Science - 4th Grade
Standard 1 Objective 2
Students create their own water cycle story and storyboard and teach what they've learned to a younger audience.
Water Dance, by Thomas Locker; ISBN 0-15-216396-4
Where the River Begins, by Thomas Locker; ISBN 0-14-054595-6
The Earth Science Book -- Activities for Kids, by Dinah Zike; ISBN 0-471-57166-0
Daily Warm-ups -- Earth Science, by Walch Publishing; ISBN 0-8251-4454-X
Picture-Perfect Science Lessons, by Karen Rohrich Ansberry and Emily Morgan; ISBN 0- 87355-243-1
More Picture-Perfect Science Lessons, by Karen Ansberry and Emily Morgan; ISBN 978-1- 93353-112-0
Singing in our Garden, CD, Banana Slug Band; ISBN 680598 00272 5
What's the Weather, Puppets - 6 hand puppets that facilitate this activity. Oriental Trading, Hands on Fun Catalog, Summer 2008 MV-58/1017, pg. 86.
Water is such a basic life sustenance that it is easy to take for granted. Water is a substance that can naturally occur in three different forms, solid, liquid, and gas. The solid form of water can be found in the glaciers and ice caps on the opposite poles of Earth. We are most familiar with water in its liquid form. We see it in our lakes, rivers, streams, and oceans. Water vapor rises into the atmosphere and condenses back into a liquid through clouds, fog, and mist. The water then falls to Earth in the form of rain, hail, sleet, and snow to nourish our planet and sustain life.
Much of Earth's water is in constant motion, and the water cycle describes the continuous movement of water on, above, and below the surface of Earth. The water cycle is truly a "cycle," with no beginning or end. The vocabulary words, evaporation, condensation, and precipitation describe the continuous movement of water into the air and ground, onto and over land and back.
This activity will take 2-4 class periods, depending on how involved the students are in creating the final product.
1. Use science process and thinking skills
3. Understand important science concepts and principles.
4. Communicate effectively using science language and reasoning.
Invitation to Learn
With a permanent marker write Evaporation, Condensation, and Precipitation around the perimeter of a Frisbee®. Write WATER CYCLE in the center of the disc. Have students stand in a circle. Toss the Frisbee® to a student. Have the student recite the steps of the water cycle from where their hand caught the disc. For example, if the disc is caught on the word "Evaporation," the student will tell what happens when water evaporates and relate the next steps in the cycle after evaporation, which are condensation and precipitation. This can be repeated as often as desired. For the second round, play the song "Water Cycle Boogie" and toss the disc around the circle. When a student catches the disc on a water cycle "step" they will act out the word. For example, if the disc is caught on "precipitation," the student will indicate a downward motion. If it is caught on "evaporation," the student will indicate an "up" motion. To add to their movement have the students go "round and round" in the circle as they toss the Frisbee® back and forth to each other.
Curriculum Extensions/Adaptations/ Integration
Science - Cover a medium sized box with question marks. Put a container of water inside the box. Invite students to ask questions so they can determine what is inside. Instruct students to ask three types of questions:
They may want to ask specific questions like, "Is it a leaf?" or "Is it a spider?" right off the bat. The purpose of asking the above questions is to help the students gather information so they can make an educated inference about what is in the mystery box, not a lucky guess.
A student/teacher exchange might go like this:
Student: "Can it move?"
Teacher: "Yes, it can move."
Student: "Does it have six or more legs?"
Teacher: "No, it does not have six or more legs."
Student: "Does it have four legs?"
Teacher: "No, it doesn't have four legs."
Student: "Does it have legs?"
Teacher: "No, it does not have legs."
Student; "Is it a snake?"
Teacher: "No, it is not a snake."
This exchange may give you an idea of how to answer and guide the inquiry. You can introduce the properties of water through this type of question/answer activity. Just because it moves, does not mean it is an animal! Water also conducts electricity, but it is not metal!
As the teacher and student exchange information, write down the responses on three pieces of chart paper with the headings, verbs, adjectives, and nouns. Stop the questioning when you feel he students can make an educated inference about the mystery box's content. Ask them to write or draw what they think the mystery object is using this lead, "I think/infer that the mystery object is _______________. You can also ask, "Are you 100% certain?" Point out that the questioning process is vital to science understanding and discovery.
At the end of the questioning, the container of water is revealed. Make the list of nouns, verbs, and adjectives available to help the class continue their inquiry into water and to journal their science experience.
Print individual cards with the water cycle vocabulary and attitude descriptions. Allow students to group the cards according to the water cycle and have them match science attitude cards to their science knowledge. Attitude cards such as, "Thinks up good questions" or "Thinks up own ideas to study" are paired with knowledge cards such as " Precipitation is________". (Student fills in the blank.) You can use this assessment at the beginning, middle and end of an activity to measure understanding.
Harlen, W. (2001). Primary Science...taking the plunge; How to teach primary science more effectively for ages 5 to 12. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
An increase in student learning occurs when students have opportunities to discuss what they have observed and inferred in small groups and as a class. Elementary students' science learning needs to be scaffolded around a metacognative approach, where students are asked to think about what they know (what they can directly observe) and what they do not directly know (what they need to infer).
Kluger, B. B., (1999). Inquiry thoughts, views, and strategies for the K-5 classroom. National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA.
In inquiry-based classrooms, teachers support students as active learners as they explore, carefully observe, plan and carry out investigations, communicate through varied methods, propose explanations and solutions, propose thoughtful questions, and critique their science practices. Good science inquiry provides many entry points--ways in which students can approach a new topic--and a wide variety of activities during student work.