The Water Cycle

external image Cyclenew2006_72dpi.gif


Run and get a glass of water and put it on the table next to you. Take a good long look at the water. Now -- can you guess how old it is?
The water in your glass may have fallen from the sky as rain just last week, but the water itself has been around pretty much as long as the Earth has! We use water for everyday things. The earth has a limited amount of water. That water keeps going around and around and around and around and in what we call the "Water Cycle". This cycle is made up of a few main parts: evaporation, condensation, and precipitation. Today, we will experiment with water to understand that it travels in a cycle and understand different parts of the water cycle.


1. Brainstorm and create a diagram of the water cycle.

2. Create a PowerPoint presentation describing the different parts of the cycle and displaying images of each.

3. Create a YouTube video displaying one of the steps in the water cycle. Use your creativity to describe the cycle as you understand the water cycle.


  • What is a cycle? Something that goes in a circle. A bicycle has two circular tires. Something that travels in a circle is a cycle.
  • Show students a glass of water, and discuss where water comes from.

Direct Instruction

  • Define the key vocabulary terms at board and provide examples of when students may have witnessed evaporation or condensation.
  • Examples of evaporation include:
o Steam rising from a pot of water
o Puddles that have dried up
o Water sitting in a bowl that seems to ‘disappear’ after a few days
  • Examples of condensation include:
    • Water droplets forming on the outside of your water glass
    • A foggy mirror in a bathroom
    • Foggy windows in a car
    • Demonstrate the cyclical movement of water either by drawing the water cycle at the board, or sharing a poster of the water cycle.
  • Explain that in the experiment to follow, we will be creating a mini water cycle.

  • Place a tablespoon of salt in bottom of plastic bowl. Fill with about 1 inch of warm water. Taste water with finger to see if you can taste the salt.
  • Place the empty baby food jar in center of water. Cover plastic bowl with plastic wrap. Set marble on center of plastic wrap above the baby food jar. Place in a sunny spot for a few hours, or one day.
  • Later, check inside the baby food jar. There will be fresh water. Taste it to see if it tastes salty. The warm water from the bowl evaporated, created condensation when it hit the cool plastic wrap, traveled down the plastic wrap to the center due to the weight of the marble, and dripped into the baby food jar as precipitation.


Water Cycle Diagram
Water Cycle Video
Water Cycle Tutorial
Water Cycle Explorer

Illinois Learning Standards:

11.A.1f Compare observations of individual and group results.

11.A.3f Interpret and represent results of analysis to produce findings.

12.E.2a Identify and explain natural cycles of the Earth's land, water, and atmosphereic systems (eg. rock cycles, water cycles)

13.A.1c Explain how knowledge can be gained by careful observation.

13.B.2c Identify and explain ways that science and technology influence the lives and careers of people.


2.a: Interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media.

3.b: Locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.

4.a: Identify and define authentic problems and significant questions for investigation.

6.a: Understand and use technology systems.

6.b: Select and use applications effectively and productively.


Ask students to share their knowledge of the experiment by relating it to the parts of the water cycle. Tell where there was evaporation, condensation, and precipitation in the experiment.

Ask students to draw and label the parts of the water cycle.

Sources gathered clearly supported topic.
Gathered information relevant to topic, but not enough supporting evidence.
Few sources used.
No source information collected.
Large amount of creativity and original thought.
Somewhat creative, work shows new ideas and insights.
Little evidence of creative thinking.
Not creative, outside ideas were used.
Exceeded all requirements.
All requirements fulfilled.
Lacking some requirements.
Fulfilled no requirements.
Oral Presentation
Very interesting, well-rehearsed, smooth delivery, and held audience's attention for the entire time.
Somewhat interesting, fairly smooth, and held audience's attention for most of the time.
Delivery not smooth, held attention from audience for little time.
Delivery not smooth and lost attention of audience.
Structure of topic is clearly developed.
Structure of topic is developed but lacks clarirty.
Some attempt at topic, but structure was still poorly developed.
Lack of structure.


After completing the experiments and projects, students will understand that water travels in a cycle. They will also understand the different parts of the water cycle which includes: evaportation, condensation, and precipitation. The experiments will give the students a better understanding of the cycle that produces our everyday water.

Works Cited:

The Water Cycle. (n.d.). Kidzone - Fun Facts for Kids!. Retrieved March 6, 2011, from

water cycle for kids - Bing Images. (n.d.). Bing. Retrieved March 6, 2011, from

Created By: Danielle Frcasso and Nora Khadra