Prep Time: 5 minutes Lesson Time: 15 minutes Ages: Pre-K to 5, middle school a stretch
Areas of Study: Art, Science
Source: adapted from Project Wet: “Molecules in Motion”
Background/objectives: Students will enhance their knowledge of water’s three states (solid, liquid and gas) by physically becoming water molecules and moving through the different state changes.
Preparation: Whatever you need to go outside for a short time (water, sunscreen, a whistle)
1. Go outside or to a large space where the students can run around
2. Ask them if they know the difference between a solid, liquid and a gas.
3. Describe the different states of water (ice = solid, water = liquid, and water vapor = gas) and the energy differences between them (e.g. a gas has more energy than a solid). Optional: Bring examples of each phase.
4. Have the students act out the different states. For solid, have them stand as close to each other as possible and stay as still as possible. For liquid, they can walk around, as long as they stay pretty close together. For gas, they get to spread out and run around as fast as they can. The kids will really like being in the gas phase.
5. Optional: Play “Red Light Green Light” with the different phases.
Tips and Tricks:
- Try to be consistent with how you refer to the different states; either ice, water, vapor or solid, liquid gas.
How to implement for…
Pre-K-K: Keep it simple. Stick with the terms they know (ice, water, air). Instead of telling them that they are molecules, tell them that they are “really tiny parts of water.”
1-2: You can introduce the word “molecule” instead of “tiny parts of water,” but they may have some difficulty understanding it. It might be helpful to follow-up the next day to see if they still remember what a molecule is.
3-4: Say “water droplet” instead of molecule because these kids will not be able to understand it. Trying to explain what a molecule is might distract you or them from the actual purpose of the activity, which is to learn about the water cycle.
5-6: You can introduce the word “molecule,” but the kids may have trouble understanding it.