Outreach Workshop: Water Cycle
Look beyond the four stages of the water cycle and get a first-hand look at the many paths of a water molecule. Where does the rain come from and where does it go after it hits the ground? With activities and movement, students begin to answer many questions about water.
$300 - Includes two 50-minute workshops. Additional workshops $125 each.
Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations, Science v.1.09
- Demonstrate that water as a solid keeps its own shape (ice). (P.PM.01.21)
- Demonstrate that water as a liquid takes on the shape of various containers. (P.PM.01.22)
- Identify the sun as the most important source of heat which warms the land, air, and water of the Earth. (E.ES.01.11)
- Describe and compare weather related to the four seasons in terms of temperature, cloud cover, precipitation, and wind. (E.ES.01.22)
- Identify water sources (wells, springs, lakes, rivers, oceans). (E.FE.02.11)
- Describe how rain collects on the surface of the Earth and flows downhill into bodies of water (streams, rivers, lakes, oceans) or into the ground. (E.FE.02.21)
- Describe the major bodies of water on the Earth’s surface (lakes, ponds, oceans, rivers, streams). (E.FE.02.22)
- Identify natural resources (metals, fuels, fresh water, fertile soil, and forests). (E.ES.03.41)
- Describe ways humans ae dependent on the natural environment. (E.ES.03.51)
- Explain how matter can change from one state to another by heating and cooling. (P.CM.04.11)
- Explain the water cycle and describe how evaporation, transpiration, condensation, cloud formation, precipitation, infiltration, surface runoff, ground water, and absorption occur within the cycle. (E.ES.07.81)
- Analyze the flow of water between the components of a watershed, including surface features (lakes, streams, rivers, wetlands) and groundwater. (E.ES.07.82)
Water Cycle Pre-visit Vocabulary
Atmosphere: The envelope of gas or air surrounding the earth.
Cloud: A visible collection of liquid water or ice condensed in the atmosphere.
Collection: The pooling together of precipitation into bodies of water.
Condensation: The process by which water vapor clumps together to form liquid water.
Evaporation: The process by which liquid water is converted to water vapor.
Molecule: The smallest particle of any substance that retains the same characteristics.
Non-porous Surface: A surface that does not absorb any water.
Porous Surface: A surface, such as a sponge, that readily soaks up water.
Precipitation: Rain, sleet, hail or snow falling from the atmosphere to the earth.
Water Body: A large pool of water. For instance, an ocean, river, lake, etc.
Water Cycle: The natural cycle controlling the distribution of water throughout the earth. This involves four main processes: evaporation, condensation, precipitation and collection.
Water Vapor: Water in its gaseous state.
Water Cycle Post-visit Activity
Post-visit activities provide your students with an opportunity to review workshop-presented concepts and introduce related subjects. Below you will find a classroom extension activity and a list of suggested resources for further exploration. We hope that you enjoyed our Outreach Hands-On Workshop and we look forward to visiting your students again!
Hands-on Activity: Build Your Own Terrarium
- 1 large, clear tupperware container (at least 1 L) with lid per student, group or class.
- Potting Soil
- Powdered Charcoal
- Small, slow growing plants or seeds
- Add about 1 inch of gravel to the bottom of your container.
- Add about ½ inch of charcoal above the gravel.
- Add about 2–3 inches of potting soil.
- Carefully place 2 or 3 small plants or seeds into your soil.
- Pour in just enough water to moisten the soil.
- With a pencil poke a few small holes in the lid.
- Securely fasten your lid on top of your container.
- Place your terrarium in the sunlight.
You have just created a terrarium. This is a closed and self-contained system. If you are building one terrarium for the class, feel free to make it larger. Watch carefully as the day passes. You should notice that inside your terrarium, water will evaporate from the soil, condense on the lid, precipitate down onto the plants and collect in the soil. This cycle will repeat over and over again. You shouldn’t have to add any water. If students are making their own, have them keep a scientific journal about what they notice.
The gravel acts as a drainage system. Without the gravel, roots could end up sitting in water and rotting. The charcoal serves a similar purpose as the gravel. It helps with drainage and keeps roots healthy. The plant grows in the potting soil. If you notice mold forming, open your container and either transfer your plants to a new terrarium or put them in a regular pot.
Relf, Pat and Carolyn Bracken. The Magic School Bus Wet All Over: A Book About the Water Cycle. Scholastic Paperbacks. 1996.
McKinney, Barbara and Michael S. Maydak. A Drop Around the World. Dawn Publications (CA). 1998.
Royston, Angela. The Life and Times of a Drop of Water: The Water Cycle. Raintree. 2006.
Olien, Rebecca. The Water Cycle (First Facts, Water All Around). Capstone Press. 2005.