Level 2

Water Dance

Performance Standard A2, Level 2

Students observe physical and chemical properties of common substances and observe changes to those properties.

Key Concepts and Skills

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Key Concepts and Skills

  • Water exists in three states—solid, liquid, gas.
  • Water evaporates when heated.
  • Water expands when it freezes which causes problems in Alaska.
  • Liquid water expands as it is heated above 4 degrees Celsius.
  • Water, snow and ice have many names in Iñupiaq.
  • Ice is less dense than water.
  • Measuring volume, temperature, density, mass.



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2–3 weeks


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Students explore states of water and changes between these states in their community. Students investigate changes as water freezes, liquefies, evaporates, and boils. Students learn many Iñupiaq names for water, ice, and snow and the significance of each name


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  • Clipboards for note taking
  • freezer to make ice cubes
  • Go Home River by Jim Magdanz
  • rulers
  • List of Iñupiaq names for water (see below)
  • graduated cylinders
  • water
  • hot plates
  • plastic bottles to hold water
  • balance with gram masses
  • pans for boiling water

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Read the book Go Home River by Jim Magdanz; ask the students what they know about the states of water, how and where it exists around the community. List.

Embedded Assessment

Check list for previous understanding of concepts.


Take students for a “water walk” around the community; list a variety of usual and unusual forms in which water exists in their environment and changes in the states of water that are observed at different seasons; record in journal; share with the class.


Students conduct an interview of Elders or adults in the community or their family. Before they go, you may want to review the relevant forms of water in all three states, such as snow, sleet, permafrost, fog, clouds, etc.
Help students generate questions to ask, such as the following: How does water’s change of state during break-up or freeze-up affect your life/job? What problems does the change of state of water cause in your community? What solutions have people found to solve these problems?
When students return from their interview, they share the information and stories they collected. Discuss. Brainstorm a list of properties of each of the states of water (local examples as well as global examples). Introduce different Iñupiaq names for water and snow. Discuss how each Iñupiaq form is different and why a new word for each type of water and snow is helpful.

  • avun powder snow
  • sigu ice
  • aniu snow on ground
  • kuuk river
  • qannatuq snow falling down
  • qilakluk cloud
  • qaniq snowflake
  • iziq steam


Fill a clear plastic bottle or pop can with water. Replace cap. Ask students to predict what will happen when the bottle is frozen. Record predictions and explanations in journals using words and pictures. Make qualitative and quantitative observation of the bottle/cans of water. Record observations in journals. Put bottles/cans outside (if cold enough) or in freezer. After it is frozen record both qualitative and quantitative observations.

Expanded Sample Assessment Idea

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Expanded Sample Assessment Idea

Students develop a strategy to sink an ice cube.


Students will:

  1. Predict if they can sink an ice cube.
  2. Work in teams to develop a strategy to make the ice sink.
  3. Demonstrate their ice-sinking apparatus; share strategies and observations with the class.

Reflection and Revision

Why is ice so hard to sink? Discuss the properties of ice and water (what they look like, feel like, smell like, taste like and how they behave in relation to sinking and floating.) How are these two forms of water alike and how are they different? Discuss density.

Level of Performance

Stage 4
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Student work is complete, correct, shows evidence of logical reasoning and transfer and extension of knowledge related to the physical properties of the three states of water. Explanation of water’s change of state includes correct terminology, physical properties of each state of water, a description of where each phase occurs in nature, and an example of how each change in the state of water affects the local community. The student describes a detailed strategy to sink an ice cube or explains why it isn’t possible
Stage 3
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Student work shows evidence of logical reasoning and transfer of knowledge related to the physical properties of the three states of water, but may contain minor errors or omissions. Student explanation of water’s change of state includes correct terminology, physical properties of some of the states of water, some descriptions of where water occurs in nature and at least one example of how a change in the state of water affects the local community. The student describes a strategy to sink an ice cube
Stage 2
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Student work contains omissions or errors of science fact and reasoning. Student explanation of water’s change of state may identify an example of where water occurs in nature, describes an example of how water is used within the local community, uses some appropriate terminology, and may describe some physical properties of water in one of its three states. A strategy to sink an ice cube, if included, may be incomplete or lack detail.
Stage 1
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Student explanation of the change of state of water is largely incomplete, incorrect, and shows little evidence of understanding the role of water in the local community.


Standards Cross-Reference

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Standards Cross-Reference
(Alaska Department of Education & Early Development Standards

National Science Education Standards

Objects have many observable properties, including size, weight, shape, color, temperature, and the ability to react with other substances. These properties can be measured using tools, such as rulers, balances, and thermometers. (Pg. 127)

Materials can exist in different states – solid, liquid, and gas. Some common materials, such as water, can be changed from one state to another by heating or cooling. (Pg. 127)

A substance has characteristic properties, such as density, a boiling point, and solubility, all of which are independent of the amount of the sample. A mixture of substances often can be separated into the original substances using one or more of the characteristic properties. (Pg. 154)


Heating and cooling cause changes in the properties of materials. Many kinds of changes occur faster under hotter conditions. (Pg. 77)

When a new material is made by combining two or more materials, it has properties that are different from the original materials. For that reason, a lot of different materials can be made from a small number of basic kinds of materials. (Pg. 77)



Alaska Science Content Standard Key Element

A student who meets the content standard should understand the physical, chemical, and nuclear changes and interactions that result in observable changes in the properties of matter.




Additional Content and Performance Standards: B1, D1 and D3


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