Experimenting with water in the summer is an engaging way to learn about science. Try this activity to learn about absorption.
Will It Absorb Water? Gather materials, make predictions, and test to see which materials absorb or do not absorb water. Discuss the results.
- 2-4 items that will absorb water, such as a paper towel, construction paper, sponge, piece of fabric, cotton ball, coffee filter, baby diaper, or tissue paper
- 2-4 items that do not absorb water, such as aluminum foil, foam, wax paper, plastic wrap, plastic straw, marble, or coin
- Medicine dropper or pipette
- A small bowl of water
- Food coloring (one color)
- A pan in which to test items or place a small sample of each item in the sections of a muffin tin or ice cube tray
- Display the items to be tested in no particular order.
- Place a few drops of food coloring in the water. This makes the absorption easier to see.
- Explain that absorption is the act of taking in small particles through holes or small openings. Demonstrate this concept with a tissue or other item.
- Before testing each item, ask your child to predict if he thinks it will absorb the water.
- Have him place a few drops of water on the item.
- Ask him to describe what he sees.
- When finished, review which items absorbed the water and those that did not.
Place a stalk of celery (with the leafy greens attached), a leaf of cabbage (Napa works well), or a carnation in a jar or vase full of colored water to demonstrate water absorption in plants. Have your child predict what will happen. Check back daily to observe changes. It may take a few days to see the full effect.