A 60-minute lesson in which students investigate materials to determine how water resistant they are.
Prior to conducting the lesson, prepare 12 ice cube trays with one sample of six different materials in each cell. Ensure the materials you select have a range of absorptive properties. Different materials to include are: cardboard, shower curtain, cellophane, plastic straws, cotton balls, cotton fabric, popsicle sticks, aluminum foil, and tissue paper.
Ice cube trays with samples of materials
This lesson contains a link to an external video. Please watch the video prior to presenting this lesson to ensure that the content is appropriate for your students.
Read the text, Kipper’s Rainy Day by Mick Inkpen, to the children. Alternatively, watch a video of the text being read aloud on YouTube. After watching, discuss what Kipper could do if he wanted to play in the rain (wear boots, raincoat, etc).
Revisit the concept that objects are made of materials that suit their purpose.
Explain to the students that they will be investigating which material will make the best raincoat.
Provide students with a copy of the science experiment Keep Me Dry Worksheet. Read through the first page of the experiment booklet as a class and check that the students understand the method.
Students will work with a partner, taking turns to add water to each material found in an ice cube tray.
Support students to record the name of each material found in their ice cube tray on the worksheet and encourage them to write words to describe how each material looks and feels when it is dry.
Assist students to record their predictions about water absorption for each material on the worksheet.
Model how to add 20 drops of water to each material.
Once students have added water to each material, encourage them to return to the first sample and write a description of the material now that it is wet. Have them continue in the same way recording observations for each sample.
Monitor and support the students as they complete their investigation. Ensure they are recording their results and completing the worksheet as they go.
After testing each material, students record its suitability as a raincoat on the second page. At the conclusion of the experiment, collect the students’ experiment booklets. These can be included in a portfolio of work samples and used to assess the students’ understanding of the unit objectives.
Ask students to share their findings with another pair of students.
As a whole class, review the task and brainstorm descriptive vocabulary that was used.
Encourage more capable students to brainstorm other materials that would be absorbent and test them in the same way.
Support less confident students by completing the investigation in a small group with adult support.
Suggested Assessment Strategies
used strategic whole class or individual questioning
observed student participation during learning activities