The Mystery of the Red Cups
In this compelling activity, students investigate the properties of an amazing super absorbing polymer called sodium polyacrylate (Waterlock). This is a Top 10 STEM activity because is very counterintuitive and thus it is curiosity stimulating and thought provoking. As such, it is a great science activity to do during the first week of school when you are talking about the importance of making careful observations of the world around us. Students make observations, form explanations, and consider cross-cutting connections between the form and function of this amazing molecule. For younger students, you can even tell it as an interactive story if you prefer. Either way, your kids will love it.
Mystery of the Red Cups Lesson Plan
Mystery of the Red Cups Interactive Story
Mystery of the Red Cups Extension Activity
Mystery of the Red Cups Article
There are numerous grade-level core ideas that can be incorporated into this lesson such as the one listed for 5th grade on the lesson plan. However, it is a great science activity to do during the first week of school for any grade level when you are talking about the importance of scientific practices such as making observations, brainstorming ideas, and forming explanations.