The water cycle is one of the most important concepts children should learn. Water is something that can be seen all around us and is part of our daily lives. We drink water to stay hydrated. Water is used on our plants to help them grow. And it also has its own weather! Below is a full water cycle unit study plus a free worksheet pack.
Water Cycle Unit Study
What is the water cycle?
The water cycle is a complex system that shows many different processes water goes through. There really isn’t one set starting point, but most lessons begin with the ocean. The Earth’s water is constantly in movement and will shift between many phases. The primary states we see water in are liquid, vapor, and ice.
Beyond the ocean, which makes up 97% of the earth’s water source, there are other places we can find water:
- glaciers and ice caps
- ground ice and permafrost
- fresh water
- swamps and marshes
- living things
These (and a few other) sources combined makeup all the water found in the world!
How does the water cycle work?
The heat of the sun provides energy to make the water cycle work. The sun evaporates water from the oceans into water vapor. This invisible vapor rises into the atmosphere, where the air is colder. The colder air causes water vapor to condense into water droplets (precipitation) and clouds.
Notice there are several words written in bold. These would make great vocabulary words for your child to learn. They have been defined below, and you’ll also find them in the free water cycle unit study pack.
- The sun provides heat, light, and energy.
- Evaporation is the process of turning liquid to vapor.
- Water vapor is the gas that forms when water evaporates.
- Condensation forms droplets of water as water vapor cools to liquid form.
- Precipitation falls to the Earth in forms of rain, snow, ice, etc.
Educational Videos About the Water Cycle
The Water Cycle
A video showing the overall functioning of a full cycle.
The Water Cycle & Individual Stages
This video goes into detail about each stage of the cycle.
Where Does Water Come From?
A great video about where water comes from and how we get it inside our homes.
Uses of Water
It’s important for kids to learn the many uses of water and this video shows just that!
Books about the Water Cycle
Every good unit study should have several books and there are many you can find about the water cycle. Below are a few I highly recommend adding to your lesson plans:
- The Water Cycle at Work
- Drop: An Adventure Through the Water Cycle
- The Great Big Water Cycle Adventure
- A Drop Around the World
- National Geographic Readers: Water
Experiments to Try
Experiments have always provided kids a hands-on approach to learning. There are many activities and experiments for kids to try to help them learn even more about the water cycle. Here is a few to try:
Free Water Cycle Worksheet Pack
As I mentioned earlier, I have a free worksheet pack that pairs perfectly with this post and the videos above. Simply print and go! You’ll have access to a water cycle poster, label and coloring page, a cycle book, and more. Click the button below to get your free download!
Don’t forget to check out these other Water Cycle activities!