The Water Cycle
This learning block represents one week’s work. Aim to watch at least one video and choose at least one activity or project to complete.
There are two videos to choose from about the water cycle. The first one is better for younger kids, the second one will appeal to older kids. Feel free to watch one, or both!
If you are a high school student, or you’re interested in going deeper, make sure to check out the Advanced Projects at the end of the block. Have fun!
Now choose an Activity
Water Cycle In a Bag Project
You can make your own functioning model of the water cycle at home!
You will need:
– a clear ziploc bag
– permanent marker
Through this experiment, you can observe the 4 stages of the water cycle: EVAPORATION, CONDENSATION, PRECIPITATION, and COLLECTION. See if you can identify each one as it happens! You could take a photo or draw an observational sketch at each stage.
What do you notice happening in your bag?
What might happen if you put your bag in a shady area rather than a sunny one?
Or if the heat was turned up in the room?
If you’re interested, you could try making more than one water cycle bag and comparing them!
Don’t forget to document your project for your portfolio.
Water Cycle Craft Project
In this project, you will work on learning the names for each stage of the water cycle while making a fun craft!
You will need:
– large piece of paper
– dark blue paper
– yellow paper
– cotton balls
– labels saying: PRECIPITATION, EVAPORATION, CONDENSATION, and COLLECTION
You will notice that the video does not show the COLLECTION stage of the water cycle. Collection happens after precipitation (rain or snow) falls from the clouds and COLLECTS in lakes, rivers, oceans, and ponds. You can put your COLLECTION label on the water part of your craft!
Don’t forget to add your work to your portfolio!
Tell the Story of One Water Drop’s Journey
This project is adapted from National Geographic: Earth’s Water Cycle resource.
First, look at the diagram above. See if you can track the movement of water through the water cycle by following the arrows. Notice how water moves in all areas over, on, and below ground!
Now you will tell the story of a single drop of water. Your water drop will begin in one place, and then move through several other places and forms. For example:
– Your drop could begin in the middle of a vast ocean
– Your drop could start in a cloud above a mountain
– Your drop could be a snowflake packed into a snowman!
– Your drop could drip out of a hose onto a garden on a hot day
– Or wherever else you can imagine!
Tell your story from the water drop’s point of view.
– What does it see?
– Does it encounter any animals or people on its journey? Did they help it along its way?
– How is it affected by heat and cold, by the type of land it touches, by plants and dirt?
– How does the drop feel as it travels?
– What adventures does it have? Where will it go next?
Add your written story, or a recording of you telling it, to your portfolio.
Books About the Water Cycle
Click on a book to buy it from Amazon. Or, you can ask for them at your local library.
A Drop Around the World Read Aloud
Choose at least one!
Water Cycle Music Video Project
Make your own music video about the water cycle! You may want to learn the dance to the music video above and record yourself performing it. Or, you can make up your own song or rap and record that!
What parts of the water cycle do you want to highlight?
What will make it memorable for your viewers?
What style of music do you like? (Choose something you enjoy!)
How can you make the visuals add to the meaning of the project? Will you include props, graphics, photos, drawings…?
How will you make sure the audio and visual is clear enough for your audience?
Film your music video and upload it to your portfolio!
Examine Fresh Water Consumption by Country
Water exists indefinitely in the water cycle, but only a tiny portion of all the water in the world is useable by humans. Of ALL the water on Earth, only about 2.5% is freshwater. Of THAT, just the teeniest, tiniest amount is accessible for human use: 0.3%! (See this infographic to help you visualize it!) Fresh, available water is an incredibly valuable resource.
What do you notice about the two maps? Do any major differences stand out? Which countries appear to have the highest water consumption? Which appear to have the lowest? How does the water consumption compare to the population?
Write an essay discussing:
a) whether human water consumption is fair and
b) any changes you think should be made to how our water is used
Download and print this outline tool, from studenthandouts.com, to help you organize your essay.
Do the research and fill in the notes of what you want to include in your outline. Then, write the essay. Be sure to use a tool like Grammerly to help improve and edit your writing.
Upload your essay to your portfolio.
Use Computational Models to Learn about Groundwater
What is GROUNDWATER? Quite simply, groundwater is the water that is stored underground in the cracks and gaps between rocks and sediment. In some places, groundwater pools into usable quantities called AQUIFERS.
In this project, you will explore how different types of sediment affect the flow of water underground. Then you will use computational models to figure out the best locations to withdraw water from underground aquifers.
Start by reading this National Geographic page about the Water Table & Aquifers.
To complete this project, you will need to use this link from High Adventure Science. Click “Begin Activity” and then follow the prompts! There are 11 pages to work through in this activity.
When you get to the last page of the activity, remember to click “Show All Answers.” This will take you to a summary of all the work you’ve done. Copy and paste this or print it directly from the website so you have a record of your work for your portfolio.