Saturday, October 29, 2011
Mini Water Cycle Fun
When Pat was teaching 2nd grade, she used plastic rotisserie chicken containers to have each team create a mini water cycle (see photos on the left). Because 5th graders need to know the full water cycle including transpiration and run-off, I added a rock to represent a mountain, grass for the vegetation, and a small pond made from alluminum foil and filled with water. To power up the water cycle, normally you close the container and put it in the sun. Because it was rainy on the day we were doing this (Murphy's law!), I brought a large lamp from home that gave off a lot of heat and put the containers under the lamp. Soon we were observing evaporation, transpiration, condensation, precipitation, and run-off!
Another way to observe a water cycle in action is to create a Cloud in a Jar. This is a teacher demo since it involves boiling water and a lit match, but it's a fun way for students to observe how clouds form. You can find the directions for this activity in my Science File Cabinet on Teaching Resources. The directions include a set of follow-up questions to help students grasp the essential concepts.
What are your favorite activities to teach the water cycle? Please share!