Lesson plan

Water cycle

Water cycle model, water cycle bracelet and worksheet each show the stages of the water cycle (ocean, evaporation, water vapour, condensation, cloud, precipitation). If outdoors, include posting game to learn the water cycle words.
Science content
Earth/Space: Water cycle, Water conservation (2)

If using the worksheet (attached, and image), students write the words in the correct spaces.
With extra time they can colour the worksheet.

If the lesson is outdoors, start with asking about water around us - what do students see/know about?
From their starting point, ask where that water came from, then work backwards ('where did that water come from?'), to include all stages of the water cycle, writing/drawing up each stage as it is added. Students may well include water from taps and in man-made structures. These are part of the water cycle in a city.

Relate the states of matter to the water cycle: water in the lakes and oceans evaporates (liquid to gas) and goes into the air. When it gets high enough it cools and condenses (gas to liquid) to form clouds. When the liquid drops are heavy enough, they make raindrops that fall as rain or snow (precipitation). The snow on mountains will melt if it is warm enough, as we see on our Northshore mountains every year.
Optional side activity: States of matter in water.

Do a selection of these activities:

Water cycle model:
Set up the optional water cycle model while students are filling in their worksheets. Look at the water cycle model together when all the worksheets are done. Relate what is happening in the model to the steps of the water cycle.

Water cycle bracelet:
If the water cycle bracelet is included in the lesson:
Students use the bracelet materials to make a short bead chain and tape it next to the words on the worksheet.
Alternatively, add a dot of colour next to each word, making sure the colours used are the same as the bead colours in the bracelets.

Erosion activity:
The erosion activity models what happens as the water flows down mountainsides to the ocean.

Posting game:
Active posting game recognizing and matching water cycle words.

Research project:
Look at old maps to find out where the original streams flowed, which are now under the concrete of the city. For Vancouver, see https://www.hiddenhydrology.org/vancouvers-secret-waterways/

Suggested activity order:
Show the starting materials of the water cycle model to students, and tell them that it will be set up on their table group.
Hand out worksheets (attached document), which students fill in while the water cycle models are being set up.
Once all the water cycle models are dripping 'rain', discuss what is happening in the models and how it shows the water cycle that they have on their worksheet.
The model is different from the real water cycle because it only goes around once, unlike the real water cycle which goes round and round for ever (it is a cycle!).
Optionally take a body break.
Make water cycle legend for the worksheets and water cycle bracelets together. Students that get done fast can colour the worksheet.
Taste the fresh and salt water in the models.


Optional activity to leave with the students:
We have made models of the water cycle. Now we’ll set up a part of the real water cycle. Ask how an evaporation dish is part of the real water cycle. Set up an evaporation dish
What happens to water? It cycles around. We drink water molecules that Einstein drank!
Vancouver's Old Streams map by Vancouver Aquarium (with Elsie Roy lessons)

Idea for lesson structure: Worksheet words (and colouring if done fast), while models are running on table groups.
Take a body break (while distributing beads).
Water cycle bracelet legend altogether, then build bracelets (maybe with fewer beads).
Taste waters.

Attached documents
Grades taught
Gr 1
Gr 2
Gr 3