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Kid-Friendly Evaporation Experiments

May 4, 2018 12:00 AM

Spring is officially here, and you know what they say, “Spring showers bring May flowers.” Everywhere you look, the beauty of springtime is evident. From the blooming azalea bushes to the new buds on the trees, to the buzz of the bumblebee getting nectar from the flowers.

Evaporation is a part of the water cycle that plays a significant part in precipitation. Precipitation is any form of weather that falls from the sky. Let’s take a quick review of the process of the Water Cycle. We just covered precipitation. Some other keywords are:

  • Condensation - Condensation is the process by which clouds of water vapor fill with tiny water drops. As the clouds become water-logged with the droplets, they merge and become heavier. Once the clouds fill to the brim with the condensation, it either rains, or snows, or hails. The kind of precipitation that falls to the Earth’s surface all depends on the temperatures in the atmosphere.
  • Evaporation - This is the process when water, which is in the liquid state, is transformed into a gas known as water vapor.

Planet Earth is covered in 70 percent water, mostly by its may oceans and seas. The website WaterUSGS.gov (https://water.usgs.gov/edu/watercycleevaporation.html) states that “Evaporation from the oceans is the primary mechanism supporting the surface-to-atmosphere portion is the water cycle… and provides the opportunity for large-scale evaporation to occur.”

Did you know that you can witness the evaporation process first-hand? With a couple easy and fun experiments kids can see how evaporation works. These projects are excellent for younger elementary school-aged kids.

Salt Water Experiment - This experiment seems to be great for Kindergarten and First Graders.

What you will need:

· Pieces of black construction paper

  • Table salt
  • Timer
  • Large plastic cup
  • Water
  • Baking sheet/Cookie sheet, any size
  • Rocks or waterproof paperweights

Directions:

  1. Fill the plastic container with water about ¾ of the way full.
  2. Dissolve some table salt in a large glass of water.
  3. Place the black construction paper on the baking sheets.
  4. Secure all four corners with the rocks.
  5. Then, pour the salt water onto the pieces of black construction paper.
  6. Set in the sun and check back in a couple of hours. Set the timer if necessary.
  7. When the timer goes off, check the results of the experiment.
  8. Have the kids describe what they see. You can even have them gently touch the salt left on the piece of paper and describe it.

Sun vs. Shade project - This project can be done over the course of a couple of days, weather permitting of course, and it’s great for 2nd and 3rd graders. The object of this experiment is to see if sun or shade causes evaporation to occur fastest.

Items Needed:

  • 2 bowls that are the same size
  • Water
  • Notebook
  • Ruler
  • Timer
  • Pencil
  • Sunshine
  • Shady tree

Directions:

  1. Fill the identical containers with equal amounts of tap water.
  2. Then, measure the water in the bowls with a ruler and make a note of the measurements in the notebook. You should also note the time you measured the water in the bowls.
  3. Set one bowl in the sunshine, and the other dish in nearby shade.
  4. Set the timer for every hour or two.
  5. When the timer rings, go outside and measure the amounts of water in each bowl. Make a note of the water levels in the notebook. Don’t forget to note the time.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until the experiment is finished.
  7. Have the students create a graph to show the results of the project.
  8. If you’re going to do this project over the course of a couple of days, be sure to bring in the bowls at the end of each day in case unexpected weather occurs during the night.

These are only a couple experiments that are hands-on and help kids have a better understanding of evaporation. For a couple of other projects to do with your class, visit Sciencing.com (https://sciencing.com/simple-evaporation-experiments-15764.html).


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