A model water cycle
This activity seeks to demonstrate the water cycle with the classroom.
Earth and Beyond
3.3 Students collect information that describes ways in which living things use Earth and the sun as resources.
4.1 Students recognise and analyse some interactions (including the weather) between systems of Earth and beyond.
Life and Living
3.3 Students describe some interactions (including feeding relationships) between living things and between living parts of the environment.
Reading and following a procedural text (the experiment).
A study of capacity and volume can be incorporated by measuring mass of soil, plant, container and volume of water added.
- heat source e.g. electrical hot plate
- Resource sheet 1 – The Water Cycle (PDF, 60K)*
- Resource sheet 2 – A Model Water Cycle (PDF, 70K)*
The experiment would be best done as a whole class demonstration by the teacher, as boiling water is involved.
Trialing the experiment before the lesson will enable you to ensure your desired outcome when performing the experiment with the class.
This experiment illustrates a closed system. All systems are part of a global closed system.
To have an alternative example of a water cycle within the classroom, create a terrarium using a large plastic bottle or fish tank.
- performing an experiment
Time: 30-45 minutes
Inform the students the aim of the activity is to recreate the water cycle through an experiment. The experiment will show evaporation, condensation and possibly precipitation. (see Resource sheet 1 (PDF, 60K)*).
Present the equipment and procedure for the experiment. Read through the procedure with the class. Ask students to predict what might occur. See Resource Sheet 2 (PDF, 70K)*.
Perform the experiment.
Discuss and explain when evaporation and condensation occurred in the experiment.
Ask students how they could demonstrate precipitation within the experiment. [Possibly adding ice to the top of the tray when droplets have formed on the base of the tray.]
Discuss what represents the rain [water droplets dripping from the top of the tray], the sun [the stove] and the forming of the clouds [water vapour as steam] in the experiment.
Individually, or in groups, students draw and label all elements and stages (evaporation etc) of the cycle and use arrows to show the water movement in the cycle.
Students could devise an experiment (or method to observe) to demonstrate that not all precipitation runs off the soil surface into rivers, creeks etc. "What else can happen to rainfall?"
Gathering information about student learning
Sources of information could include:
- results of student’s water cycle worksheet
- predictions given regarding the outcome of the experiment.
* Requires Adobe Reader
Last updated 3 September 2010