Friday, October 31, 2014

science series IV

In Kindergarten we have been exploring the water cycle as best as we are able at 5 and 6 years old.  We sing a song I never get tired of, "The Wheel of the Water" by Tom Chapin (enjoy a story performance version here at minute 2:25 and a sample of the straight vocal version here), and use that foundational chorus as the anchor for all our discussions of cycles throughout kindergarten:  the wheel of the apple, the wheel of the pumpkin, the wheel of the sunflower/frog/chicken/turtle/human.

We always get that the water flows down ("down, trickle trickle down") and that "clouds rain down; thunder and lightning sound", but the stage of the water cycle at which the sun cooks the water into invisible droplet-filled vapor is still very mysterious.  We do a simple experiment:

1) Soak a paper towel.
2) Hang it with a clothespin somewhere in the room.
3) Go to Art or Music or P.E..
4) Return and retrieve paper towel.  What do you notice?

This experiment is always accompanied by shrieks of surprise, excitement and even shock.  But the answers to "Where did the water go?" are often very magical, despite the many rehearsals of "See the vapors rise; see them cloud the skies"--because we canNOT see the vapors rise, and it's hard to believe that the water is now in the very air of our room, and indeed that water is EVERYWHair.  This year it was concluded that the water vapor went through the little holes in our ceiling tiles to get to the sky, and I could not prove otherwise!

Here's an original that might have been a helpful addition to this week's curriculum, except that we were too busy with "Five Little Pumpkins" and the Spooky Ghost sound /oo/.  Boo to you and Happy Halloween too!

Water Becomes You

This water coming into your hands,
it’s old—older than today,
older than you are,
older than the oldest people you know.

This water has been around:
playing over and under the world,
coming up in different wells,
turning through the air into nothing.

This water will make its home in you,
become a part of you,
moving in your very thoughts—
old water welling up in new hands.

HM 2006
all rights reserved 


Go knock on Linda's door at TeacherDance--I bet there are lots of poetreats to be had today!


  1. Even with slightly older students, it's a hard concept. One must imagine it, and do experiments like yours too. Love that you wrote this about the vapor, Heidi. Very fun to read. Thanks!

  2. The water cycle is an endless source of inspiration. I'm happy to see what you've done with it, both in the exciting experiment and in the touching poem.

  3. Through the little holes in the ceiling tiles sounds perfectly logical to me ;-) Happy Halloween, Heidi!

  4. Vey profound! Nicely done, Heidi. (And sorry to hear you're not with us in the Garage anymore!)

  5. You do SO much in your Kindergarten class. I love the idea of the kids shrieking in surprise by the dry paper towel. Perfect poem. =)

  6. Fun to watch and listen to the thinking process!


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!