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Friday, April 15, 2011

The Water Cycle

New addition to BJ's list of scientific topics of interest: the water cycle! Thanks to the Magic School Bus Catches a Wave video that he received for his birthday, he's been obsessing about evaporation, clouds, rain, and the like. I love his enthusiasm for this kind of stuff -- it's so much a part of who he is. So naturally, when his teacher told me the next set of letters in the curriculum were "W and H," I immediately knew what science topic we could use for BJ's next extracurricular project. The Water Cycle! (Also known as the Hydrologic cycle!) So we've been working on that during spring break. BJ wanted to make a big chart of the water cycle and also do an experiment about evaporation. Here's the chart he made: Note how he put the title in a circle, since it's a cycle. He was pretty proud of that. Also of how the letters in "rain" fall and "river" and "groundwater" run downstream with the letters. Clever kid! For his experiment, we did a simple but illustrative test to see what effect sunshine has on evaporation. He poured 1/2 cup of water in the sun and 1/2 cup of water in the shade and watched to see what would happen. And when I say "watched," I mean watched. The kid was intent on that puddle! When he's interested, he can be amazingly focused. (Given this level of focus, who knows but he might be deciding to watch the grass grow next...) After 10 minutes, here's what the puddles looked like. In the sun: In the shade: And then after 18 minutes, the puddle in the sun was gone. It took 52 minutes for the puddle in the shade to evaporate. (After about 20 minutes of watching, after the sunny puddle was clearly gone, he decided to check in on things every so often. He's focused, but not that focused as to do nothing but watch water dry for almost an hour.) Interesting that the results were so clear and there was only 3 degrees difference between the sun and the shade (73 vs 76 degrees). Here's BJ making sure the puddle in the sun was truly gone after 18 minutes -- you can still see what's left of the puddle in the shade. Who knew that watching water dry could be so entertaining to a six-year-old? All in the name of science...


tierramor said...

Ok, I'm actually surprised there was such a stark difference between sun and shade. It sounds like a fun experiment!

Jen (Mama's Magic Studio) said...

i was surprised too, Miri! he certainly enjoyed it.