Recycled Materials STEM Evaporation Experiment | The OT Toolbox

Recycled Materials STEM Evaporation Experiment

This recycled materials STEM evaporation science experiment was SUCH a fun way to explore science with my kids.  We talked about water evaporation while engineering a few different water containers and working in a bit of math, too.  Getting outside to play is something we do everyday, so this outdoor STEM activity was a perfect way to bring a little bit of learning outdoors on a sunny day.

Evaporation Experiment with Recycled Materials

To complete this science experiment, we used all items from our recycle bin.  You'll need a few items to do this evaporation experiment at home:
Lids from various containers. (We used lids of various sizes to explore how fast water would based on container size. Some lids you'll want are deep lids, bottle caps, and low lids like one from a play dough canister.)
Other recycled materials to see if we could adjust the lids that were alike.
Tape (This was the only non-recycled material that we used in this science experiment.)

We filled each lid with the same amount of water. Each lid had 10 ml of water.  My preschooler had fun scooping water into the lids and counted the measurements.

We then noticed how we had four containers that were all the same size.  The other lids were various sizes.  To the four lids of the same size, we modified the containers slightly to see how the top would affect rate of evaporation.  We covered one with foil.  Another was covered with plastic wrap and poked with small holes.  The third was covered with mesh. The fourth container was left open to the air.

I asked my kids from which lid they thought water would evaporate more quickly.

My preschooler said she thought the smallest lid (the bottle cap) would evaporate first because it was the smallest lid.  She thought the play dough lid's water would evaporate slowest because it was the biggest lid.  She hypothesized that of the four containers that were the same size, the open container would evaporate first and the covered container would evaporate last.

I thought her answers were interesting and clearly following Piaget's conservation theory.  In this case, she thought the bottle cap appeared to have more water because it was filled to the brim, where the large and low play dough lid was only slightly covered with water.

My older kiddos had different answers:  They thought the play dough lid would evaporate first because it had less "deepness" (or depth).  We decided that the sun would shine and evaporate this lid's water first. They agreed with my preschooler when they said they thought the uncovered lid would evaporate before the covered lid.

While we made good hypotheses with this experiment, we ran into a bit of bad weather luck following our outdoor science.  Our sunny day turned into several days of rain and gloomy skies.  We're still waiting for our water to evaporate and will update this post when we have some results!

This post is part of the 31 Days of Outdoor STEM Activities series.  Stop by and see all of the ideas shared.

You will love these STEM activities that we've shared:
Recycled materials Fulcrum and Lever
Lemon STEM science experiment ideas
Tinker Toys STEM Pulley