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The Angle, October 2019 – With Rain Comes STEAM

With the bout of rain we experienced last week, Mother Nature reminded us of the wonders and teachable moments that live in rain and water play for young children. There are lots of wonderful things about rain: The smell, the soothing enchantment of its pitter-patter, the growth we see in nature that follows—and, not to mention the rainbow after the rain.

To help you make the most out of the hopefully rainy season ahead, we’ve crafted an activity that’s rainbow inspired. It will be sure to spark imaginations, while helping children channel their inner scientists. We call this: Walking on Water!

Peep the video for details.

Walking on Water

Materials needed:

• 7 plastic clear cups
• 6 paper towels
• Water
• Food coloring


  1. Line-up 7 clear cups and pour water in every other cup. Both end cups should have water.
  2. Make sure there is less water in the two end cups than the two cups in the middle.
  3. Pour a few drops of food coloring in the cups that have water.
  4. Stir the water in each cup that has water.
  5. Fold up a paper tower and place each end in adjacent cups. Make sure each folder paper towel is long enough to touch the bottom of each cup!
  6. Repeat this process until all cups have been connected.
  7. Wait and check back after a few hours.

Before the activity, ask these questions:

• What do you think will happen when we leave the paper towels in the water?
• Can you give me a few possibilities of what might happen?
• Why do you think that?
• What happens when colors are mixed?
During the activity
Ask these questions:
• How many cups do we have?
• If I took 1 cup away, how many would we have left over? What if I added 1 cup?
• Out of these 7 cups, how many pairs of 2 can we make?
• What happened when we put drops of food coloring in the water? Why do you think this happens?
• If we mix different colors, what will happen? Why?
• How long do you think it will take for something to happen? Let’s take a guess.

After the activity, ask these questions:

• What happened here? Can you describe what you see?
• Some of the colors blended, what new colors did we create?
• How do you think that happens? Does mixing make new colors?
• What would happen if we mixed different colors?
• Are the new colors dark, or light?
• Did your prediction come true?

Things to remember

• Keep the conversation going before, during, and after the experiment.
• Let the children play an active role in setting up, making predictions, and conducting observations while you wait for the colors to change.
• Ask leading questions, and extend the conversation when they reply.
• Use phrases like, “why do you think that,” “tell me more,” or, “what would happen if…”
• Keep it fun. Laugh, be engaging, let the children enjoy the process.
Science terms to use during the activity:
• Experiment
• Blend
• Color
• Observation
• Mix
• Pattern
• Predict
• Data
• Design
• Cause
• Effect
• Dense
• Liquid
• Processes
• Absorb

Article was adapted from an original piece published on STEAM Corner, a blog by Child360 STEAM researcher, Drew Barett. Click here to view the original, and for more ideas on how to innovate STEAM in the classroom, and at home.