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Up, Up, and Away
Task with Student Directions

2nd Grade Performance Task
Developed for Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS)
Authors: Betty Crocker, Janette Fentress, Virginia Malone, Theresa Weeks


Students observe water changing from a liquid to a gas during evaporation.

Time Frame:

1 (20 minute class period) and 3-5 day data collection


  • Damp sponge
  • Container of water
  • Clear plastic clear plastic cups for small groups (2-4 students)
  • Permanent marker to write on the clear plastic cups
  • Water journals
  • Sentence strips showing each line of the Water Rhyme


  1. The students say or sing the first verse of the Water Rhyme. Ask the students "What are the ways for water to go away? Let's see if we can find ways to make water go away without pouring the water out." Wipe a damp (not wet) sponge across a non-permeable material such as a chalkboard or transparency sheet so the class can clearly see water left behind. Begin a class discussion with: "I need to get rid of this water so I can use the board. Will it soak in? What can I do? I could dry it with a towel, but I don't have one." Explain to the students that the water will go away after a period of time. Ask for suggestions of how to make the water go away the fastest, suggestions might include boiling it, or putting it in the sun. Collect the suggestions from students and have the students draw a picture of the board, in their water journals.

  2. Give each group a clear plastic cup of water and a marker. Students should measure the level of water in the cup and mark it on the outside of the cup.

  3. Allow each group to pick a location from the list of possible sites. Be open to student suggestions that also fit the criteria but are not on the list. Each group places the cup in an area. Each student draws and labels a picture of the cup showing the water level in the journal.

  4. Bring students' attention back to where the water spot was left by the sponge. Ask "What happened here? Who removed the water? Where did it go? Where else have you noticed water disappearing? What do you think happened to it? Record the change that occurred and possible explanation for where the water went. Share verse 2: "Water, water, went away, found a place to hide away."

  5. Based on what happened to the water spot left by the sponge, ask students "What do you think is going to happen with the water in your cup over the next few days?" Predict and record expected changes in the water level.

  6. Student groups should observe their clear plastic cups daily and each student record chnages in the water level.

    Teacher Talk: The clear plastic cups may be observed daily or set out on a Friday and observed after returning to school on Monday. You may also fill the clear plastic cups with only a small amount of water or use clear plastic cups with a large surface area.

    Formative Assessment

    Monitor to ensure students are collecting and accurately recording water levels each day. Assist students that may need help in measuring the water level.

  7. Integrate math by having students determine the amount of water that is lost each day and graph the amounts.

  8. Discuss changes in water level that occurred over a 3-5 day period. "Did everyone's water level change? Did each cup change the same amount? Students' graphs could be displayed. What seemed to make the water disappear the fastest?" Discuss what might have happened to the water missing from the clear plastic cups.

    Teacher Talk:A common problem for this age is distinguishing between evaporation, soaking in, and leaking out. The teacher may have to demonstrate how water is soaked up by using paper towels or sponges and show how water leaks out by pouring water into a terra cotta planter that has a drainage hole at the bottom, a sieve, or a cloth bag. Direct the students to the clear plastic cups to see if the cups contain characteristics of the pot or the sponge.

    "Did some locations produce more change? Less change? Where?" Discuss how the conditions at locations for clear plastic cups were different. "What might have caused a greater change at some locations?" Students may need to run another experiment to compare, clarify, or collect additional data.

  9. Review lines 1 and 2 of the Water Rhyme.

  10. Review "Rain, Rain, Go Away". Be sure students understand that the rain can go away, but there is still water in the air that we cannot see.

    Formative Assessment
    Write a sentence(s) in the Water Journal telling what may have caused the water to disappear over time and where the water went. Students should understand that the water goes into the air and different conditions will cause the water to go into the air. Students may understand that the water does not disappear: it just changes so we cannot see it.


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