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Exploring the Water Cycle

National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Global Precipitation Measurement

In this lesson, students will learn about the water cycle and how energy from the sun and the force of gravity drive this cycle.

This learning activity takes at least two 45 minute class periods.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Climate Literacy

This Activity builds on the following concepts of Climate Literacy.

Click a topic below for supporting information, teaching ideas, and sample activities.

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • The teacher's guide is thorough and also notes that the demonstrations may take a lot of preparation time outside of class.
  • This resource is easily amendable to make all of the demonstrations have hands-on components.
  • There are lots of other resources available on the NASA website.
  • Student capture sheet could be adapted for elementary students.
  • Answer keys are available upon request.

About the Science

  • This extensive resource goes into detail on the water cycle.
  • It uses several reputable (NASA) resources to describe how the water cycle works. There are several videos that discuss the water cycle and its relationship to humans.
  • There are six demos (that can be made into hands-on activities) that show various phases of the water cycle.
  • There is emphasis on the role of gravity in the cycle.
  • There is some information on the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) satellite that NASA launched in 2014. [Some of the conversation discusses the satellite in future tense but it has since been launched.]
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

About the Pedagogy

  • This resource has a variety of learning materials that are suited for all types of student learners, ELLs, as well as numerous grade levels.
  • There are several instances where the material can be made simpler for younger kids, or more detailed for middle-schoolers.
  • There is a pre-assessment and post-assessment of the students knowledge.
  • There is a PowerPoint that discusses the background material with several NASA videos embedded in it (with notes and direct links) and a worksheet that students follow along with.
  • The teacher is assumed to be doing the demos but there are several notes of how the demos could be modified for the students' participation.
  • There is a small list of projects for the students to take what they have learned and demonstrate it independently.
  • The material is engaging and allows students to not only learn about the water cycle but also to experience it first hand with the demonstrations.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • This resource has downloadable video options.
  • One of the projects suggests using Glogster, this requires a sign-up and has limited use in the free version.
  • There are some typos in the Powerpoint and guides (ex: slide 7 in Powerpoint).

Related URLs These related sites were noted by our reviewers but have not been reviewed by CLEAN

Global Precipitation Measurement

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