Water Cycle

Four Winds Nature Institute
4 Casey Rd. Chittenden, VT 05737
802-353-9440 www.fourwindsinstitute.org
Earth and the Environment: Water Cycle
~Teaching Outline~
Focus: So important to all living things, Earth’s water changes from solid to liquid to gas over and over
again as it moves through the water cycle.
Where does water come from, and where does it go? How is it able to travel throughout the Earth?
Puppet Show: Visualize a water drop’s journey through the water cycle
Trip around the Water Cycle (k-2):.Review water cycle from puppet show.
Draw a Water Cycle (3-6): Think of and draw some of the places water is found on Earth and discuss
some of the many pathways within the water cycle.
Sticky Water Activities: Examine adhesion, cohesion, and surface tension in water.
Rising Water: Observe how water travels through some substances by capillary action.
Changing Colors: Look for evidence of capillary action through a plant.
Into the Air and Back: Observe liquid water evaporating into water vapor, and then condensing into
water droplets.
Evaporation Action: Test whether moving air assists water evaporating into the air.
Hot, Cold, and Frozen: Observe the movement of liquid and frozen water at various temperatures.
States of Water Hunt: Look for examples of water in different states outside.
Water Journeys: Experience the varied routes a water droplet can take through the water cycle.
How Much is Fresh?: Visualize how little of the Earth’s water is fresh water.
Journal Activity and Sharing Circle: Record a favorite water activity; share and listen to each other’s
favorite things about water.
States of Water Hunt (also in Teaching Suggestions), Water Journeys, How Much is Fresh?, Molecule
Dance (in extensions).
Unit Concepts/Ideas:
A. The earth’s water moves from the earth to the atmosphere and back again in a process known as the
water cycle.
B. Water from the atmosphere reaches the earth by precipitation or by condensation. Water from the
earth reaches the atmosphere through the processes of evaporation, transpiration and respiration.
C. Water molecules are attracted to other materials and to each other and have a tendency to move into
tiny spaces, a process called capillary action.
D. Animals and plants depend on water for survival, ingesting it in the liquids they drink or absorb.
E. Although water covers three-quarters of the earth’s surface, only a small percentage of the supply is
fresh water.
Unit Vocabulary: Water Cycle, Precipitation, Condensation, Water Vapor, Evaporation, Respiration,
Capillary Action, Transpiration, Ground Water, Glaciers
Science Grade Expectations:
Grades PK-K Plants and animals are living things that need energy and water to survive. Objects can be
described by their color, size, shape, weight and texture. Water in its liquid and solid states can be found
on the Earth’s surface.
Grades 1-2 Living things need energy and water to survive. Water can be a liquid, solid, or gas, and can
be made to change from one state to the other. Heating and cooling can change states of matter. Weather
conditions change frequently, and weather patterns change over the seasons.
Grades 3-4 Organisms obtain what they need to survive from their environment. Substances can be
classified by observable properties. Water exists in different forms and changes from one form to another
through various processes, such as freezing, condensation, precipitation and evaporation. The weather is
always changing and can be described, measured and recorded. The Earth’s surface is mostly covered by
water. Most of Earth’s water is salt water, which is found in the oceans; fresh water is found in rivers,
lakes, underground sources, and glaciers.
Grades 5-6 Organisms have physical structures that help them obtain what they need to survive in their
environment. When liquid water disappears, it turns into a gas (vapor) in the air and can reappear as a
liquid when cooled or a solid if cooled below the freezing point of water. The cycling of water in and out
of the atmosphere is a significant aspect of the weather patterns on earth. The weather is always changing
and can be described by measurable quantities like temperature, wind direction and speed, etc. Water is an
important natural resource.
Science Skills:
A. Active listening and role-playing to visualize a water drop’s journey through the water cycle.
B. Identifying by modeling and role-playing, some of the places water is found and some of the many
pathways within the water cycle.
C. Investigating how water travels through some substances by capillary action.
D. Using tools to investigate how wind and warmth cause water to evaporate.
E. Observing the condensation of water vapor into water droplets and discussing the process.
F. Using simple tools to investigate some of the properties of water.
Vermont Standards: Inquiry 7.1, The Living World 7.13, Universe, Earth and the Environment 7.15,
Natural Resources and Agriculture 7.16, Listening 1.13, Questioning 2.1, Sustainability 3.9,
Understanding Place 4.6
New Hampshire Standards: Science Process Skills SPS1, SPS3, SPS4; Life Science LS1, LS2, LS3;
Earth Space Science ESS1, ESS2; Physical Science PS1, PS2
Four Winds Nature Institute, 11-10