Doing Water Investigations

Years ago I posted a science experiment on my website every week. One summer these were a series of water investigations.

“The City Water Project” was in its planning stages. The water investigations were being considered for inclusion in the book. They have been weeded down to ten investigations and six activities.

size of a water droplet
Are all water droplets the same? How big is one? Measuring one is a water investigation in “The City Water Project.”

While teaching I came up with an investigation format and still follow it. There is a question, a materials list, step-by-step procedure, questions and tables to record observations leading to analysis and conclusion questions. Each of the ten water investigations has been rewritten in this format.

Writing out an investigation doesn’t mean it will work. It should work. It might not. That means using the written investigation to do the experiment.

Water is easily spilled. Besides, it’s summer. I set up a table outside to use for doing the experiments.

volume of water investigations
If you push the plunger, what will happen? This is one of the water investigations in “The City Water Project.”

A few of the experiments need to be done outside as they splash water around. I thought all of them should and could be done outside.

There are some problems outside. Rain is one. Wind is another. Insects come by to check the table out. Already one of the Activities will have a recommendation to do it inside.

This is a fun challenge. Believe it or not, you can boil water inside a paper pot. I’ve done it several times using a candle to heat the paper pot.

This time I failed. The water did get hot enough to make little bubbles on the bottom. But the water didn’t boil.

One density experiment of the water investigations
What is density? How does water density determine if this rubber ball will float or not? This is another water investigation in “The City Water Project.”

Why not? A slight breeze kept blowing the flame and heat away from the pan.

Another of the water investigations uses paper towels. The breeze threatened to blow the paper strips away. The investigation did get done.

There are a few more investigations and activities to do yet. One will definitely get done in the house as it requires using a stove. One really works better with two people or more as shooting off water rockets is much more fun and easier that way.

Doing them outside in the summer is mostly the way to go. “The City Water Project” is scheduled for release next March just in time for next summer.