The Science of Puddles
Children will look at their schoolyard and determine where a puddle will form after a heavy rain. They will map the school yard and draw chalk lines to demonstrate their predictions. After a rain children will check their predictions and begin to investigate a puddle over a period of time.
Children will measure and record data related to temporary wetlands.
Children will predict where puddles will form and be able to give reasons for their predictions.
Children will observe and record animals and plants that use temporary wetlands.
Children will test and record the pH levels of a temporary wetland.
Context for Use
Resource Type: Activities:Classroom Activity, Field Activity
Special Interest: Field-Based Teaching and Learning
Grade Level: Primary (K-2), Intermediate (3-5)
Theme: Teach the Earth:Incorporating Societal Issues:Climate Change, Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Atmospheric Science, Teach the Earth:Enhancing your Teaching:Teaching in the Field, Teach the Earth:Teaching Environments:K12
Description and Teaching Materials
Before a predicted rainstorm go outside and explore the schoolyard for the possible location of puddles. Draw a map of the schoolyard as a group indicating on the map where the predicted puddles will be. If the puddles will be on a blacktop surface children can outline with chalk the predicted size of the the puddle. Back in the classroom talk about the reasons why the students made those predictions, write them together as an interactive writing activity by sharing the pen to list the predictions and reasons for the predictions.
After a rain go out to the schoolyard with the map of puddles. The chalk drawings may be washed away but depending on the rain some lines may be left. The students will be able to recognize the spots better if they have previously outlined the area. Begin collecting data about the puddles. Children can work with a partner or in a small group to collect data. What signs of life, plant and animal can they find? What is the temperature of the puddle? What is the diameter of the puddle? What is the depth of the puddle? What is the pH of the puddle. How long does the puddle last? What happens to the puddle? Graph and record data in their science notebooks. There are many discussion threads and this activity can lead to more in depth study of wetlands and the water cycle. Check on the puddles for the next couple of days and gather the same data. Discuss with the students what happens to the water in a puddle. Lead the discussion so that the children realize the water evaporates, seeps into the ground and possibly flows to another water source, drain or stream. Discuss the pH of the puddle. Are all the puddles the same pH? Discuss other observations made and recorded by the students. As a closing group activity a puddle bulletin board can be made showing the life cycle of a puddle. Displaying graphs, maps and puddles.
This activity is adapted from "Aquatic Project Wild, Aquatic Education Activity Guide", copyright 1987 by the western Regional Environmental Education Council and "WOW! The Wonders of Wetlands an Educators Guide" Copyright 1995 by Environmental Concern Inc. and The Watercourse.
Teaching Notes and Tips
Children will graph water temperature, diameter and depth, data and be able to explain the changes in data over time as measured by teacher observation.