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What Makes Water Special?

Author(s): Nancy P. Moreno, PhD, Barbara Z. Tharp, MS, and Judith Dresden, MS.

What Do You Know About Liquids?

When starting a new activity, it is always a good idea to focus students’ attention. 

Begin this activity by engaging students in a discussion about different liquids. Ask them to record the names of at least five liquids. Next ask, How would you describe each of the liquids you named, and what do all of these liquids have in common? 

Descriptions of liquids may include color, viscosity or thickness (how easily the liquid flows), transparency, etc. Explain that the physical properties or observable characteristics of liquids include the following.

  • Will change to a solid when enough heat is removed
  • Will change to a gas when enough heat is applied
  • Have definite volume (can be measured)
  • Allow solids to pass through easily (one can pass an object, such as a spoon, through a liquid)
  • Are not easily compressed
  • Are bounded by the shape of a container


Funded by the following grant(s)

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

The Environment as a Context for Opportunities in Schools
Grant Numbers: 5R25ES010698, R25ES06932

Houston Endowment Inc.

Houston Endowment Inc.

Foundations for the Future: Capitalizing on Technology to Promote Equity, Access and Quality in Elementary Science Education