Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Exploring The Water Cycle

While we were Learning about Clouds my son asked about rain as he wanted to know where it comes from. So we talked about the water cycle. Here are some of the learning activities we did as we learned about collection, evaporation, condensation and precipitation.

We began learning about the water cycle by reading books. We absolutely love the The Magic School Bus books and read Wet All Over (about the water cycle) and Kicks Up A Storm (about weather). After reading, we watched the DVD, Wonders of Weather, which is based on the books. We also enjoyed How The Weather Works which is a pop-up book and full of information.

The Reservoir
We visited our local reservoir to observe the part of the water cycle where water is collected and stored before it comes to our home, runs out to sea or gets evaporated. 

Evaporation Experiments
To help my son understand the process of evaporation we conducted two different experiments. Using three cups, we filled one up with tap water (liquid), another cup with ice cubes (solid) and the last cup with hot water (gas-stream). He was able to visually see how water could change from a liquid into a gas (stream) by heating it, just as the sun heats water in the reservoir and ocean. We briefly talked about how liquid can change into a solid like ice.  

We continued exploring evaporation further by making a small puddle of water. We outlined the puddle with chalk then watched how it evaporated slowly by the heat of the sun. My son stated that he couldn't see the water vapour like he could the stream but he could see that it was disappearing.

Water Cycle Experiment
The last experiment we did was to observe the complete water cycle. I found this experiment here at Once Upon a Family. They wrote a great post about how they conducted this experiment. Basically we put dirt from our garden into a bowl and placed a glass cup in the middle of the dirt. We then put plastic wrap over top of the bowl and used a rubber band to hold it in place. We placed a coin on the plastic to allow for the condensation to gather. We positioned our bowl in the sun and within a few minutes we saw evaporation and condensation taking place. We were then able to see how the sun was heating the water that was in the dirt, evaporating it onto the plastic where the water condensate. Once there was enough water there, just like a full cloud does, it then precipitated into the cup for collection. 

Experiment Recording
After we finished the experiment, my son drew this diagram of what happened and labelled each part of the experiment.

Visual Arts
Rather than doing a worksheet (boring!) to record our learning about the water cycle, we decided to get crafty and make our own. Using an old cardboard box, we traced around a plate to make a circle for a sun then painted it. We added wooden pegs onto the sun as well. We cut out the shape of a storm cloud (cumulonimbus) and painted it. We used some old egg cartons to represent water vapour and painted these white.

Once our painting had dried, we hung our cloud, sun and water vapour in our learning room. We added some blue paper for precipitation. We labelled the items (sun, cloud, rain and water vapour) then labelled the process (evaporation, condensation and precipitation).

If you would like to see more activity ideas on the water cycle and weather, visit my pinterest board.

This blog post has been linked up with:
Discover and Explore
Poppins Book Nook 

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