For a few years now, the Hubs writing team has used the informal tagline – “We can make your job easier” – when presenting at conferences or engaging in professional development. Making things easy was one of my goals when developing lower primary resources on observing water.
The junior school day is dominated by literacy and numeracy. Fitting in other curriculum areas can be a challenge, and offering good quality science programmes can be even more challenging. Finding meaningful and appropriate topics, the necessary resources and equipment and upskilling one’s knowledge can take a good deal of time. Angela's aim in writing these junior water resources is to provide an interesting topic with lots of hands-on activities that are educationally engaging and use common items from the classroom or kitchen.
The science behind observing water
Our collection of resources on Observing water explores Material World concepts and uses observation as the basis for learning about properties and changes of matter and the structure of matter. In their simplest terms, the big science ideas are:
- the characteristics of solids, liquids and gases
- matter is made up of small particles
- matter can change states
- changes of state involve the addition or removal of (heat) energy.
Observation and the nature of science
In addition, observing water has aspects of the nature of science woven throughout the activities. Students are encouraged to use observation as they investigate water and ice, bubbles and some of water’s quirky properties such as it's 'skin'. The activities encourage students to explore familiar substances and communicate their findings in age-appropriate ways.
Making science fun for students and teachers alike
The hands-on activities use an inquiry approach to explore states of matter and some of the properties of water. They are simple yet engaging, and combine the aspects of play, exploration and working as scientists to observe and interpret their world. The videos and interactive are designed for a young audience – using imagery and language appropriate for their interest and developmental levels.
These resources are intended to be enjoyable for teachers, too. The science articles provide clear explanations on the basics of matter, energy and changes of state. A provides ideas on how to use the resources. The lesson planner and all of the downloadable worksheets are in Word, making it easy for you to modify them to suit your needs.
Extension and enrichment opportunities
The observing water resources were kept simple to appeal to NZC level 1 and 2 audiences. There is plenty of opportunity for extension, though. See our resources on viscosity and how liquids flow, including that most unusual of liquids – cornflour and water oobleck. The collection of resources on gases and plasmas explores the fourth state of matter – plasma – and explains how we see plasma in our everyday lives: lightning, televisions and fluorescent lights.