades 4–5), pgs. 230, 231

Teacher background information:
Evaporation: A process in which the sun heats liquid water and changes it into a gas.
Glossary, Science Magnifier™ (Blue Dot)

Rates of Evaporation: A number of variables affect the rate of evaporation. Heating accelerates evaporation, and in nature the sun powers the process, transforming liquid water drawn from oceans, lakes, and soils into vapor. The surface area of the water is also a factor: the greater the surface area, the greater the rate of evaporation. Low humidity favors evaporation as water vapor moves more readily into drier air. When the air is moving, the rate of evaporation also increases. Thus, wet laundry dries more quickly on a clothesline in the sun on a dry and windy day. These variables all make excellent topics for experiments.
Teacher Background Information, Building Blocks of Science® Weather and the Water Cycle

Water Cycle Diagram

Curriculum connections:
Science Magnifier
Building Blocks of Science® unit Weather and the Water Cycle
STC® Unit Changes
KIDS DISCOVER Changes, Pack of 8
STC® Unit Weather
KIDS DISCOVER Weather, Pack of 8

Submit student work:
The I Teach Inquiry® Network is a great place to share student work with other teachers online.

  1. Scan student work and save as a .jpg file.
  2. Go to www.iteachinquiry.com.
  3. Submit student work under the Contribute link at the top of the page.
  4. We always enjoy posting photos of classroom scientists at work. For more information email samara.lotz@carolina.com.

1 Comment


March 4th, 2011 at 12:50 pm    

Good Morning, Thanks for the Informative article, I dont usually leave comments but your article inspired me! Keep up the good work and look forward to more articles

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