- Sponges, dish towels or washcloths, paper towels, wax paper, aluminum foil, oaktag, Manila paper, tissue paper, paintbrushes, wooden blocks, plastic toys, Styrofoam, pencils, plastic cups, plastic bags
- Chart paper and markers
- Small droppers or plastic spoons
- Several small plastic bowls or basins
- Observational skills
- Math concepts
- Science concepts
Place the suggested materials on a table, along with one empty basin and one basin full of water. Divide the class so they can conduct the experiment in small groups. Photograph them at each stage of the experiment.
Fill a plastic cup with water. Invite a child to pour some of the water onto a sponge and another small amount onto a wooden block. Then ask her to describe what happens to the water. Explain how the sponge "absorbs" water.
Squeeze the sponge over the empty basin. What happens? Ask the class to describe why they use a paper towel or a sponge instead of a wooden block to clean up spilled juice or water.
Develop a chart to record the outcome of their experiment. At the top of one column, write the heading, "Materials That Absorb." Head the second column: "Materials That Don't Absorb." Write the words Yes and No on two separate sheets of paper. Help children sort the materials into two groups, predicting which objects will absorb water.
Conclude the experiment by testing the absorbency of each object. Record the outcomes on the prepared chart.
Remember: Children need to engage in activities several times in order to learn new concepts and vocabulary. Plan time to repeat this activity.
TAKE HOME ACTIVITY
Wax-paper puddles: Ask parents to tape a sheet of wax paper and a paper towel onto a table or countertop. Using a plastic spoon, the child can drop some water onto both. Parents can ask her to describe what happens. Which material absorbs the water?
CURRICULUM CONNECTION: MUSIC
Water melodies: Collect several medium-sized drinking glasses or glass jars. Fill each with different levels of water. Place the glasses on a table and invite a few children at a time to take part in the activity. Give each a metal spoon with which to take turns lightly tapping each glass. Ask them to describe what they hear. Then fill the glasses with equal amounts of water. What do they sound like now? Change the levels of water repeatedly so that they can observe how the tones change. Bring the children together to discuss their experiences and observations.
I Am Water by Jean Marzollo
Water by Frank Asch
Water by Susan Canizares and Pamela Chanko