Ready-To-Use Teaching Ideas
- Cardboard egg cartons
- Tissue paper, drawing paper, contact paper
- Cardboard, empty cereal boxes, empty milk cartons
- Tissues and paper towels
- Water table or basin
- Paper tubes
- Wax paper
- Plastic cups
- Chart paper and marker
Objective: Children will use different types of paper and paper products in sink-and-float investigations.
In Advance: Using chart paper, make three columns with heading titles: Materials, Sink, and Float. Under the Materials column, list the different types of paper or paper products that you will be using in the experiment. You may even want to glue each type of paper onto the chart paper.
- Show the Sink and Float chart to the children during group time. Ask what they already know about things that sink and things that float. What do they think will happen if they put paper items in water?
- Provide the children with various paper materials. Encourage them to place the materials into the water and describe what happens. Which papers soak up water most quickly? What happens to paper that absorbs water? What paper changes color in water? Do any of the papers fall apart in water? What kinds of things can you put paper on to keep it afloat?
- Show the children two sheets of newspaper. Invite a child to roll one of the sheets into a ball. Ask the children to predict what will happen if the items are placed into water. Invite children to place the newspaper in the water to test their predictions.
- Ask the children to fill paper containers with water. What happens when water is put inside the milk containers and cardboard boxes? Encourage the children to further their investigations with cardboard egg cartons. What will make the egg cartons sink? Give the children a variety of materials to place into the egg cartons. Which ones make the egg cartons sink?
- Gather the children together to complete the Sink and Float chart. Compare the children's predictions with the actual experiments.
For younger children: Provide children with paper products including paper cups, empty milk cartons, and paper tubes. Allow children to experiment with filling and pouring water from the containers.
For older children: Try some additional experiments. Ask: How much water can paper hold? Give the children paper towels, tissues, napkins, drawing paper, wax paper, and a basin of water. Write the types of paper on pieces of masking tape and attach it to small plastic cups. Invite the children to soak each type of paper in water and squeeze the water into the respective cups. What paper absorbs the most water? Which papers do not absorb water? Invite the children to think of other materials that can absorb water. Write down their ideas, collect the materials, and conduct more experiments.
TIP: If you want to enjoy this activity outdoors, take a water basin and the additional materials, including the chart, outside.
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