Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Water Bead Experiment

All of the kids LOVE these water beads.

The first time I developed the water beads at night, and surprised the kids in the morning with them.  This second time though, I thought it would be fun to include the kids and make an experiment out of it.

The Water Bead Experiment

Each of the kids chose a color to work with.  I had  light and dark blue, purple, black, red, and pink.  Other than the water beads, the only other supplies you need are a couple of glass bowls with water, and we used a couple of magnifying glasses for fun too.


(On a side note: the purple and red had a lot of dye with them and stained our fingers for a couple of days.  I won’t be buying those colors again!)


Do you want to be a Scientist for the day?

First we reviewed what a Scientist was.

Isaac remembered that a Scientist makes a hypothesis and then tries to prove it is true.

I gave each of the kids their bowl of water beads and asked them what they thought would happen if we put water on them?  What would happen if we let them sit in water for an hour. 
Two hours?  Three hours?


They took a look at the beads while they were dry, and wrote or colored their observations down on a worksheet.




We let the beads bloom in water for about 10 minutes, and then made observations about how they had changed.  I asked questions to prompt their thoughts:  How have they changed?  What do they feel like now?  What do they look like now?  Has their size or color changed?  How?



After 10 minutes, the water beads grew to the size of a pea.  They softened, and were bumpy on the surface.


I asked the kids why they thought the changes were occuring, and then instructed them to write down their predictions about what would happen next.  I was careful not to interject my opinion, but listened to and commented on each of their ideas.


Nate describing his theory on why the water beads are changing.  He proposed that the water was making the beads break into smaller pieces, which is why they were bumpy and there appeared to be more of them.


We let the beads bloom for another hour before checking them again.  The changes were amazing!  They had grown to the size of a blueberry, were lighter in color, and much softer feeling.


Here is Elaina’s drawing of her observations.



This was about the time when Olivia had to join in and see what was going on.  I gave her a magnifying glass and a plate with a bead on it to look at.  She loves being included!


Here are the beads at 10 minutes, 1 hour, and 2 hours.  You can see how they have grown and smoothed out.  They’ve gotten a little lighter in color too.


The kids continued writing down their notes and drawing their observations.  I was so impressed with Nate’s notes – he filled the entire page!

Water beads are an extraordinary experiment.  Apparently they are able to grow and morph into squishy balls.”  Not bad for a first grader!



Here is the whole line up of the water beads: 10 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours, and 4 hours.
When we were through, I explained that the water beads grew because they absorbed the water.  They did not break into smaller pieces as they had guessed. 

I'm so proud of my little Scientists!


We poured them into a bin for some great sensory play!

1 comment:

Brittney said...

What a great experiment, and I love your son's observation!