What do you think about condensation?

Preview of a cartoon with students asking questions about condensation

Source: © Millgate House Publishers

Download the full cartoon and teacher guidance notes below.

This concept cartoon is designed to provoke discussion and stimulate thinking around condensation.

Use it with groups of students to elicit students’ ideas.

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

Skill development

Children will develop their working scientifically skills by:

  • Drawing conclusions and raising further questions that could be investigated based on their data and observations.
  • Using evidence from a range of sources to support and refute ideas.
  • Asking their own questions about scientific phenomena.

Learning outcomes

Children will:

  • Observe that some materials change state when they are heated or cooled, and measure or research the temperature at which this happens in degrees Celsius.
  • 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:

  • What condensation is and where it comes from.
  • That evaporation and condensation play important roles in the water cycle, and why we have rain.

Suggested activity use

The activity would be useful to use in conjunction with other resources looking at states of matter or the water cycle. Alternatively, you could use this as an opportunity for a whole-class discussion at the start or end of a lesson, by showing it on an interactive whiteboard or handing out copies.

You could also focus on a small group if you want to assess reasoning skills.

The follow-up activities provided also give an opportunity for an investigation to be carried out which would explain the ideas involved.

Practical considerations

Children often find it difficult to visualise that there is air around them, and not empty space or nothing. Simply waving their hands or running in the playground with a large piece of card in front can provide them with proof that actually air is there, because they can see and feel its effects.

The concept that there is normally water vapour in the air is even more difficult to comprehend. By carrying out the practical activity for themselves, children will be able to see the gas turn into droplets of liquid.

It is important for children to understand that this exercise isn’t designed to test ’right or wrong’ answers, but more their thought process. You may want to prepare explanations for each of the answers given on the concept cartoon so that children can see why they might not be correct.


Science Concept Cartoons