• Curecanti National Recreation Area


    National Recreation Area Colorado

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Ice, Snow, Water and Mist

National Park Service Mission

...to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Curecanti National Recreation Area Outreach Education is committed to: Creating an awareness and fostering an appreciation for the mission of the National Park Service and the natural, cultural, and historic resources of Curecanti National Recreation Area and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.


Curriculum enhancing activities designed to complement national and state content standards across a variety of disciplines.

Title: Ice, Snow, Water, and Mist

Grade level: Kindergarten (can be adapted to 1st grade level, 1st grade adaptations are in red)

Time length: 30 minutes (closer to 45 minutes at the 1st grade level)

Subject areas: Science, reading and writing

Teacher: 1-2 NPS Education Specialists

Colorado Content Standards: Science: (4.3) Students know major sources of water, its uses, importance, and cyclic patterns of movement throughout the environment.Reading and writing: (1) Students read and understand a variety of materials.

Theme: Water, in its three different phases, is used in many ways by every living thing, including people.

NPS focus: Public Law 39-535 (Organic Act),Public Law 95-250 (Redwood National Park Expansion Act), Vail Agenda Education Committee Report (Strategic Goal #2; Action Plan 16)and (Strategic Goal #3; Action Plan 52,62),Curecanti and Black Canyon Themes: Natural Resources/Wildlife

Environmental concepts:

Everything is becoming something else (change).

Everything is going somewhere (cycles).

Environmental learning hierarchy: Analogies

Materials: Spray bottle filled with water; snowball (if available); ice cubes in a cooler; water in plastic jar with lid; hair dryer; paper towels; mountain model (a snow capped mountain and a river running down the mountain into a lake made of paper towels to soak up water); three signs with the words liquid, solid, and gas on poster board or paper; laminated pictures (Velcro on back) to put on felt board; felt board; water sounds CD; CD player (test first with water CD); water pictures for station 2; water cycle chart; water book "Story of Water Stages."


Knowledge level: Students will be able to list several uses of water. Students will be able to verbally state the different phases of water. Students will be able to verbally explain the processes that water goes through, using an example of snow melting on top of a mountain.

Comprehension level: Students will be able to verbally identify how different phases of water impact our life.


Spray water from the water bottle into the air, over the students. Ask them, "What is in this bottle?” WATER!!


"Today we are going to talk about water! Water is something that every single person in this room needs every single day. We drink water, we brush our teeth with water, we take showers using water, and so much more! Raise your hand if you think that animals and plants need water, too. That’s right! Every living thing, including all plants, all animals, and all people, need water to survive.

There are three different phases of water: solid, liquid, and gas. (Hold up a cup or clear bottle filled with water.) What's in this bottle? Yes, it's water. This is water in a liquid form. Let's all say LIQUID. Now let's spell liquid. L-I-Q-U-I-D. (Point to letters on a big sign while spelling for all children to see.) Where have you seen liquid water, or what do you use liquid water for? (kitchen sink, bathtub, rivers, lakes, Blue Mesa Reservoir, etc.) What do you use liquid water for? We drink water in its liquid form, we bathe with water, we swim and boat in water. (As students name the uses, put the appropriate pictures onto the felt board).

Now let’s talk about another one of water’s three phases. Hold up container with ice cubes. "What do I have in this container? Right, these are ice cubes. Do you know what an ice cube is made of? WATER! This is water in a solid form. Solids have a shape and can be hard. Let's all say SOLID. Spell solid with me. S-O-L-I-D." Hold up solid sign while spelling, pointing to each letter. Where have you seen frozen water, or what do you use frozen water for? Ice cubes, the local ice skating rink, snow flakes, and big piles of snow are all examples of frozen water, or water in its solid form. What do we use water in its solid form for? We use ice cubes to cool a big glass of lemonade on a hot day, we skate on the ice rink, and we play in the snow! (As students name the uses, put the appropriate pictures onto the felt board). When water is in its solid form, is it hot or cold? That’s right, it’s cold!

This is the third form of water—(Spray a fine mist of water into the air with spray bottle.) "What's this that you feel in the air? This is water in the form of a gas. Let's all say GAS together. Spell gas with me, G-A-S." Spell gas using the sign. Water in the form of a gas is so tiny you can't see it. This is water vapor. Do you know what fog or mist is? They are clouds hanging in the air. Clouds are water in the form of a gas. (As students name them, put the appropriate pictures onto the felt board).

Can you tell me some other forms of water you see in nature besides fog, and mist?" Guide students to think of snow, rain, and mist, along with streams, lakes, rivers, and oceans.


