Here are some Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills [TEKS] water-related science activities you can conduct with your students. After each activity, you’ll find the number that relates the activity to the TEKS curriculum.
Science Activities for the Classroom
WHAT YOU DO
Create different fish mouths using a spoon, straw, scissors, toothpick, and clothespin. Role-play the gathering of food sources, such as rubber bands, marbles, and paper clips, by different fish species using only the selected mouth part tool. Record, graph, and analyze the results of the food gathering simulation. Compare fish feeding successes and describe the mouth parts best suited for survival in this environment. (7.10)
Read The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. Identify changes that have occurred in home or school environments and identify how these changes have impacted the survival of a selected species. Discuss various types of chemicals used around the home and how to properly dispose of them. (8.11)
Use a map of a Texas watershed to identify sources and determine the amounts of water including groundwater and surface water; research and identify the types of uses and volumes of water used in a watershed; and identify water quantity and quality in a local watershed. (Aquatic Science 10)
For more details, or additional water-related science activities, visit the Science TEKS Toolkit at http://www.utdanacenter.org.
WHAT YOU DO
Explore This! All But the Last Drop
In most parts of the U.S., kids don’t give water a second thought. But conduct this visual lesson, and they just might tune in!
1. Before launching the activity, ask students to brainstorm all the ways they use water in their lives (for example, for playing, cleaning, drinking, watering the lawn, cooking, washing cars, flushing toilets). Next, ask, Besides personal uses, how else do we use water in this country? If they don’t touch on farming or industry, tell them that it takes about 600 gallons of water to make just one quarter-pound hamburger!
2. Invite the class to explore how much water we have to work with. Fill a wide gallon container (e.g., ice cream bucket) with water and ask them to imagine it contains all the water on earth. Invite a student to put in a few drops of blue food coloring. Launch a discussion by asking, How much of this water do you think is available for people to use?
3. Tell students the next task is to transfer the portion that is fresh water to the clear bowl. (This is in lakes, rivers, groundwater, ice, and living things.) What remains in the bucket will represent salty ocean water, which we can’t use. If you have a globe or world map, have youngsters compare the space taken up by land, oceans, and fresh water bodies. Next ask them how much water they think should be transferred to the bowl. Ask, How did you arrive at your answers?
4. Ask a volunteer to transfer just half a cup of water from the gallon container to the bowl; this represents all the fresh water on earth. Calculate how much salt water is left in the bucket (15 ½ cups). Older students can figure out the percentage of fresh water (less than 3% of all the water on earth). Ask, How does this compare with your suggestions?
5. Explain that the final task is to transfer water from the small bowl to a plate to represent the portion of fresh water that humans can actually use. (The rest of the water in the half-cup is deep in the ground, bound up in soil, or in the atmosphere.) Launch a discussion of how much water should get moved to the plate and list students’ ideas on the board. Have one student use the eyedropper to place just one drop of water from the half-cup onto the plate. Ask, How did this compare with your ideas? Did anything surprise you? What can you conclude from this exercise about water? What questions do you have?