Let's Learn About Evaporation!

If you're breathing, chances are you've heard the word "evaporation." But do you really know what it does? What is it really? I mean, we hear the word all the time...

But how does it work?

What makes water do what it does?

You'll answer all this and more by the time you finish with this science fair project about evaporation.

Time - Give yourself about five weeks to do this one.

Stuff List

You'll need...

1. Measuring cup
2. Hot water
3. Vase with narrow neck
4. Glass
5. Pieplate or bowl
6. Pencil or pen
7. Ruler
8. Graph paper
9. Camera
10. Cardboard for display (three sided)
11. Glue
12. Paper
13. Computer (optional)


We have to be scientists today if this thing is going to work. And a good scientist always asks questions. So...

...let's ask some starter questions about evaporation. This question is only for our research at the beginning so we can get our feel for the project and learn all we can. We'll ask our really important question a little bit later. We need a starting place. So we'll ask first...

What is the water cycle?
What forms does water take?
What is evaporation?

Research this question thoroughly. Find everything you can about these questions and any others you might think of about evaporation. Asking an adult might help you out a lot. Or you might finds some great info on the internet. And of course there's always the ever useful standby...your local library. You might even want to ask the librarian about any useful resources about evaporation.

That should give you enough information to ask the important question. This is also called your hypothesis...

How much does the shape of a container affect evaporation?

This is a good question because we can try it out in our kitchen. But don't try it yet. We need to answer our important question first!

Let's do that now.

What do you think will happen?

Do you think evaporation will be affected by the shape of the container you use?

Write it down on a piece of paper. Don't change it until you see what the experiment does first. Remember...

...we call this guess our hypothesis. It's the most important part of our project!

Now it's time to get your stuff from the list above. Let's move to the next step.


Now comes the fun part...

...let's experiment!

This is a little tricky. You need to follow the directions exactly as they are given. It is important that you do this exactly right or you'll come out with some pretty strange results.

Pour exactly the same amount of hot water into your vase, glass and bowl. A measuring cup should help you with this step. Be careful not to spill any water outside the container. This will ruin the results...

Next, you'll need to record what you see. Create a "working chart" (this one is for your eyes only) with the numbers 1-4 (weeks) on the side. Now, draw the shape of each container along the top. It should look something like this...

Leave your project alone for seven (7) days. At the end of that time, pour each container separately into a measuring cup to see how much water has evaporated from each container.

Do the experiment again in the same exact way. Do this four times for a total of four weeks. Make sure to record the amount of water in each container on your working chart.



...let's make the line graph for our display!

At the bottom of this graph, put "Week One," "Week Two," "Week Three" and "Week Four."

Down the side put the the measurments you used to measure the water starting with "1" and going up the side. Make sure you have one separate line graph for each shaped container. It should look something like this...

For more info about making charts and graphs click here.

It's time to tell what you've noticed. Write a report about what you saw.

You should include...

1. What you guessed about the containers.
2. What you did with the water and containers.
3. Which container lost the most...the least.
4. If your guess was correct about evaporation.

Be careful to obey all the school rules for your science fair report. One or two paragraphs for each grade level will do if you weren't given how long it should be. Be detailed as well. But make it neat.


Now you get to make the display!

Carefully put three pieces of cardboard together so it looks like this...

If you want more information about how to put together and arrange displays click here.

You can buy displays at many retail stores as well. However you do it, make sure you follow science fair rules!

Now, on a piece of paper neatly write your important question and your guess. If you would like, type it. You might get style points!

Now, just like you did your important question, write (or type) your supply list on a separate piece of paper.

Paste your guess, supply list and report onto your display board along with any pictures you might have taken. Make sure you label each so the judges know what is what. Making sure everything looks good is important!

If you want to get some ideas for your display we have some examples for you. Just click here for examples of displays and other helpful hints to make your project shine!

Try playing with some of the display ideas you see. You don't have to use the exact ones we use. Make them fun! Be creative!

And don't forget to name your project at the top of the display board. It's best to use your important question as the title. You may want to purchase stencils to make cutouts of letters. Or you may purchase already made letters at many retail stores.

Whatever you do, have fun with evaporation!

Do you understand evaporation a little better?
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