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3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th


Science, Chemistry, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Types

  • Lesson Plan, two 45-minute class periods
  • Presentation Slides
  • Assessment
  • Worksheet
  • Video, 1 minute, 24 seconds, CC
  • Video, 3 minutes, CC
  • Video, 6 minutes, 31 seconds
  • Video, 2 minutes, 1 second, CC
  • Activity - Classroom

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PDF, Microsoft Powerpoint, YouTube Video

Exploring the Water Cycle

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  • In this lesson, students will learn about the water cycle through demonstrations, experiments, and videos that make the abstract concept more concrete.
  • Students will demonstrate their learning with a creative project depicting a water droplet's journey through the water cycle.
Teaching Tips


  • The 5-E format of this lesson plan ensures maximum engagement from students.
  • The pre- and post-assessments included make it easy for teachers to measure the effectiveness of the lesson.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should understand the different states of matter and know the terms evaporation, molecule, condensation, and particle.
  • The lesson gives Glogster as an option for the final project. However, Glogster may be unavailable.
  • If you read the extension article with students, make sure students are familiar with the Big Bang.
  • Teachers can use the Contact Us link at the bottom of the Precipitation Education webpage to get answer keys to the materials.


  • Have younger students or kinesthetic learners pretend to be water droplets in the water cycle, making different motions or at different speeds for each stage.
  • Older students can discuss the importance of understanding the processes demonstrated and protecting plants and natural ecosystems for mitigating water issues related to climate change.
  • Classes that created rain gauges can make math connections by graphing the amount of precipitation over a month or a rainy week. Connect it to science labs through practice measuring the meniscus in graduated cylinders.
  • English language learners would benefit from doing the demonstrations as hands-on activities.
Scientist Notes

This resource is from the CLEAN collection. “The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness.”

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • MS-ESS2-1 Develop a model to describe the cycling of Earth's materials and the flow of energy that drives this process.
      • MS-ESS2-4 Develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth's systems driven by energy from the sun and the force of gravity.
      • 5-ESS2-1 Develop a model using an example to describe ways the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and/or atmosphere interact.
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • 3-ESS3-1 Make a claim about the merit of a design solution that reduces the impacts of a weather-related hazard.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • MS-ETS1-2 Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • MS-LS2-1 Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.3.7 Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).
    • Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.4 Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6-8 texts and topics.
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.3.3 Ask and answer questions about information from a speaker, offering appropriate elaboration and detail.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.10.3-5 Explain why environmental characteristics vary among different world regions.
  • Related Resources


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