We had been learning all about Space and only started discussing the Water Cycle the last week of school in December. While engulfed in Pinterest (that is my teacher addiction), I found this awesome foldable over at The Inspired Teacher that would be perfect for their science notebook. It explains the water cycle not simply with a circle, but in an actual setting. I decided to make our setting a city street. The visuals really help to describe what we had read in our Science Resource text.
As a follow up to this foldable, we also did investigations on how precipitation and condensation are formed. First, we did the precipitation investigation. We took two cups filled with warm water and each cup had a different food coloring (one was blue and one was green). They then added lots of ice to one of the cups. Students illustrated in their science notebooks and wrote down any observations. They also jotted down any places they had seen condensation before. They listed windshields, mirrors, windows, glasses, frost on plants and roofs, cups with ice, etc. After about five minutes, the green cup formed many droplets on the outside of the cup. I asked students where they thought the water droplets had come from. Some said the droplets came from the atmosphere and some said it was from water in their cups though they couldn't explain how the water had escaped the inside of the cup. We decided to test the hypothesis that water had come from inside the cup. They then took a tissue paper and they concluded the tissue should turn green if the water came from inside. Of course the tissue did not turn green and it became very clear that it came from the atmosphere. (Yippee!) so even though we had already read and discussed that as long as the air stays warm, water will stay in the air as water vapor, but if the air cools (iced watered), molecules of water vapor will form tiny masses of liquid water---Condensation!
Our second investigation had to do with precipitation. Again we took a cup of warm water with food coloring and placed a dome lid on top filled with ice. Soon water droplets began to form on the bottom of the lid. Students were able to observe that as soon as the water droplets are big enough, they will begin to fall (rain/precipitation!). They were so excited about watching the droplets form and then "rain". Fun and learning-beautiful combination!
Here is a video on the Water Cycle that I found on YouTube. It is by Bill Nye the Science Guy. I love the way he explains very abstract/difficult concepts in a very easy and to understand format.
We will be doing other activities that I have found on Pinterest that complement our science curriculum. What activities do you do to help your students understand the water cycle?