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Introduction to Properties of Water

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In this topic we look at the special chemistry of the water molecule. Water’s chemistry gives it the properties that make water so important – both to living things and to shaping earth’s natural environments. To understand the unique chemistry of water, we will first investigate types of covalent bonds. Activities in this unit are designed to compare the physical properties of polar, slightly polar, and nonpolar liquids.

Students will:
  • Observe the interaction between liquids and electrostatic forces.
  • Investigate the cohesive and adhesive properties of water.
  • Test and then describe the relative cohesive and adhesiveness of water, oil and alcohol.
  • Compare the relative ability of polar, slightly polar, and nonpolar liquids to dissolve substances.
  • Create a simple conductivity meter using a light bulb and battery. Students will then use the meter to compare the conductivity of polar, slightly polar and nonpolar liquids.


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Exploring Our Fluid Earth, a product of the Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG), College of Education. University of Hawaii, 2011. This document may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-profit educational purposes.