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Different Ways to Learn About Water

PencilStreet Water Teaching Resource


Water is a substance that you will continue to touch on throughout all areas of the syllabus. We teach our students all about it’s forms, behaviours and relevance in scientific, geographical and historical contexts. We also use water to demonstrate measurement and theory in mathematics and use its vast personality when writing and reading text. Considering that it is one of the most common substances on the planet, supporting life and changing global events, you’d think it would be a bit more interesting a subject on which to teach!


It isn’t always dull to talk about, of course, but it can wear a bit thin after a few years. Here are a few ideas about how to freshen up your aqua related lessons with a few new activities and teaching ideas.

Floating and Sinking:

This is one of the basics, a concept that we tend to introduce right at the beginning of KS1. The idea of floating and sinking is fairly easy to grasp but working out which objects will float and which will sink is not quite so easy.

Floating and Sinking Sort.

This lesson plan talks about the various ways in which you can utilise the old ‘putting stuff in a tray of water’ exercise. There are applications and extensions here to suit children of all ages and abilities.

Integrated Subjects: Maths, Science, Literacy.
Resources: Assorted small objects, water, Tupperware/plastic boxes, Floating and Sinking Science Activity


Floating and Sinking Prediction Sheet. This worksheet is a great way to expand the above exercise into a lengthier science experiment. It introduces the concepts of predictions, methods and conclusions, fantastic for younger students.

Integrated Subjects: Science. 
Resources: Pencils, Floating and Sinking Worksheet

Oil and Water. This is a good lesson starter. When you ask your children what they think will happen if you mix oil and water together, the likelihood that they will predict the correct outcome is pretty slim. Give your session a great lift off by letting them into the fact that water itself does, in fact, float!

Integrated Subjects: Science
Resources: Oil, water, food colouring, plastic bottle, Mixing Oil and Water

Freezing and Melting:

Freezing and melting is always fun to teach. It combines a child’s love of doing something that is a little bit messy, without actually making that much mess! Again, the concept of how ice is formed is relatively easy to grasp, so here’s how to add a little more interest to the proceedings.

Ice Earrings. This is a wonderful craft activity that is both creative and scientific; two worlds that don’t meet too often. This requires no more than some ice cubes and a few bits of string. A budget friendly and exciting classroom activity.

Integrated Subjects: Art, Science.
Resources: String, ice cubes, Ice Earrings Activity


Salted Ice. What does salt do to ices temperature? This takes a little more complex thinking, so is the perfect activity for a KS2 class when revisiting the subject of freezing and melting. It is a simple, low maintenance experiment that will really get them thinking.

Integrated Subjects: Science.
Resources: Ice, stopwatch, thermometer, spoon, cups, salt, Colder Than Ice

The Water Cycle and The Weather:

Water Cycle


Water Cycle Video Introduction. The water cycle gets more and more complicated as your students revisit it throughout their school careers. When first being introduced to it at KS1, the best way to learn about it is though visual cues (no doubt you have drawn up ‘the cycle diagram’ on the whiteboard a few times). One of the best ways to introduce a topic like this is through video, and the internet has plenty to choose from. We have a few favourites…


Integrated Subjects: Science. 
ResourcesThe Water Cycle: Educational Video for Kids, Bill Nye: Water Cycle, Water Cycle Song


Flooding. This resource offers a wealth of information about flooding, mainly focussing on the various ways in which flooding may occur. This information is definitely better suited to your older KS2 students, but the ideas within it can be easily simplified for younger students. You can do this by discussing with your children how they think flooding happens and collate a list. You could then extend that by giving a flood cause to each table/group, and getting them to present on it, or make a poster.

Integrated Subjects: Science, Geography, History. 
Resources: Water, Water Everywhere


Classroom Storm. This is a whole list of awesome experiments you can put together to teach your class all about how storms happen. There’s lightning, thunder, electricity and, of course, water to talk about. This makes for an exciting, jam packed session, that you could probably eek out over a number of weeks if you needed to!

Integrated Subjects: Science.
Resources: Stormy Weather

The Ocean:

Weird Creatures. The sea is full of amazing things, 90% of which we have yet to discover! If you have watched any Blue Planet you will know how intriguing and bizarre the life in our oceans can be. Why not treat your kids to a lesson about some of the weirdest creatures of the sea!

Integrated Subjects: Strange Sea Creatures


Sea Stories: This could be an extension of the lesson above, or, if your children would work better with something more familiar, you could talk to them about some of the more common creatures that we might find in the sea. Get them to choose a favourite animal and either write a story or a poem about them and their plight. Their plight could be anything from a lost friend to more topical things like the plastic pollution in the ocean. Our resources should equip you with a few more ideas.

If a writing task is a bit heavy or lengthy for your needs, then get your class to create a character out of their chosen creature. Get them to draw their character, name them, and annotate the picture with the main characteristics of that animal.

Integrated Subjects: Science, Literacy, Art. 
Resources: Sea Animals, Problem with Plastic, Ocean Facts


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