small text medium text large text
Super Science @ Your Library
image of a splash of water

Wet & Wild
H2O Olympics



Children will explore the properties of water through hands-on inquiry based science activities.
Grade Level: 3-5



Wick, Walter
A Drop of Water
Describes the origins, characteristics, and uses of water.
Ardley, Neil
101 Great Science Experiments
Describes 101 science experiments or activities that can be done with household items and easily found ingredients.
Hollyer, Beatrice
Our World of Water: Children and Water Around the World
Explore how children from six different countries use water every day.


"Is the Jar Full?"

This activity demonstrates the properties of water cohesion and surface tension. The water molecules are more attracted to each other than to the air surrounding them. They hold on together until they can't last any longer and finally spill over the edge of the jar.

Materials: Clear jar, pipettes, towel, small plastic cup

Fill the jar just below the top with water. Tell the students to watch carefully as you use the small plastic cup to add more water. Have them raise their hands when they think you should stop and the jar is full. The trick is to fill the jar with as much water as possible without it spilling over the edge.

After the students say stop. Ask them if they really think the jar is full. Use the pipette and ask students to predict how many drops of water you will be able to add to the jar. You should start to see a dome form at the top of the jar. Why does the water stick together?


"How many drops on a penny?"

Materials: pennies, pipettes, washcloths, jar

Give each student a penny, washcloth and pipette. Fill the clear jar with water. Ask students to predict how many drops of water they will be able to get on the penny. Have them try it several times and record their results. They should wipe off the penny before each try.


"Float or Sink?"

Materials: various objects that float or sink, clay, marbles, bowl

Show students several objects and have them predict if the object will float or sink. Place the object in the water and have the students record the result. The last object should be the ball of clay. Ask students to think of a way that they could get the clay to float. Let students experiment until they are able to form a clay boat that floats in the water.



Buoyancy: The tendency or capacity to remain afloat in a liquid or rise in air or gas.

Cohere: To stick or hold together in a mass that resists separation

Cohesion: The act, process, or condition of cohering.

Molecule: The smallest particle of a substance that retains the chemical and physical properties of the substance and is composed of two or more atoms.

Surface Tension: A property of liquids arising from unbalanced molecular cohesive forces at or near the surface, as a result of which the surface tends to contract and has properties resembling those of a stretched elastic membrane.


Additional Resources: