My name is Heather Hatton-Key. I use this lesson plan while teaching first graders. It could also be used for students in lower grades or higher grades. The teacher would simply need to change the explanation and details about the water cycle process depending on the level of the targeted students.
1. One cotton ball for each student
2. One pie pan filled half way with cold water
1. Give each student a cotton ball. Ask the students to pretend that each cotton ball is a cloud.
2. Ask students to describe what the cotton ball feels like. Prompt the students to describe the texture, density, and weight.
3. Ask the students to gather around the water. Inform the students that the water represents the "ocean." Instruct the students to place the "cloud" right above the water. At this point, the teacher would explain the properties of evaopartion. The cotton ball will begin to soak up the water.
4. Make sure the students observe the "cloud" filling up with water. Explain to the students that a cloud would collect the evaporated water in the same way. Prompt students to describe how the cotton ball feels now. Discuss how the cotton ball feels different than it previously felt.
5. The cotton ball will begin to drip water. Explain to the students that it is now "raining"! Make sure to point out the fact that the water is returning where it started.
6. Explain the properties of water again. After the students have witnessed the water returning to the pan, they are more likely to understand that it is a continuous cycle.
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http://rpsec.usca.edu/Classwork/731sp2006/Lesson/Hatton-Key/Plan.html (February, 2006)
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