Water Cycle!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015
We have been busy learning about the water cycle!  Our first few FOSS investigations took us through different stages of the water cycle starting with condensation.  We built condensation chambers with cups and lids.  The kids simply put lids on the cup and placed into direct sunlight so that they could observe condensation forming on the lid.  Next, we used rock salt and ice mixed together to see how condensation forms on the outside of the cup.  This actually produced ice particles on the outside of the cup so it was a great way for the students to see how frost is formed on windshields, etc... This worked out really well and was a great visual.  Here is a picture of the template that I made that we used along with the investigation.
Just to reinforce the stages of the water cycle, we completed this close read of the water cycle.
Next, we made the model below of the water cycle.  In the past, I just had the students draw it, but this year I decided to get all fancy and made the template below.  The students completed close sentences for water cycle concepts and then used those to write under the flaps.  This was a great assessment tool!
The close reading article above with the model of the water cycle is available for purchase in my TPT store.  Click on the pic above to be taken there.

Convection Currents
Next, we learned about convection currents since we are leading up to learning about weather and changes in the atmosphere!  The students put ice cold water (that had been died with blue food coloring) using droppers into the bottom of a vial already filled with room temperature water.  One important thing the students needed to remember was to have a steady hand!! If they shook their hand or stirred up the mixture in any way, the food coloring would pretty much mix into the room temperature water (and the investigation's results would be a WASH!)  This was a great investigation because the cold, more DENSE water sinks to the bottom.  The kids actually see the convection current in action since the blue water is much MORE dense and sinks. Once we put a baggie of hot water next to the vial, the colder, more dense water at the bottom of the vial starts to heat up.  Once it rises to the top, the air in the room (cooler than the water) cools the water down once again and the blue water starts traveling down the other side.  The kids LOVED seeing this!! They completely could visualize the convection current that was taking place.  If I COMPLETELY confused you, take a look at the visual below, which gives a visual record of a convection current taking place!!! TRICKY concept to teach, but I think I finally understand it...(after teaching it a few years, HA!)

Click on the pic below to be taken to this FREE template where the students can draw and record a convection current!
How do you teach the water cycle and concepts leading up to weather?


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