Where Did My Puddle Go?

  • Time Length
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    1-2 hours

  • Mess Level
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    A Little Messy

  • Cost

    Materials or Fees

  • Difficulty
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Question and Wonder:

  • Where do puddles come from?
  • Why do they disappear?
  • Why doesn’t a river disappear like a puddle? A lake? The ocean?
  • I wonder where the water goes….

Imagine and Design:

  • Does a puddle last longer when it is cold or hot? Why?
  • Where does the water go?
  • Why can’t we see it go?
  • Can you predict how fast a puddle will dry up? How?
  • How much does it have to rain to leave a puddle?
  • What can you use to make your own puddles?
  • What can you use to measure a puddle?

On a rainy day, watch how puddles form. Notice where they form. When the rain stops, make note of the time.  Place a small item in the puddle and note the depth of the water. Mark the water level with a pencil or piece of chalk. Use chalk to outline the puddle. Check at regular intervals to see if the depth, shape, and size changes.

Test and Discuss:

  • What did you notice about where the puddles formed? What did the ground look like?
  • Were there more puddles on the sidewalk or the grass? Why?
  • How long did the puddle last? Were you able to predict it? How?

Find a place in your yard that will not be disturbed. Make your own puddle with a hose or bucket of water. Put a cup of water outside near your puddle. Dunk items in water and set them outside near the cup of water. Wet a washcloth or small towel and set it next to the other items. Observe. Try this on a sunny day and a cloudy day, in the sun and in the shade. Observe.

  • What dried the fastest?
  • How long did it take for the water in the cup to be gone? What would happen if you put ice in the water?
  • What observations did you make about water and air?
  • Can you figure out where the water went?
  • How did the sun effect how fast it dried? What if it was cloudy? In the shade?

Did You Know:

When you take a drink of water, you are drinking the same water the dinosaurs drank! Earth has been recycling water since the beginning – the same water over and over and over…

The four stages of the water cycle are Evaporation, Condensation, Precipitation, and Collection.

Evaporation: water heated by the sun becomes a vapor and is absorbed into the air

Condensation: water vapor rises and cools, becoming liquid again and forming clouds

Precipitation: when the water drops become too heavy to stay in the clouds, they fall to the earth as rain or snow or sleet.

Collection: the water that falls from the sky collects in low lying areas forming puddles, lakes, rivers and even oceans.

Then it begins all over again! Follow the links below for more information on the water cycle.

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