Science Lesson HELP! [Water Cycle]

Discussion in 'Fourth Grade' started by Hello.Mitra, Mar 5, 2009.

  1. Hello.Mitra

    Hello.Mitra Rookie

    Aug 10, 2008
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    Mar 5, 2009


    I am currently doing my service learning at the University of Central Florida and I am required to do my first lesson in science for fourth grade.

    I was handed a Science handbook from Harcourt School Publishers, Florida Edition and thought this would be a piece of cake; however, I am completely lost!!!

    I am doing Lesson 1 (What Is the Water Cycle?) of Chapter 8 (The Water Cycle) and do not know where to begin. Obviously I have had no experience with the teacher handbook, and am intimidated by all of the instructions.

    There is an "Investigate Activity" that requires a demonstration of making salt and fresh water solutions, then leaving them out for a day to see what happens to them; however, I am supposed to teach the lesson in one day. Am I supposed to just leave this activity out and/or substitute it for another one?

    I am also confused if I should have students read the sections before I come in, while I am in the classroom, or have them participate in Round Robin or Bump.

    Basically, I would appreciate any instruction or guiding me through a teacher handbook for science.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!
  3. Missy99

    Missy99 Connoisseur

    Jan 21, 2008
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    Mar 6, 2009

    Forget the books (except to glean important info!).

    And don't read the sections or have them read them aloud or silently. That will not capture or hold their interest. Get them involved!

    When I taught the water cycle over the course of a few days, I had no idea that my students would retain nearly 100 percent that info after more than four months. I know they did because we had so much fun learning!

    The first thing I did was to illustrate the cycle on the board for the kids, step by step (preciptiation, storage, evaporation, condensation, etc.) in a circle, so the kids could see it is a cycle.

    We then discussed the water cycle as we knew it from our experiences. We live on the coast, so we have fog, mist, rain, hurricanes, and so forth, to choose from for our discussion.

    The next day, we went to the science lab and boiled some water in a beaker that had been placed on a hot plate. Once the water began to boil, we placed a lid on the beaker to simulate an environment. We we able to see condensation and evaporation as caused by heat (in this case, the hot plate stood in for the sun, which is necessary for the cycle to exist. Putting the lid on the beaker stimulated the formation of clouds, which the kids loved. We then discussed our findings, and even pondered what would happen if there was no heat (sun). This demonstrates evaportaion, which

    We also did the water cycle dance, which involved us doing a trickle-down motion with our hands for precipitation, a trickle-up motion for evaporation, and a side-to-side motion for condensation. This mnemonic really helped the kids remember what was what.

    On the third day, the kids drew the water cycle (in a circle) on paper plates that had been flattened out. We punched holes in them and threaded yarn through so they could hang their artwork up for the other fourth-grade classes to admire.

    My students all made great grades on their unit test, which convinced me that kids really can learn and have fun at the same time.

    Perhaps you can adapt some of these ideas to fit within your time frame. Hope this has helped!
  4. goopp

    goopp Devotee

    Jun 18, 2006
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    Mar 8, 2009

    I agree, don't have them read the book...they will be VERY bored.
    After explaining the water cycle, have them make a water cycle in a bag. You will need a gallon ziploc bag for each child, sand, water, and a picture of the water cycle. Have them draw or trace the water cycle on their ziplock bag. (I do it sideways, but they can do it so that the zipper is at the top.) Put a small cup of sand in the bag. Put a capful of water in the bag and have them knead it until the sand is damp. Zip up the bag, leaving just a small hole, have them blow the bag full of air, then zip the rest of the way. Tape (at the top) to a window. (I use clear packing tape.) Within a few hours, they will be able to see the water cycle actually happening in their bags. Keep them up for a few days, then send them home. The students can keep the cyle going just by blowing up the bag again and putting it in a window at home.
  5. Hello.Mitra

    Hello.Mitra Rookie

    Aug 10, 2008
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    Mar 11, 2009

    Thank you for your replies!

    I started the lesson today by having the students make a water cycle in a bag. They hung them in the window, and were given a lab packet to collect data and diagram their observations.

    I am revisiting the classroom tomorrow to conduct the actual lesson. I made an interactive poster board of the water cycle with a Velcro water drop character I will use to emphasize on the text.

    Unfortunately, I do not want to deviate from the essence of the text, because the teacher informed me she usually conducts her science lesson by having them read. I will be asking them questions that allow them to come up and manipulate the board and sequencing cards that will assess their understanding of the water cycle and the text.

    Thanks again for your input!
  6. GD2BQN

    GD2BQN Comrade

    Aug 7, 2007
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    Mar 14, 2009

    There is a

    Water Cycle online activity from StudyJams that I showed my students. It's awesome. You should check it out!!
  7. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

    Jun 27, 2003
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    Mar 14, 2009

    I am not a textbook user either. It's a resource when needed. As part of my water cycle lesson I teach my kids the water cycle song:

    (Sung to the tune of She'll Be Coming Around the Mountain)

    Water travels in a cycle, yes it does
    (use pointer finger to make a big circle)

    Water travels in a cycle, yes it does
    (repeat finger circle)

    It goes up as evaporation
    (moves hands up to the sky

    Forms clouds as condensation
    (make a cloud overhead with arms)

    Then comes down as precipitation, yes it does!
    (sprinkle with fingers while bringing arms down in front of you)

    We do this all the time as a review (I even toss it out there now since it has been so long since we covered the water cycle).

    There are a lot of activities out there to practice the water cycle, all with different levels of difficulty and classroom management requirements. Wifh this being your first lesson, I wouldn't go too crazy with the activity. If you aren't comfortable with the activity they will know.

    Some of the pages I found:
    (has activity pages and color sheets) & Takes/WATER CYCLE BRACELET.pdf
    (Kids make a bracelet to model the water cycle - I do a similar activity)
    (an example of a PowerPoint that you could make to go with the bracelet activity)
    (great Tom Snyder page on the water cycle)

    Good luck and remember to have fun!

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