We learned that water can be a solid, a liquid, or a gas. What is it called when water in the form of a solid falls from the sky? Hail or Snow. Who can tell me what it’s called when big, fluffy white things, water in its gas phase, float around in the sky? Clouds. Where might we see liquid water in nature? Rivers and Lakes. So now that we have learned the different phases of water, we’re going to do a couple of fun activities. OR Review the three phases of water using an ice cube on a brown paper towel - melting the ice cube and evaporating the water with a hair dryer.


Divide class into 2 groups quickly. One group will start at each station, then flip flop after 5 minutes.


"Would you like to see water in the form of a solid, liquid and gas? Water exists in these three phases in nature." If possible, move students to a table or another area so they can stand up and move around. Hold up an ice cube. "What is this in my hand? Right, an ice cube. Is this a solid, a liquid or a gas? Solid. Watch as this solid changes." Place ice cube on top of the mountain model. "In the mountains during winter, water collects as snow and ice. When it snows it is called precipitation; can everyone say precipitation? This is when water comes down from the sky in different forms. What are some ways that water comes down from the sky? Snow, rain, sleet, hail. In the spring, when the sun comes out, the temperature rises and the snow and ice melt." Let the ice cube melt down the mountain model, perhaps speeding up the process with a hair dryer. "What is happening to the solid? It is changing from a solid to a liquid." Some water should have melted down the mountain into the lake. "Now that the water from the top of the mountain is in the lake, watch what happens as I heat the water with this hair dryer just like the sun and warm breezes would heat the lake during the summer. The liquid water has changed into a gas and left the lake. Some of the water from the lake is now in the air as a gas. This is called evaporation; can everyone say that with me? Evaporation means water turns from a liquid into a gas. Then the water forms into clouds in the sky, which is called condensation. Can everyone say condensation? Condensation is when water forms into clouds from water gas, or vapor. We have seen all three stages of water, and we’ve seen what happens to snow and ice on the top of a mountain. Let's review. The ice is a solid, and then it melted into a liquid and then turned into a gas." Show simple water cycle diagram.

TRANSITION: “So now that everyone has had the chance to learn and see the different phases of the water, we are going to play a game so all of you will be able to be the different phases of water. Can I have everyone stand up, please? (Wait until they gather themselves) Now all of you will have to follow me very carefully, through the different hand motions so that you will be able to go through all the phases of water. First, water comes down from the sky as precipitation; this may be as rain, snow or hail. Hail is a form of solid water or ice. (Sprinkle your fingers down with hands apart up in the air and slowly bend down so you are in a crouching position on the floor. While you do the actions talk the students through the motions so they feel as if they are representing that form of water.) Then, water will gather into puddles, lakes or rivers. (Squat on the ground with your arms in like a basketball hoop around you) You have become a lake and a lake is a form of liquid water. And the more it rains, the more you grow. (Grow bigger with your hoop) Then the sun comes out and the water starts getting warm and starts evaporating. (You have started to turn into a gas rising into the air. (Oscillate your arms up and down, hands flat, like you are waving your whole arm from your shoulders, and slowly stand up) Then the water gas will turn into clouds through condensation, (flex your muscles. As more water evaporates, the bigger you get. So, you get bigger and bigger, and bigger and finally fall in the form of precipitation. (Repeat cycle and motions if you have time.)

Everyone please sit down quietly. In the next activity we are going to use our ears, so I need everyone to be very, very quiet.

Station 2

Do you think that water makes a sound? (Shake the clear bottle of water and have students listen to the sound.) Actually, water makes a lot of different sounds! Let’s look at some pictures of how we use water, and then we can match the pictures to the sounds they make. (Take a minute for the kids to look at the pictures and ask the kids what is happening in each picture. Then play one sound on the CD, and have the kids point to the picture where the water makes that sound. Move that picture away from the rest, and continue with the other sounds. After all sounds have been played and matched with the pictures, ask a couple of review questions.) Questions: “Is the water in this picture a solid, liquid, or gas?” “Point to a picture that shows one way that you use water.” “Have you ever touched snow, or ice? Is it hot or cold? So that means that solid water is very cold!”


Not appropriate.


Randomly ask students to describe the physical properties of the different phases of water. For example, "Who can describe water in its liquid phase?" or "Which phase of water is coldest-liquid, solid, or gas?” or “What’s your favorite way to use water?” Seat the children in a semicircle in the reading area and close with a story about the different stages of water.


Indicate what you judge to have been the strengths of the lesson, what changes you made during the lesson and what changes you would make if you were to teach the unit again.

Did You Know?

Blue Mesa Reservoir

At 20 miles long and with 96 miles of shoreline, Blue Mesa Reservoir is the largest body of water in the state of Colorado.