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The Water Cycle- Teacher Tips

The Water Cycle: A Demonstration
Activity 1.2

Teacher Tips

Level 1
30 minutes

This activity will introduce the concept of the water cycle by using a simple demonstration.

Materials Needed:

  • Clear plastic jar with lid (or smaller container that fits on top of jar)
  • Hot water
  • Bag of ice
  • Food coloring
How to:

Pour hot water into plastic jar, filling it about 1/3 of the way. Add several drops of food coloring to simulate dissolved material.Place inverted lid (or smaller plastic container) on jar and fill with ice. Observe and discuss what is going on.

Things to look for:

  • Steam rising from warm water (clouds)
  • Drops forming on bottom side of lid (rain)
Discussion questions

1. What happens to the water when it gets heated up?

2. What effect does the ice have on the water?

3. Discuss the water cycle as it occurs in nature.

4. How is this demonstration similar?/different?

5. What are the three states of water?

6. Where does most of the precipitation fall in Colorado? What form is it in?


1. Direct students to the Colorado Precipitation Map and ask them to identify Boulder County and the Boulder Creek Watershed. (Boulder County is second from the top in the middle, with the colors blue, green, yellow and red from left to right. This will provide good background for the activity on Water Budget (coming in the Fall 1999).

2. Have students draw pictures of the water cycle or make a water cycle

3. Expand water cycle discussion by using Project WET activities: Imagine!
(157-160) or The Incredible Journey (161-165).

Science Standards

#4.3 Students know major sources of water, its uses, importance, and cyclic
patterns of movement through the environment.

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Last Page Update - Tuesday December 27, 2005