Unit Introduction

In Unit 9, children investigate the world of water. Children create rivers and build dams; explore evaporation, floating, and sinking; and experiment with different tools that move water. Through free exploration and guided, hands-on activities, children gain an understanding of key science concepts about water.

  • Flowing Water (Week One). Children discover how water behaves differently when it is poured onto different surfaces. They begin to learn that water is a liquid and, as a liquid, it flows and takes on the shape of its container. They also explore using tools to move water and observe the direction of water flow. Children begin to explore making rivers outdoors, and they listen to fiction and informational texts and watch videos to reinforce what they are observing about rivers and how rivers flow.
  • Building Waterways (Week Two). Children review how a river flows and they follow its path downhill. They make puddles and dig paths to let the water flow out of the puddle. They place obstacles in the water path to observe how the direction of water flow can change. Children also build dams and investigate how dams stop water from flowing. They learn why beavers build dams and construct dams of their own.
  • Float and Sink (Week Three). Children are introduced to the concepts of floating and sinking as they test various objects to find out if they float or sink. Children make boats and investigate how much weight they can hold before they sink. Children also explore how the material an object is made of, as well as its size, weight, shape, and other characteristics, may influence whether the object sinks or floats. They listen to a story about how a very small mouse can cause a boat full of very large animals to sink.
  • Puddles and Water Drops (Week Four). In the final week of the unit, children are introduced to the concept of evaporation and begin to understand that wet things become dry as water evaporates (changes from a liquid to a gas). Children use an eyedropper to make water drops and observe how the drops behave and how water sticks together. They continue to explore how water is absorbed on some surfaces and not on others.

Children’s learning is supported through daily hands-on exploration and by listening to read-aloud books and watching media throughout the unit. Children also begin to learn strategies they can use for communicating with others, making good choices, problem solving, cooperation and planning, and getting along with others.

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