Indoor and Outdoor Activities
The teacher will want to emphasize the theme of water, weather, and space throughout the classroom by using displays of children’s books and reference books, posters, and photographs, and by using opportunities to experiment with water both inside and outside. Water play can be introduced by filling the water table. Children will gravitate to the table or container, which has been supplied with the many items described previously. To stimulate children’s construction of knowledge, teachers may want to ask questions:
What does the water look like?
What color is the water?
What happens when you move your hands in the water?
Children should also drink clean water and be encouraged to discuss how it tastes. Children will vary in their answers, which will depend on their age and concept level.
Have children make a rainmaker by punching holes in an empty plastic milk carton. Encourage them to make an interesting pattern of holes. Then have them fill the container with water and slowly raise it in the air to make rain. Children will learn about texture by feeling the water as it sprinkles down. Encourage them to articulate what they are observing.
In many classrooms, children are used to recording the weather. Teachers can extend the experience by assisting children in collecting data and constructing graphs and charts that will reveal weather patterns and seasonal changes. Then children will be able to answer such questions as: “How many sunny days did we have in November?”
Display A Drop of Water: A Book of Science and Wonder by W. Wick, and read sections of it to small groups of children . The wonderful photographs will set the stage for children to view water as rainbows, bubbles, drops, steam, ice, and frost. Most impressive is a snowflake magnified 60 times its actual size. Next, teachers may want to arrange the classroom so that children can construct their concepts about water.
As an outdoor activity, arrange various-sized containers around a small pool. Ask children if water can be heavy. Suggest that groups of children try holding different-sized containers filled with water. Children can chart how heavy the water feels (relatively) in different containers. They can draw pictures and record their findings in their science journals. The same objective may be achieved by using a water table inside, or having the children leave containers outside when it is raining and then try holding them.
Have children compare which objects float and which sink in water. (Also suggested as a home activity.) Use dishpans of water and supply the assorted objects listed earlier. Children may participate by bringing some of the items from home. The teacher may want to ask such questions as “Will the cork float?” Children will draw their conclusions and record them. Then they may want to try to see if the cork can stay on the bottom of the dishpan. Children can then classify objects as “Floaters” or “Sinkers.” The teacher may want to assist children in charting their findings for display.
Have children discover if shape plays a part in whether an object is a “Floater” or a “Sinker.” This may also be done at school with dishpans of water and aluminum foil in two shapes (tightly hammered and spread out). Children’s findings may be added to the chart and journals.
Using assorted wet and dry materials, help children to discover which will dissolve in water and which will not. Try salt, cornstarch, flour, salad oil, and sand. Suggest that children stir if they wish. Chart the findings under “Things That Dissolve in Water” and “Things That Do Not Dissolve in Water.” Materials may be added as children become more sophisticated in their observations and conclusions.
Depending on the location of the school, teachers can use resources to assist children in constructing the concept that changes in temperature transform water from liquid to solid and the reverse. Children can fill plastic bowls with water and put one bowl in the freezer and one in the room. Or, if the weather is below freezing, one container can be placed outside. Children should make predictions about the fate of the two bowls. Allow enough time and let the children compare the properties of the water.
To prepare children for the concept that water moves into other materials on earth, ask them what will happen when they put water on different materials on their trays. Try tissues, paper towels, smooth paper, stones, and bits of fabric. Children can record their findings, which they will later generalize to geology. They may also conclude that water will flow faster or slower and in different directions depending on the material.
To observe water life in ponds and streams, have the children make an underwater viewer. They will need the teacher’s help with the cutting, but not with the observing that it makes possible. Using a plastic half-gallon milk or water container, carefully cut away the top, leaving the handle. Cut away the bottom of the container. Children may decorate it with water themes as they wish. Give children a piece of plastic wrap to stretch tightly over the bottom hole of the container, and hold it in place with a rubber band. To use the viewer, hold it by the handle and press it underwater so that the water comes up the sides but not into it. Peering down through the top, children will view slightly magnified creatures and plants.
Read the short poem “Rain” by Robert Louis Stevenson. After the next rain, take magnifying glasses, science journals, and a marker outdoors to record the places where children find raindrops clinging. After returning to the classroom, have children generate a list of all the possible places that rain falls.
Read Down Comes the Rain by F. Branley (illustrated by J. G. Hale). Have children draw or paint a picture and dictate a story about how falling rain makes them feel and how their lives may change because of the rain. Jimmy may not be able to go out to play. Jane will have to put on boots and a raincoat.
© ______ 2007, Merrill, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
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