Water Cycle

  • Vocabulary.  Precipitation, Evaporation, Condensation.  We stood up and had motions for these words.  Precipication – hands start high, rain down all the way to the floor.  Evaporation follows – from the floor all the way back up.  Condensation – clouds form – act like your are forming something with your hands.
  • Discuss the water cycle and how clouds form.  A good resource is Magic School Bus.  I also just brought in several books from the library.  The Sonlight Series Discover & Do also has many activities to do with water.
  • An experiment to make it rain.  You will need ice, boiling water, and a metal cookie sheet.  I have an electric kettle, which worked great for getting boiling water into the classroom.  We actually began the class by measuring 3 cups water into the kettle.  We turned it on at the beginning of the class to let it boil for most of the class time.  This boiling water was later used for the main experiment and then at the end of class, we measured how much water was left in the kettle to make an observation about evaporation.  The actual experiment:  Place ice on top of the cookie sheet.  Hold it over the boiling water.  Water droplets should form on the underside of the cookie sheet.  Point out that this water is not the ice leaking.  It is condensation.  When enough condensation forms, it rains back down.
  • Observe the Actual Weather.  Throughout our weather study, we learned the tools of meterology.  So, for the water cycle, you can make a rain gauge, or at least discuss what one is.  You can also have the students start charting their own observations about the weather.  Our Saxon math curriculum often has them chart aspects of the weather.
  • Discuss types of Precipitation.  We go into more detail in the weeks on snow and storms, but here mention rain, sleet, hail, snow, and other words for rain (like drizzle, mist, sprinkle, etc).  Finding a book with pictures of different types of precipitaion would also be helpful.
Here’s a fun YouTube video about the Water Cycle:
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