The life of water


Get hands on with H2O, changing states of matter and the water cycle. These experiments and investigations involve water in the context of space. 


Experiments and investigations involving water with a space theme. Relevance to the water cycle inspired by the life of water planetarium show.


This resource provides videos, experiments and investigations involving water in the context of space. The water cycle is a key curriculum topic at key stage 2 and 3. So take a look and plan class activities to investigate condensation, filtering, thermometers and a whole lot more.  This content was inspired by the Royal Society of Chemistry commissioned planetarium show; The life of water. Produced by Explorer Dome (a Bristol based company) with video content created by NSC creative. The class resources were created by TeachEco Ltd.

The videos in this resource are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribtution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Licence. © Royal Society of Chemistry 2014, CC BY-ND 4.0.

If you teach primary science, click the headings below to find out how to use this resource:

Skill development

Children will develop their working scientifically skills by:

  • Using a range of scientific equipment to take accurate and precise measurements or readings, with repeat readings where appropriate.
  • Drawing conclusions and raising further questions that could be investigated, based on their data and observations.
  • Using appropriate scientific language and ideas to explain, evaluate and communicate their methods and findings.
  • Selecting and planning the most appropriate ways to answer science questions, recognising and controlling variables where necessary, including:
    • Observing changes over different periods of time.
    • Carrying out comparative and fair tests.
  • Recording data and results using scientific diagrams and labels, classification keys, tables, scatter graphs, bar and line graphs.
  • Asking their own questions about scientific phenomena.

Learning outcomes

Children will:

  • Compare and group materials together according to whether they are solids, liquids or gases.
  • Use knowledge of solids, liquids and gases to decide how mixtures might be separated, including through filtering, sieving and evaporating.
  • Know that some materials will dissolve in liquid to form a solution, and describe how to recover a substance from a solution.
  • Demonstrate that dissolving, mixing and changes of state are reversible changes.
  • Identify the part played by evaporation and condensation in the water cycle and associate the rate of evaporation with temperature.

Concepts supported

Children will learn:

  • About the properties and characteristics of solids, liquids and gases, in simple terms.
  • That substances and materials can be grouped into solids, liquids or gases, according to their properties.
  • The factors that affect plant growth, relating this to the water cycle, condensation and evaporation.
  • That filtering is a separation technique that can be used to separate insoluble solids from liquids.
  • That some substances can dissolve in liquids, and that they can be recovered.
  • That mixtures of solids can be separated, by applying a knowledge of filtering and dissolving techniques.
  • That substances and materials can change from one state to another, and that these changes are often reversible.

Suggested activity use

This resource provides a useful planning tool for covering a range of topics and ideas. Even though the overall theme is space, many of the activities address other areas of the curriculum. There are opportunities for whole-class investigations as well as group work.

Practical considerations

The resource provides many useful activities; however, they are not a suggested medium-term topic plan. The activities could be incorporated into individual topics, with you picking and choosing which to use when.

The different activities require resources and equipment which will need to be provided.