I would venture to say that of all the science topics that I teach the water cycle has the MOST resources. If you search for the water cycle on TpT- HUNDREDS of resources will come up at all different levels. This year, I truly believe that I have finally found peace with the way that I teach the water cycle. So many times I think we second guess ourselves (or at least I do) and the way that we present certain topics. However, this year I am very happy with how my lesson on the water cycle turned out.
How I Started the Lesson
I am a huge fan of scavenger hunts and I especially like to introduce a topic using these. The one I have used for the past three years for this topic is great. It has all the key information and a secret code for students to figure out.
At the beginning of class, I gave the students the scavenger hunt paper and then explained that the cards were all around the room (even under chairs and so forth). I had a prize for the student who found all the information first. Then, once everyone understood the goal I set them loose to run around the room. They had a BLAST!!
Once everyone finished gathering the information, I passed out highlighters and explained we would be using the information they just gathered as our notes. We then read through the information and highlighted key vocabulary. I did have to add a note about groundwater and how that led to infiltration because it is a keyword in our Georgia Standards.
To further expose students to the key vocabulary and how the water cycle works we quickly read through a reader’s theater. I don’t know about you, but my kids HATE reading from the book. However, if I pull out a reader’s theater they volunteer like crazy. Almost every student wants a part!
Doodle Notes – OF COURSE!!
After we read through the notes and found out information about key vocabulary. Students completed a set of doodle notes. They had information to fill-in using their notes and a color code to follow.
At the End of Class – Day #1
At the end of this class period, students completed an exit ticket. It was an old one from what my partner teacher called “The Good Book.” It is an Earth Science book by Carson-Delossa.
Now my lab is a bit different. Instead of making a cloud in the bottle or something like that I have my students go through the water cycle.
First, we read a book together as a class. The book we read is called Drop Around the World. I give each student a different page to look at. They have to tell where the drop journeyed, what step of the water cycle he went through and evidence for how they knew. The cool thing about this book is on every page the drop is hidden somewhere in the picture. It is a big hit!
After we discuss the book student receive their journey paper and I explain they will now be taking a journey as a water droplet.
Around the room, I set up stations for different stops along the water cycle. Students start at one point and roll the dice to journey to the next stop. Sometimes they get stuck in one place and sometimes they go to twelve different places. This experience helps students to see that the cycle is not always in three perfect steps (Students collect beads at each location and make a bracelet to represent their journey – totally optional).
When their journey ends students write the story of their journey. These are always super-fun to read.
Around the Room Circuit
This year to end the lab day students completed an around the room circuit about the water cycle. They did great on this assignment!
Basically, students start with any question in the room and each answer leads them to a new question. At the end, they should end up back where they started. It is great because students can check themselves based on the path they take.
All in all, I loved my lesson and I really think my students learned the information in a fun and interactive way! Do you want to use some of the ideas I mentioned? If so, just click on any image to be linked to that resource! Happy Teaching!!