12 Science: Water Cycle


Students will discover the properties of a water cycle using a plastic container with rocks, grass, dirt, or clover, and a tin foil pouch of water.


  1. Rotisserie chicken container.
  2. Small bag of rocks
  3. Aluminum foil
  4. Dirt from outside (children will gather this)
  5. Clover seeds (each child should receive about 10 clover seeds.  This is one bag with plenty of clover seeds included in the science supply box.

Activity Book: 

The Water Cycle terms we are discussing this week are:

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Read and discuss the terms in class.  Students DO NOT need to write out the definitions, a discussion will help students to start pondering the water cycle without the added stress of writing the terms.  Older/able students should write the terms on the lines to the left of their page.  They may copy them from the previous page.  Younger students may draw a simple picture or write the numbers 1, 2. 3, 4 above each arrow.

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Evaporation is the process by which water changes from a liquid to a gas or vapor. Evaporation is the primary pathway that water moves from the liquid state back into the water cycle as atmospheric water vapor. Studies have shown that the oceans, seas, lakes, and rivers provide nearly 90 percent of the moisture in the atmosphere via evaporation, with the remaining 10 percent being contributed by plant transpiration.

Transpiration is the release of water by leaves of plants.

FIRST ARROW:  students should draw droplets going up or the word evaporation.

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Condensation:  Condensation is the process by which water vapor in the air is changed into liquid water. Condensation is crucial to the water cycle because it is responsible for the formation of clouds.

SECOND ARROW:  students should draw a cloud or write Condensation.

Precipitation is water released from clouds in the form of rain, freezing rain, sleet, snow, or hail. It is the primary connection in the water cycle that provides for the delivery of atmospheric water to the Earth. Most precipitation falls as rain.

THIRD ARROW: students should draw rain, snow, sleet or all three coming down from clouds.

Collection:  When water falls back to earth as precipitation, it may fall back in the oceans, lakes or rivers or it may end up on land.  When it ends up on land, it will either soak into the earth and become part of the “ground water” that plants and animals use to drink or it may run over the soil and collect in the oceans, lakes or rivers

FOURTH ARROW: students should draw a lake or river.


Each student will set up their own mini water cycle by adding a rocks to represent a mountain or rocky terrain, grass for the vegetation, and a small pond made from aluminum foil and filled with water to represent collection.  Students should add a hand full of dirt from outside and be given a few clover seeds.  Clover sprouts within a few days, allowing the students to watch their terrarium actually grow a plant.

As you give each supply to your class, discuss the parts of the water cycle and ask questions.  For example, which part of the water cycle does the foil filled with water represent?  If they placed a large rock away from the foil will streams form as their containers “rain” on their rocks…. There are so many great conversations that can be started with each item that they place in their container.

Ask your students about other cycles that God created.  The cycle of night and day, life and death… Where does God discuss cycles in the bible?

Ecclesiastes 3New International Version (NIV)

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.

On a sunny day, the best way to power up the mini water cycle is to close the container and put it in the sun for several hours. As the water warms up, it evaporates and then condenses on the inside of the plastic lid. The water then “rains” on the environment inside the container and runs off to form little ponds.  If it is a cooler, non sunny day, let parents know that they can use a large lamp from home that gave off a lot of heat, and put the containers under the lamp. Soon they will observe evaporation, transpiration, condensation, precipitation, and run-off!

Hands-on Water Cycle Fun! Create a mini water cycle using a rotisserie chicken container and demonstrate cloud formation in a jar.



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