Teaching Physical Science Skills with Children’s Literature: Squirts and Spurts Science Fun with Water


Squirts and Spurts Science Fun with Water was written by Vicki Cobb and illustrated by Steve Haefele.  This author has written many books like this one focusing on all different areas of science.  In this particular book, Ms. Cobb, details different science experiments involving simple machines, water, air and oil to teach the reader about forces, pressure and motion.

A Balloon Water Shooter

Rubber is a material that is said to have a ‘memory.’  You can stretch a balloon and change its shape.  If you release it, the balloon snaps back to its original shape.  You stretch a balloon when you blow it up.  When you let go of the open end, the balloon shrinks, forcing out the air.  This same force can be used to shoot a jet of water.

Curriculum Connections
Due to the complexity of some of the experiments and the nature of the science learned, this book would be recommended for upper elementary students.  While a lot of the experiments are fun and the kids will love doing them, the actual learning about force, motion, and simple machines could be hindered if the audience is too young to understand these concepts as they relate to science.  This would result in a glorified playtime for them.  With regard to the Virginia SOLS the curriculum can be tied to 4.2 a, b, c, and d.

Additional Resources

  • Newton’s Third Law of Motion Students  Students will  experiment with balloons and send their balloons across the room by using various techniques.
  • Forces and Motion  Students will create different size parachutes and with an egg as its passenger.  The students will drop the egg from a distance of ten feet and hypothesize which eggs will land safely.
  • Daily Doings with Simple Machines  Students will make a hypothesis as to how many simple machines they use during a day.  Using the worksheet provided in this link, students will take the sheet home and record all activities they might do during the day using a simple machine.  Then the students will write about their results as compared to their hypothesis.

Book: Squirts and Spurts Science Fun with Water
Author: Vicki Cobb
Illustrator: Steve Haefele
Publisher: The Millbrook Press
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 48 pages
Grade Range: 3-6
ISBN: 0-7613-1572-1

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