Section 3: Looking at liquids

Key Focus Question: How can you use different activities to investigate liquids?

Keywords: assessment; mind maps; demonstrations; investigation; surface tension; liquids

Learning outcomes

By the end of this section, you will have:

  • used ‘big picture’ mind maps to see what pupils already know when starting a new topic
  • undertaken practical classroom demonstrations to challenge pupils’ thinking
  • planned different sorts of activities including investigations and drama to develop pupils’ understanding of the role of water.


Whatever age you work with, it is always valuable to start a new topic with a thoughtful session where you build up a good picture of what the pupils already know. This can be recorded in the form of a mind map (see Key Resource: Using mind maps and brainstorming to explore ideas [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] ). Encourage pupils to share any questions and concerns they have. Knowing your pupils’ learning needs will really help you plan in a meaningful way. What sort of things must be planned? (See Key Resource: Planning and preparing your lessons.)

In this section we guide you through using a mind map and planning a series of activities around liquids and their properties.

Resource 5: Molecules and atoms

1. Exploring prior knowledge through brainstorming and demonstrations