The Water Cycle

Essay by texy October 2004

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Water never stops moving. Snow and rain fall to the earth from clouds. The rain and melted snow run downhill into rivers and lakes, sometimes crashing over waterfalls. Eventually the water flows into the ocean. During evaporation, the water turns from liquid into gas, and moves from oceans and lakes into the atmosphere where it forms clouds. Then the cycle begins all over again.

The first experiment I did, built my own water cycle. You could use this experiment with elementary students. Materials needed are a jar, plants, bottle cap or shell of water, soil, sand, and small rocks. Fill the jar with small rocks, add sand on top of the rocks and put the soil on the sand. Then, add plants in the soil and place the bottle cap or shell of water in the jar. Last, place the jar in a sunny place and you can see how the water cycle works.

This project may take a few days depending on the amount of sun light. I was able to observe the water in the bottle cap evaporate because of the sun's heat. The vapor droplets form on the sides and under the lid of the jar, this is called condensation. After enough condensation had developed, the droplets began to fall inside the jar on the plants and soil, called precipitation. The second experiment I did can also be used to teach elementary students about the water cycle. I used a mug (of the drinking vessel variety), hot water, straight from the kettle, and a metal spoon. First, I filled the mug with the freshly boiled water and held a metal spoon above the liquid. Water droplets formed on the spoon, they get larger and finally drop back into the liquid. In conclusion, what I observed...