In this set of activities adaptable for grades K-3, parents and educators will find ideas for teaching about the water cycle.These activities are designed to complement the BrainPOP Jr. Water Cycle topic page, which includes a movie, quizzes, online games, printable activities, and more.
Classroom Activities for Teaching the Water Cycle
Create your own water cycle! Have partners take a clear plastic container and fill it partway with soil. Then they can plant a seed or a small seedling or plant cutting. Water the plant and then cover the top with plastic wrap or with a clear plastic lid. Put the container in a sunny place and have students observe what happens. They may want to record, draw, or photograph their observations in a chart and measure their plants’ growth. Students should see condensation on the sides of the container.
Pollution and Plants
Remind your students that all living things rely on water in some way. How might water pollution affect living things? As an experiment, give pairs or small groups a small cup of water, a stalk of celery (with leafy tops), and food coloring. Have them add a few drops of food coloring into the water and add the stalk of celery. Students can record their observations on a chart. What might happen to plants if our groundwater got polluted?
Family and Homeschool Activities for Teaching the Water Cycle
Remind your child that if everyone in the United States each saved one gallon of water a day, we could save over 85 billion gallons of water in a year. Together, find ways to save one gallon of water. This can entail taking shorter showers, turning off the faucet while brushing teeth, flushing the toilet one time less, etc. Go through your home together and check for leaky faucets or pipes. Go online together and find websites that help you estimate your daily indoor water use. See if your efforts have diminished your use by one gallon or more, and learn how to reduce your water use even more. Your child can create a poster with helpful tips to post around the home or even the community.
Together with your child, record the amount of precipitation that falls in your area over a week, a month, or a season. Your child can create rain or snow gauges by putting a plastic ruler in a clear plastic cup. Together, measure the precipitation and create a bar graph to display your findings. Compare the amount of precipitation in your area with other areas, such as the Amazon, Death Valley, or the Arctic.