One of the easiest ways for teaching liquids, solids, and vapors is with ice cubes and dry ice. Beginning with frozen liquids, heating them up in the sun naturally, or stove top, will demonstrate steam vapors, allowing you to take your preschoolers on exciting new worlds of discovery. Beginning with weather patterns and ending up exploring planetary atmospheres.
Water vapors can lead your lesson plans into the weather and atmospheric changes, such as cloud formations, rain, snow, and sunshine. The heat of the sun can be represented by boiling water to create clouds, which in turn will cool and become rain droplets, or snow at freezing temperatures.
On paper plates, have your students draw two straight lines, crossing in the center (making four sections) where they will color pictures of four basic weather patterns. The first section is sunshine, the next section is clouds, followed by rain, and the last section is snow.
Create a cardboard or plastic arrow to attach with a brad-tack, in the center of each paper plate, for a weather-dial forecaster. Stickers could then be added to demonstrate appropriate clothing and accessories needed for weather changes. Wind has been left out because it affects all basic weather patterns from breezes and gusts, to hurricanes and ice storms.
Filling ice cube trays with small plastic animals, adding water, and then freezing, can lead into a lesson about earth’s ice age. Heating ice cubes outside in the sun, or running water over dry ice, can lead to lessons about our sun’s warming effects, and the role it played thawing the earth’s ice age.
Dry-ice vapors can be created by running a steady stream of water directly onto a chunk of dry ice positioned in the sink, beneath the faucet. As the water begins to melt, disintegrating the chemical ice, it creates thick clouds (mimicking atmosphere) and allows little hands to push and move the vapors about, without ever having to touch the dry ice.
This can lead to lessons and further discussions about earth’s atmosphere, as well as gaseous planets in our solar system. The vaporous planet Jupiter, and the outer frozen planets Neptune and Uranus could be explored.
Continue exploring other planets like Saturn, with the halos of ice crystal rings (reflected light) or even closer, the planet Mars with perma-frost north and south poles, like earth. Additional planetary activities can be accessed in the article “A Preschooler’s Guide to Our Solar System” http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2850660/a_preschoolers_guide_to_our_solar_system.html?cat=4
Hands-on science projects are a good way to get children using expressive vocabulary, while activating problem-solving skills. In this lesson your students will be able to envision their experiments coming-to-life with infinitely larger purposes, as sink clouds become specific weather conditions, influencing planetary atmospheres, throughout the galaxy.