The Water Cycle

by Imara Abdullah

This lesson was created as a part of the SMART website and is hosted by the Illinois Institute of Technology

The concept of the water cycle  involves the sun heating the Earth's surface water and causing the surface water to evaporate. The water vapor rises into the Earth's  atmosphere. The water in the atmosphere cools and condenses into liquid droplets. The droplets grow  until they are heavy  and fall to the earth as precipitation which can be in the form of rain or snow.   The students will investigate the phases of the water cycle.  The goal of the lesson is to have students explain the sequence of  the water cycle and the sequence of conditions involved in the water cycle.  The student will complete experiments explaining the water cycle and related terms. This lesson is designed for primary students.

Student Activities:  The students will discuss the following questions:

What is rain?

How does rain happen?

Have you ever seen a puddle of water on the sidewalk?

Have you ever seen a puddle of water on the ground?

Do you know what happens to a puddle of water?

Have you seen clothes that were wet become dry?

Where does the  water from the clothes  go when it dries up?

What happens to air to make it warm?

What happens to air to make it cold?

What are clouds and how are they made?

What is fog?

What is snow?

How does snow happen?

The students will conduct experiments.

Experiment # 1 

 Evaporation:  Materials: dishes, water. Procedure: Put a small amount of water in the dishes.  Cover some the the dishes.  Place some dishes in sunlight. Place other dishes in shade. Record  observations of what happens to the water.

Experiment # 2

 The students will construct a terrarium as a model of the water cycle. Materials for terrarium experiment are potting soil, seeds (marigold or pea) container for pouring water, plastic container with lid.  (tape lid to ensure a tight fit)  Procedure: put soil in the bottom and plant seeds in the soil.  Lightly water the soil.  Cover the terrarium with a lid.  Place container in direct sunlight.

Condensation, Magic Moisture   (After connecting to link click  to Magic Moisture)

 Precipitation, Create a Cloud     (After connecting to hyper link click to Create a Cloud)

Earth's Water Cycle                    (After connecting to hyper link click Rainmaker)



Evaporation:  Water going into the air is called evaporation



Soil moisture



States of Matter: solid, liquid, gas

Water Cycle

Performance assessment: Orally check student's understanding. Create a rubric for performance and score participation.


Bill Nye the Science Guy 
(You can't click directly to the water cycle information. First click onto Episode Guides,  next click Planetary Science, next click Earth Science, then scroll to water cycle and click) 

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