Acting out the Water Cycle
This activity reinforces student’s understanding of the water cycle through the use of a role play. It will reinforce the concepts of evaporation, condensation and precipitation and provides the option of introducing the concepts of run-off, transpiration and groundwater.
Earth and Beyond
3.3 Students collect information that describes ways in which living things use the 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.
Studies of Society and Environment
Systems, Resources and Power
SRP 3.1 Students make inferences about interactions between people and natural cycles, including the water cycle.
Student’s written explanation of each stage of the cycle. (optional)
Drama through the role play. (participation and enjoyment)
Student’s statement (written or oral) of why the cycle is a cycle.
- An open space arranged into 4 separate areas to allow for:
- a lake, whose boundaries could be outlined using chalk etc.
- students to role play clouds in an elevated position e.g standing on desks or a platform
- students to role play a forest
- students to role play a river.
- water containers/buckets
- labels on cards (evaporation, condensation, precipitation, run-off, transpiration and groundwater)
- Resource Sheet 3 – Acting out a water cycle (PDF, 72K)*
A table of roles and role play action for demonstrating the water cycle is shown below:
|Student’s roles||Role play action|
trees and other vegetation
students stand roughly together acting like trees with the tree or vegetation label
creek, river or lake
students lie together possibly covered with a blue sheet/cloth, simulating a water coarse with the creek, river or lake label
students stand on a platform or desks with the clouds label
soil or the ground
students lie under a cover (blanket, piece of plastic green or brown in colour) with the soil or ground label nearby
Buckets of water will represent the states of water in this role play. Students will take on the role of clouds, vegetation, and water bodies to demonstrate the movement of water within the cycle. Having students verbalise what they are doing when passing the water between themselves will reinforce their understanding of evaporation, precipitation, and transpiration.
- the lake says to the clouds, "Here you go clouds, careful or it will all precipitate."
- the ground/soil says to the trees, "Have a nice long drink, you’ll need it."
- the clouds say to the ground/soil, "Take this water as I can’t hold it any more."
Discussion with the students could generate other possible statements that could be said between role play members. Resource Sheet 3 helps illustrate the students role playing the water cycle.
This activity will require the students to work closely and cooperatively in performing their roles. Careful setting out of the open space and a practise at dramatising being a river and a forest will ensure a successful role play.
Prior discussion and clarification of the aims of the role play and a revision of the water cycle before attempting the role play is advisable
Time: 30-45 minutes
Revise the water cycle. Outline the aim of the role play and list and elaborate the roles. Go over the narration/statements to be made during the role play. Divide the class into their roles, who will be the forest, river, clouds etc.
Move to the open space and position students in the designated areas for each element of the water cycle. Perform the role play, discussing the stages of the cycle.
On completion of the role play, review the role of each element and the cycling of water between each element.
Discuss how our lives would be affected if an element in the cycling of water was altered, e.g. more/less precipitation or evaporation occurred.
Optionally, students record the stages within the cycle and add an explanation of what is occurring at each stage of the cycle.
Students explain (written or orally) why the water cycle is a cycle.
Students can expand the role play to include demonstrations of groundwater and run-off within the cycle.
Gathering information about student learning
Sources of information could include:
- anecdotal notes or checklist of student’s ability to explain the stages of the cycle and why it is called a cycle
- observations about student participation and attitudes during the role play.
* Requires Adobe Reader
Last updated 3 September 2010