MnSTEP Teaching Activity Collection > MnSTEP Activities > On The Move

On The Move

Shannon Casey, Valley Crossing Community School, Woodbury Mn

References and Resources
202 Oozing, Bubbling, Dripping and Bouncing Experiments, Janice Van Cleave
Author Profile


In this activity students will observe and investigate some of the properties of water. They will do this activity as one of many inquiry lessons to learn about the concept of diffusion.

Learning Goals

The children will determine if water molecules are in constant motion.

The students will raise questions about the natural world, make careful observations and seek answers

The students will understand that objects have physical properties

Key Concepts
Students will observe, describe, and compare water
Students will record observations on a special science sheet
Students will communicate and share ideas
Students will understand that observation is an important part of the scientific process.

Context for Use

This is an investigative lab activity that could be used with a kindergarten and first grade class. This will be one of many activities that will be toward the end of our unit on water. Plan for an estimated 20-30 minutes initially and observe the glass for 2 days. Students will work with a cooperative group.

Subject: Chemistry
Resource Type: Activities:Classroom Activity
Grade Level: Primary (K-2)

Description and Teaching Materials

Description and teaching materials
Set the children up in formal cooperative groups. Introduce this lesson and have the children set it up with their group at the same time. Talk with your students about how we will be watching this and recording what we see for two days. Have the students set it all up, put their names on their index card, make an observation, and set it safely in the correct spot.

measuring cup
Tap water
¼ teaspoon (1ml) salt
green food coloring
clear juice glass
index card

The students begin by measuring ¼ cup of tap water into a measuring cup. They add salt and 5 drops of coloring and stir it all together. They then fill the glass one-fourth full with water and tilt the glass and slowly pour the green salt water down the side. Then they will cover the top of the glass with the index card, draw or write an observation and place it where it will not be disturbed. They will then make a new observation they next day and again on the last day. At first the green salty water settles to the bottom of the glass and the clear water floats on the top. After 2 days all of the liquid in the glass is green. When the group has taken observations for the time allotted have the groups discuss and share their findings. Rubric Self Eval working with my group (Microsoft Word 196kB Jul31 08)

Teaching Notes and Tips

I will then discuss the vocabulary words of water molecules and diffusion. This experiment demonstrates that water molecules are in constant motion; this is why all of the liquid in the glass is green because the molecular motion called diffusion. I think this activity will be a fun way to work on the standards of observing our world. I hope to create a cooperative rubric for the cooperative groups to ensure everyone's participation. The children are most likely not yet ready to understand the vocabulary but can begin to connect the words the more they hear them. I have not yet done this experiment but plan to try it. I foresee spills if we do not put them away appropriately. I also foresee children shaking them and not having the full 2 days to form the green water. I will have one just in case to compare.


I would use the time during group observation time to monitor how well students are working together, make notes for social skills that may need to be addressed with cooperative groups. I will have the students turn in their rubric and science sheets to check to see if they observed and recorded the experiment.


Kindergarten History and Nature of Science I B. K
Grade 1 History and Nature of Science I B.1
Grade 1 Physical Science structure of Matter II A. 1

References and Resources