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Properties of Water

Main Core Tie

Science - Biology
Standard 2 Objective 1

Time Frame

1 class periods of 90 minutes each

Group Size

Small Groups


Utah LessonPlans


Students visit a series of stations to learn about water's properties of heat capacity, pH, capillary action, cohesion, adhesion, surface area/evaporation, surface tension and as a solvent.


  • student page (attached)
  • station signs (attached)

    for Station 1: Heat capacity

  • two glass beakers (label A and B)
  • two thermometers
  • water
  • hot plate
  • stopwatch or clock with seconds hand

    for Station 2: pH

  • pH paper (any type that measures both acids and bases)
  • weak acid
  • weak base
  • beaker
  • water
  • stirring rods or wooden splints

    for Station 3: Capillary action

  • capillary tubes
  • small beakers with different liquids (water, vinegar, salt water, sugar water)
  • metric rulers

    for Station 4: Cohesion, adhesion, surface tension

  • penny
  • dropper or pipette
  • water
  • pepper or paper dots from hole punch

    for Station 5: Surface area and evaporation

  • paper towel
  • drinking straws
  • 3 graduated cylinders

    for Station 6: Water as a solvent

  • small beakers or dilution trays
  • various chemical substances (such as salt, sugar, baking soda, potassium nitrate)
  • rubbing alcohol
  • water

Instructional Procedures


  1. Set up the stations before class and label them clearly. A description of each station is below. Two of each station will prevent students having to wait long for a new station. Another option is to do each station as stand alone experiment over a series of days. Each takes about 10-15 minutes.
  2. Have the students start in groups of 3-4 at different stations and move when they are done with each. The student directions for each station are also below.
  3. Discuss the results after students finish and before they begin the analysis questions.

Station 1: Heat Capacity
Students will add 50 mL of tap water to beaker "A" and nothing to "B". They will heat both to 30 degrees C and then time how long it takes them to cool to 25 degrees C.

Station 2: pH
Students will add a few drops of acid to the water, test it and then try and get it back to neutral.

Station 3: Capillary action
Students will test each substance for its ability to travel up the capillary tube.

Station 4: Cohesion, adhesion, surface tension
Students follow instructions on station sign.

Station 5: Surface area and Evaporation
Prepare the "leaves" the night before. The paper towels are twisted into the straws. The leaf with the large surface area needs to have a longer piece of paper towel than the medium. The medium needs to be longer than the small. The water will evaporate much more rapidly off the large leaf, emptying the graduated cylinder more rapidly.

Station 6: Water as a Solvent
Students follow instructions on station sign.


Lesson Design by Jordan School District Teachers and Staff.

Created: 11/17/2014
Updated: 02/05/2018