Learning About the Water Cycle
6, 7 and 8
Students will learn about the water cycle and consolidate their knowledge via activities with flashcards and a GCompris interactive simulation.
Assumed prior knowledge
Students are familiar with the concepts of seas, lakes, rivers, clouds, the Sun, etc.
Introduce your students to the cycle of water in your usual way ...
Bring a portable hot plate into the classroom and use it to heat up some water. Show students how the water completely evaporates after a while. Maybe point out the wisps of vapor as it boils. Hold the mirror or plate over the boiling water and the vapor will condense on the plate.
Ask students where they think the water went. Tell them it is in the air around us. Point to the plate ask them how they think the water went from the pan to the plate. Ask them why they think it condensed there.
You can use the flashcards to explain on the board how the sun heats up water in the sea, lakes and rivers and it evaporates into the air. The evaporated water turns into clouds. When the clouds are full of water and get cold, the water condenses and it rains.
Water from the rain accumulates into lakes and rivers. We take the water from lakes and rivers, pump into pipes and send it to our homes. We use it to wash, drink, etc. The left over water goes into the sewage system, then it is cleaned in water purifying plants and poured back into the rivers, lakes or the sea.
Or just draw it.
Divide students into groups of 3 or 4 and give them a set of flashcards to each group. Starting with the sun, get them to put the cards in order of what happens in the cycle. Each member of the group explains one card each to the rest of the group, running through the cycle.
The explanation phase could go like this:
Student 1 (points to the sun card): "The sun heats up the water." Student 2 (points to the evaporation card): "The water evaporates." Student 3 (points to the cloud card): "The evaporated water turns into clouds." Student 1 (points to the rain card): "When the clouds are full of water, it rains." etc.
Get one student from each group to come to the board and explain different stages of the cycle to the rest of the class. Ask students to validate what the speaker student is saying.
If you want to keep things simple, you can leave out the water pumps and water purifying stations for now and introduce them at a later stage,
Use GCompris for supervised autonomous practice.
- Click on the "Science" activities (pig holding test tubes and beakers).
- Click on the "Experiment" button on the left.
- From the list of activities, click on Watercycle.
This is not exactly a game, but more an interactive simulation. The activity starts with an explanation of the different stages in the water cycle.
When the explanation finishes, students have to help Tux the penguin get water to shower after a long day sailing his boat.
To do that, they have to click on the sun so it heats up the water in the sea. An animation starts showing the water evaporating into the sky.
Then they have to click on the clouds and make it rain, filling up a reservoir and a river.
They then have to click on the pumping station to pump water from the reservoir into the pipes that lead to a water tower.
Before Tux can shower though, they have to click on the water purification plant to make sure that any water that is left over gets properly cleaned before being poured back into the river.
Only then can they click on the tap in Tux's shower and Tux can wash.
Tux can shower several times, until the water in the reservoir and water tower has run out.
When that happens, they have to run through the whole cycle (sun
Students can draw the water cycle or make projects explaining the different phases of the water cycle and expand on the issues we have with water in the present (droughts due to climate change, pollution, lack of clean water in poor areas, etc.).