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Thirteen Ed Online
Lesson Plans
Water, Water, Everywhere and Always on the Move
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students

Procedures for Teachers is divided into four sections:
Prep -- Preparing for the Lesson.
Steps -- Conducting the Lesson.
Extensions -- Additional Activities.
Tips -- Managing Resources and Student Activities.


Student Prerequisites:
Students should be aware that there is a limited amount of water on the earth. It is continuously cycled from land to air to water sources. This continuous movement of water is the water cycle. Every life form depends on the water cycle.

For the teacher:
  • A hot plate
  • Two 2-qt. metal saucepans
  • 1 qt. of warm water
  • 6-8 ice cubes
  • A pot holder
For each student/group of students:
  • A medium-sized jar with a screw-on lid
  • Small stones
  • Sand, soil, green beans or small plants, a shell or large bottle cap, water
Computer Resources:
You will need at least one computer with Internet access to complete this lesson. While many configurations will work, we recommend:

-- Modem: 28.8 Kbps or faster.
-- Browser: Netscape Navigator 3.0 or above or Internet Explorer 3.0 or above.
-- Macintosh computer: System 7.0 or above and at least 16 MB of RAM.
-- IBM-compatible computer: 386 or higher processor with at least 16 MB of RAM, running Windows 3.1. Or, a 486/66 or Pentium with at least 16 MB of RAM, running Windows 95.

For more information, visit What You Need to Get Connected in wNetSchool's Internet Primer.

The following sites should be bookmarked:

  •  The Water Cycle

    This site has a good diagram and explanation of the water cycle.

  •  Encyclopedia of Water Terms

    This site has an excellent dictionary of water cycle vocabulary.


    Time Allotment:
    A minimum of 3 class periods of approximately 50 minutes each.

  • Students will make a list of words that relate to water and decide which word they think no other student will have. Compile these words into one list. Add any words not given that are necessary to the study of the water cycle. Each student should be assigned one word. Have students complete the Vocabulary Worksheet found in Organizers for Students. Finished worksheets can be gathered together to create a class vocabulary book. Terms to define can be found at The Encyclopedia of Water Terms (, or in a dictionary or encyclopedia.

    Possible vocabulary terms: atmosphere, gravity, condense, humidity, precipitation, evaporate, condensation, cloud, evaporation, water cycle, cool air, dust, water vapor, infiltration, transpiration.

  • The class as a whole should look at Remember the Water Cycle ( Discuss the water cycle diagram and the accompanying text. Also follow the links to "Tips for protecting the water cycle" and "What we can do."

  • As a demonstration, the teacher can show the water cycle in a simple way. Pour warm water into one 2-qt metal saucepan and place it on a hot plate. Heat until water vapor rises. Place ice cubes in another 2-qt metal saucepan. Hold the pan with the pot holder about 8 cm above the pan on the hot plate. Ask students to describe what is happening. (As water vapor rises from the hot water, it condenses on the bottom of the ice-filled pan. Then it drips back into the hot water where the cycle starts again.)

  • Distribute The Water Cycle Worksheet found in Organizers for Students. Have students go to The Water Cycle ( They should use the information found on the site to complete the worksheet. Students can complete the worksheet in a computer lab in small groups, or as a class, if necessary.

    Water Cycle Worksheet Answer Key: 1 - 97%; 2 - lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, ground; 3 - liquid, gas; 4 - opposite; 5 - rainfall; 6 - infiltration; 7 - transpiration.

  • Students will create their own water cycle in a terrarium. Layer the bottom of a jar with: stones, one centimeter deep; sand, to cover stones; and soil, about ten centimeters deep. Place the one or two green beans in the soil -- roots and sprouts will form in a couple of days. Alternatively, create an arrangement of small plants, such as grasses and weeds, and cover the roots with soil. Fill a shell or bottle cap with water to represent a lake, and place in the jar. Screw the jar lid on tightly. Find a shady place to keep the terrariums. After a day or so, students will observe that the water has evaporated and condensed on the lid. It then falls back into the soil and lake, evaporates into the air, and the cycle starts all over again.

  • As an assessment, have students draw the water cycle and label its parts. They should explain each part of the cycle on a separate sheet of paper. Optionally, students could use a software application with a slideshow feature (like ClarisWorks, HyperStudio, PowerPoint, or KidPix) to create a presentation of the water cycle.


    Language arts: Have students imagine how it would feel to live in a drought-stricken area. They must conserve as much water as possible. Have them describe what steps they would take to conserve water, and describe their feelings as the drought continues.


    One Computer in the Classroom
    If you have access to one computer in your classroom, you can organize your class in several ways. Divide your classroom into two groups. Instruct one of the groups to do paper research while the second group is working on the computer. Bring in books, encyclopedias, etc., from the library for the group doing paper research. Lead the group working at the computer through an Internet search or allow the students in the class to take turns. (It may be efficient to have bookmarks ready for the students before they start working on the computer.) When the groups have finished working have them switch places. If you have a big monitor or projection facilities, you can view Internet sites together as a class. Make sure that every student in your class can see the screen. Go to the Web sites and review the information presented there. Again, bookmark and/or print the pages that you think are helpful for reference later.

    Several Computers in the Classroom
    Divide your class into small groups. Groups can do Internet research using pages you have bookmarked. Group members should take turns navigating the bookmarked sites.

    Using a Computer Lab
    A computer center or lab space, with a computer-to-student ratio of one to three, is ideal for doing Web-based projects. Generally, when doing Web-based research, it is helpful to put students in groups of three. This way, students can help each other if problems or questions arise. It is often beneficial to bookmark sites for students ahead of time.

    Submit a Comment: We invite your comments and suggestions based on how you used the lesson in your classroom.

    Overview | Procedures for Teachers | Organizers for Students