Lead a discussion with the whole group, lasting five to ten minutes, to
introduce “Exploring Water.”
Discuss children’s previous experiences with water.
When you start the exploration, gather the children together in a
circle and invite them to share experiences they’ve had playing with
water. Begin by sharing one of your own experiences. For example,
you might say something like this:
• When I make vegetable soup I like to see which veggies sink and which ones
float. And sometimes I pretend the carrots are boats and I watch them sail
around inside my sink.
• Where do you play with water? The bathtub, sink, puddle, a stream?
• What do you do? What do you play with?
Encourage all children to contribute by asking questions such as the
• Who else likes to (watch sticks float down a stream, play with boats in the
bathtub, splash in puddles)? What happens when you do that?
Introduce new materials.
Tell the children that the class is going to really explore water and
that’s why you’ve rearranged the water table area, cleared a new space
in the room for a water center, and have new materials for them to
use in their water play.
Show children a funnel and a piece of tubing. Invite them to tell
about times they’ve used or seen funnels or tubing. Ask questions such
as: “What werethey used for?” Then invite children to shareideas
they have for using the funnels and tubing in their water play. Per-
haps your children will want to hold and position the materials as
they share their ideas.
Discuss rules and routines.
Tell children that both the water table and the water center will be
open during choice times for many weeks and they will have lots of
time to play with the new materials.
Ask the children to help you make a list of things they can do to keep
their classroom and the people in it as dry as possible. Record their
ideas on a chart. Demonstrate the particular ways you would like chil-
dren to do the following:
• Put smocks on, take them off, and hang them up.
• Clean up spills with a mop, towels, or sponges.
• Fill and empty the water table each day.
Open Exploration 27
Issue:My children have a difficult time
sitting through discussions. What can
Response:Teachers find they are able
to build children’s interest in science
talks by beginning with short meet-
ings lasting four or five minutes. They
also suggest engaging the children
with an object, photograph, or draw-
ing to focus the talk.
Sharing what children notice about
water offers them opportunities to
develop their descriptive language.
Throughout this exploration, use vo-
cabulary that describes the move-
ment of water, the sounds it makes,
the way objects behave in it, how it
behaves on different materials, and
so on. In addition to modeling de-
scriptive vocabulary, help children re-
fine their descriptions by asking
questions such as the following:
• How did the stream change?
• How much of the boat was under
• How is this drop different from that
Teacher note: Holly was captivated
with the way water traveled
down the funnel.