Week Forty-Seven: Water Experiments

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October 20, 2015 by WittyLibrarian

water cover
Program Title:
Water Experiments

Target Age Range: Grades 1-3

Program Length: 60 minutes

Brief Description: Explore the wonders of water with a variety of water experiments.


Water (lots of water!)



Clear Plastic Cups

Paper Towels

Thick books to use as risers

Clear Glass Cup

Cardboard Square


Paper Cup with a hole in it.

Bucket or large container to catch water in

Ziplock sandwich bags

Sharpened pencils

Empty plastic soda bottle with cap

Push pin

A paper with arrows printed on them



Small Paper cups

Eye droppers

Cost: $ 0-50

Advanced Preparation:

  • Take a paper cup and make a hole in the bottom of the cup.
  • Take an empty plastic soda bottle and punch holes in it with the push pin. Fill it with water to the very top and put the cup on.

Program Outline:

  1. Introduction of theme

2. Set up Puddle Experiment, to check on periodically throughout the program. (Note: this experiment only works if you have easy access to a sunny outdoor location. The experiment can be removed from the program if the location or weather is not feasible to run the experiment).

3. Read two books. We used Water can be… by Laura Purdie Salas and All the Water in the World by George Ella Lyon and Katherine Tillotson

4. Set up Ice Melt experiment

5. Water Walking experiments from Escaping Water from Sciencekids.co.nz and Walking Water on Playbasedlearning.com.auwaterwalk

6. Demonstrate and explain the Gravity Water experiment Demonstrate and explain  the Water Cup Drop Experiment

7. Demonstrate and explain the Water Cup Drop 

8. Demonstrate and explain the Leak Proof Bag Experiment

9. Demonstrate and explain the Do Not Open Experiment from Stevespanglerscience.com

10. Demonstrate and explain Arrow Water Illusion 

11. Water on a Penny Experiment 

12. Optional: Demonstrate and explain Water Mirror Reflections 


We started the program by setting this experiment up. We poured a large amount of water on a sunny patch of concrete outside our program room and outlined it in chalk. Periodically throughout the rest of the program, we would check on the puddle and see how far the water had receded from the original chalk line.

We set this up just as described, and participants could observe the progress of the ice melting throughout the rest of the program.

  • Water Walking experiment

water walking two levelsWe broke participants up in groups of four and had them set up the following two experiments: Escaping Water from Sciencekids.co.nz and Walking Water on Playbasedlearning.com.au. We used books as risers for the Walking Water on Playbasedlearning.com.au experiment. As with the puddle experiment, we checked on the progress of the experiments periodically for the rest of the program.

  • Demonstrate and explain the Gravity Water experiment

We used both Experience Gravity Free Water from Sciencekids.co.nz and Anti-Gravity Water from Stevespanglerscience.com for this experiment. We gathered the participants around a large table so they all could see the experiment. We performed it multiple times at the request of the audience. We highly recommend practicing this experiment before the program, as it is tricky.

We performed the experiment over a large container to catch the cup and water when it landed. We also did this demonstration multiple times.

This was by far the most popular demonstrate. We did it multiple times, and the audience counted how many pencils could be pushed into a bag before it began leaking. We recommend practicing this one before the program, as well

We set up one bottle for this experiment before the program started, and one of the librarians opened the bottle in front of the audience, much to their delight. We then explained how it worked, and took another empty plastic soda bottle and repeated the experiment.

We printed out arrows and demonstrated this illusion.

We gave each participant a penny, an eye dropper, and a small cup of water, and had them see how many drops of water could fit on a penny.

A fun experiment that compliments the Water Arrow illusion nicely.

Resources Used:


Water can be… by Laura Purdie Salas

All the Water in the World by George Ella Lyon and Katherine Tillotson


Puddle Science: Watch Evaporation in Action by Liana Mahoney on Education.com

Will the Ice Melt and Overflow? on Sciencekids.co.nz

Escaping Water from Sciencekids.co.nz

Walking Water on Playbasedlearning.com.au

Walking Water on Playbasedlearning.com.au

Experience Gravity Free Water from Sciencekids.co.nz

Anti-Gravity Water from Stevespanglerscience.com

Simple Science Experiments: Gravity Water Drop by Steve Davala on Metrofamilymagazine.com 

The Leak-Proof Bag – Science Trick on Stevespanglerscience.com

Do Not Open Experiment from Stevespanglerscience.com

Turning the Arrow – Experiment on Playbasedlearning.com.au Arrow Water Illusion

31 Water Experiments for Kids: A Month of Homeschool Science on Homeschooling-ideas.com

Physics for Kids: Water, Mirrors, and Reflections on Mynearestanddearest.com Water Mirror Reflections

What we would do differently:

The demonstrations in this program were extraordinarily received. Each experiment had to be demonstrated multiple times, as the kids were amazed by them all. We would actually consider adding in more demonstrations, and eliminating the Water Walking experiment. While the Water Walking experiment is neat in theory, in reality, it did not work that well, and hardly any of the experiments worked. We speculate that had we more time, we would have seen a noticeable difference.  

Adaptation for older/younger audience:

As the majority of this program is demonstration, it would actually work well for a younger Pre-K and Kindergarten age audience. For this younger age group, we do recommend eliminating the Water Walking experiment, but everything else, including the book choices, would work well.

Portions of this program would work well for a Tween audience, especially the Gravity Water, Water Cup Drop and Leak Proof Bag demonstrations. We would suggest finding a more indepth experiment to supplement the demonstrations.

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