Absorb & Repel
Investigate how different materials repel or absorb water.
Big Idea: Various materials absorb water or repel it, based on what they’re made of.
- Cotton shirt
- Piece of light-weight cardboard
- Small stone
- 1 c. soil
- 1 c. sand
- 1 c. flour
- Bird’s feather (purchased from a craft store)
- Spray bottle with water
- 2 cloth dish towels or hand towels
- Vegetable shortening
- Journal and pen for recording, or recording chart provided
Provide children with a journal for recordings and predictions, as well as the spray bottle. Have all testing objects arranged so children can test each and record what is absorbent and what is repellent.
1. Have children pick out the first material they want to test for absorbency – for example, the sponge. Ask children what they think will happen to the sponge if water is sprayed on it. Have them record and subsequently test their prediction.
2. Create a prediction chart within the journal with the testing items on it and have the children make predictions and record them on their chart. Then, have them test each item and record the results on the chart.
3. Encourage children to compare their predictions to the results and see if there are any conclusions that can be made about absorbency. Which materials were more likely to absorb the water that was sprayed?
4. To extend this experiment further, after testing water, have children put oil on some of the other materials using a paint brush or their fingers. Spray water on the oil covered area to see if the result remains the same. Does the oil change the results for each object?
- Q. What do the words absorb and repel mean?
A. Absorb means to soak in repel means to push back.
- Q. What is a prediction?
A. A guess about the future.
- Q. Why do sponges absorb water?
A. The holes between the fibers soak up water; it is porous.
- Q. Why do raincoats repel water?
A. Raincoats have fabric specially treated to ward off water.
- Q. Can you name other items which can either absorb or repel water?
- Q. Why do you think feathers repel water?
10.A.ECb Gather data about themselves and their surroundings to answer meaningful questions.
Children will collect data on the materials they test and track the results, helping to distinguish which materials are absorbent and which are repellent.
10.B.ECb Make predictions about the outcome prior to collecting information, with teacher support and multiple experiences over time.
Before experimenting with the different materials, children will make predictions about which materials will absorb or repel the applied water.
12.C.ECa Identify, describe, and compare the physical properties of objects.
Children will make inferences about why the materials tested had different reactions when water was sprayed on them.
Absorb: to soak in
Adaptation: adjusting or modifying physical being or behavior
Attract: to bring in
Porous: permeable by water, air, etc
Prediction: an educated guess
Repel: to push back