Objective: To familiarize students with the water cycle

Materials: Copy of "I Am Part of the Water Cycle" check list, chairs

Background: There are about 326 million cubic miles (1.4 billion cubic kilometers) or water on the earth (in each cubic mile, there over a million gallons of water). Water moves and changes form, but the amount on Earth stays the same. The water you showered in today may have irrigated Egyptian fields centuries ago.

On average, 4,200,000,000,000 gallons of precipitation fall on the U.S. daily - 70% returns to the air as evaporation or is used by plants where it falls; 24% falls into the sea; 6% is used by humans for industry, agriculture, and city uses. The amount of precipitation that falls is distributed very unevenly over the earth. Parts of northern India, for example, receive 400 inches of rain a year, while arid areas in Chile receive no rain for years.

All living things are made mostly of water. A human body is about 65% water. An elephant is about 70% water. A potato is about 80% water and a tomato is about 95% water.

Each student gets a copy of the "I Am Part of the Water Cycle" check list and places a check by the items they have participated in. The last three lines on the sheet may be filled with other items not listed that the student has participated in.

Form a circle with chairs, with one less than the number of participants. One person begins by standing in the middle. The other students are seated in the circle. The person in the middle reads one item checked on their list. Anyone with the same item checked must stand up and switch chairs, at least 3 chairs away. (If no one else has the same item checked, the person in the middle reads additional items, until someone else has the same item.) The middle person tried to sit down as the others are switching. Hopefully, a different person will be left standing. The game continues in the same manner.

Close the game with each student sharing one item that they have participated in.

Establish a current event corner in your classroom about water cycle happenings. Clippings and stories might include weather related items, water pollution items, acid rain/land degradation, cloud seeding, etc.

Have students put together a water cycle newspaper. Include water cycle cartoons, advice columns, sports, etc. Distribute the finished paper throughout the school. After distribution, have students do a video news broadcast based on their newspaper.

Direct students to make a list of five things they can do to conserve water or become more active in their families water cycle. Post the list in the classroom, as well as send home with the student. At the end of one week, check each student as see if they've been able to affect any of the changes they listed.
Grade Level:

Subject Areas:
Science, Reading

SD Standards for 4th grade:

4.R.1.1; 4.R.1.2


Observation, Analysis, Communication, Comparison

Prior Preparation: Make copies of the "I Am Part of the Water Cycle" checklist to distribute to students. Invite your class to watch "Take A Look - Rain" or another video to give students an overview of the water cycle.

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