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Here Comes the Sun!

Have you ever had a goldfish? How about an aquarium full of tropical fish? Do you remember noticing the water level going down before it was time to clean the bowl? Maybe there was a line where the water used to be. Just where did the water go? Did the fish drink it? NO! The water evaporated.

Evaporation is the process where the small parts of water are heated enough to change from liquid to a vapor. How do you suppose this happens? There is one main culprit causing all of these changes. Guess what it is! Make your guess and roll the mouse over the box to see if you are right.


When the rays of heat energy from the sun strike the water on Earth, this causes the water to change states. When water changes from a liquid to a gas, this is called evaporation.

Do the next experiment and find out how heat energy affects the amount and rate of evaporation.




  • Three clear plastic cups filled with 50 ml of water
    • (Make sure that the cups have equal amounts of water to control the variables.)
  • Fine point black marker


  1. Place the cups with water in various locations, such as inside on a countertop, outside in direct sunlight, or outside in the shade.
  2. Record the time you set the water at each location.
  3. Check your water sites every 15 minutes and mark the water level on the cup. Observe and record until the water is gone from at least one of the cups.

Answer the following questions in your science journal.

  1. What happened?
  2. How did the location of the cup effect evaporation?
  3. Why do you think the location made a difference?

Deeper Thinking
Answer these questions in your science journal.

  1. Did the color of the location you put your cup make a difference? What difference did it make?
  2. Did the texture of the location's surface make a difference? What difference did it make?

Download the plug-ins: Get Adobe Acrobat Reader , and Get Quicktime Player. (The QuickTime plug-in is needed to play sounds and movies correctly.)

Want to share photos of you or your friends doing this activity? Send it in an e-mail with the following information:

  1. The title of the activity
  2. The URL (Internet address)
  3. Your name.

Remember that no pictures can be used that show student faces or student names on it. 

Teachers should view the Teacher Site Map to relate Sci-ber text and the USOE 4th grade science core.

Updated October 24, 2008 by: Glen Westbroek

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