It is the middle of a hot week here in Virginia and I have been teaching a week-long workshop on Physical Science. So blessed to have 27 amazing elementary teachers playing, debriefing, and playing some more this week with me!  Take a look at some of the pictures and see if you can identify a common theme among them:



If you said the teachers look like they are having fun learning; you would be right!  But these pictures actually show two activities that connect to topics found in the Virginia Social Studies Standards of Learning.  

Making Water Flow Up!

Let’s start with the fountain. Yes, we made a fountain in the classroom and did not make a mess! The history of the fountain can be traced back to Ancient Rome. Using a system of aqueducts, cisterns, and the force of gravity, Ancient Rome was able to received and store water. Gravity helped to move the water and cisterns, which are similar to what we know as water towers today, helped to store the water.  

Water flowed from the cisterns either through pipes to individual houses or to public distribution points. Fountains were not only decorative; but functional. People could bring their buckets to the fountain to collect water. Some of the fountains had elaborate sprays. These were due in part to the height of the cisterns.

Turtle Fountain in Rome

Our fountain works off of air pressure. On top of the bottle is a balloon filled with air. Once released, the air rushes into the bottle and begins to force the water out through the straw. Even though the straw is pointed up, the pressure is great enough to make the water flow up and out of the straw! Keep reading for directions on how to make this easy, yet fun water fountain that will have your students or children shouting-“Can we do this again?”

Learning about Ancient Rome (grade 3) and the importance of aqueducts and fountains!

Sometimes Accidents in Science Create Fun 

In 1940, Franklin Roosevelt called rubber a “strategic and critical material.” When our military success in the war became dependent on rubber production, the US government asked companies to invent a synthetic rubber that could be made with non-restricted materials. Scientist James Wright quickly began experimenting with various materials in his quest to discover synthetic rubber. 

The now famous goo, known as Silly Putty, was accidentally created through the combining of boric acid and silicone oil. Tests on the “new goo” done by Wright concluded it could bounce, stretch farther than regular rubber, did not mold, and had a high melting temperature. Unfortunately, it did not have the properties necessary to replace rubber. Originally called “nutty putty,” the substance was a lot of fun to many people. After a series of events, it eventually made its way into the toy market and the rest is history!

Science is just plain fun at times!



Even though our Silly Putty is made from items you can find in Wal-Mart, we still had a great time exploring chemical changes! 

If you would like to have some fun this weekend, here is what you need:

Water Fountain 

  • 2 liter bottle
  • Straw
  • Blue Tac or Modeling Clay
  • Water


Get ready for some fun!
  1. With a pen or a pair of scissors, poke a hole in the empty bottle just big enough for a straw to fit through.
  2. Seal the straw with Blue Tac or Modeling Clay.
  3. Pour water into the bottle over the level of the hole (we put the hole down lower on the bottle).
  4. Plug any leaks by squishing down the clay and make sure the straw is pointing up!
  5. Blow up the balloon, twist it slightly, and then put over the opening of the bottle. Let it untwist and get ready!

Silly Putty 

To make silly putty, you need the following items:

  1. 1 4 oz bottle of glue
  2. 1/4 cup of  StaFlo starch

Pour these materials into a quart sized bag, seal, and mix together.

When the solid begins to form, open the bag and continue to knead inside the bag. Eventually you will be able to pull it out of the bag and have fun!

What other connections can you find between history and science? Just remember, science rocks!



Published by Jenny Sue