Day One of Landen Has Hydro-Logic!

13 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT identify and describe the steps in the hydrologic (water) cycle.

Big Idea

What are the steps in the hydrologic (water) cycle? Students construct a closed system, diagram the hydrologic cycle and learn a new chant to help them understand the process.

Setting Up the Investigation

Connection to The Next Generation Science Standards

In this investigation, students continue the work that will lead them to understand the Disciplinary Core Idea of Ecosystems:  Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics -  that food of almost any kind of animal can be traced back to plants.  Organisms are related in food webs in which some animals eat plants for food and other animals eat the animals that eat plants. Some organisms, such as fungi and bacteria, break down dead organisms (both plants or plants parts and animals) and therefore operate as "decomposers."  Decomposition eventually restores (recycles) some materials back to the soil.  Organisms can survive only in environments in which their particular needs are met.  A healthy ecosystem is one in which multiple species of different types are each able to meet their needs in a a relatively stable web of life.  Newly introduced species can damage the balance of the ecosystem. (5-LS2-1) and the Crosscutting Concept of Systems and System Models  - A system can be described in terms of its components and their interactions (5-LS2-1).

Please Note:  The Lexile Level for Plaid Pete Discovers What Matters in Ecosystems - Lab Scenario Sheet Lesson 13 is 890 (5th Grade Range is 740 - 1010).

The Preparation Time for This Investigation is approximately 20 minutes.

Materials Needed:

One copy for each student of Plaid Pete Discovers What Matters In Ecosystems - Lab Sheet A Lesson 6

One copy for each student of Plaid Pete Discovers What Matters in Ecosystems -Plaid Pete Discovers What Matters In Ecosystems - Lab Sheet A Lesson 6

One copy of The Water Cycle Poster from the United States Geological Services website - I download this in color, enlarge it to 135% on ledger paper, and laminate it.

One copy for each student of The Water Cycle Diagram (without text) from the United States Geological Services website - I download and copy in black and white, and use the one with text boxes

One copy of The Water Cycle Bugaloo for each student

One copy of the Science Team Evaluation for each student

The Water Cycle Bugaloo copied on a large piece of chart paper

One graduated cylinder for each team

One clear container for each team (I used a 1/2 liter container)

One clear plastic cup for each team that will fit inside the larger container  (I used an 8 oz. cup)

aquarium rocks

potting soil

plants with small leaves (to demonstrate transpiration)

clear plastic wrap

*Note - We do not have a sunny window due to the time of year, so we will be using a heat lamp.  If you choose to use this option, be sure to place the "water cycle models" far enough away from the lamp so that the plastic wrap doesn't melt or create a safety hazard.

Focus & Motivation

15 minutes

Introduce the Scenario

My students know that we are doing the research, right along side Plaid Pete, that will lead to developing our "ecosystems in a jar."  They are excited to being today's lesson.

I pass out the Plaid Pete Discovers What Matters In Ecosystems - Lab Scenario Lesson 6 and my students get out their highlighters.  I tell them there are 4 reader's theater parts, Plaid Pete, his friends, Landen, and Seth, and a narrator.  Students work in their teams to highlight the text and decide who will read the parts.  Students read the parts in their teams, as I circulate and listen in.

We are continuing to work on aspects of Reading Fluency, so I listen in for teams that are doing a great job of using appropriate phrasing, intonation, and rate, so that I can give high praise after the scenario is read.

Learning Objective & Success Criteria

Note:  Consistent with the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol, I am now including a language objective with each lesson.  These objectives were derived from the Washington State ELP Standards Frameworks that are correlated with the CCSS and the NGSS.

I share the learning objective and success criteria:  

Learning Objective:  I can identify and explain the steps in the hydrologic cycle (water cycle).

Language Objective:  I can use a visual aid to describe the steps in the water cycle, and explain the meaning of important words about the water (hydrologic) cycle.  [ELP.4-5.8]  Note:  This language objective will be carried over the next two lessons and ELL students will need to be provided with opportunities to use their diagram to explain the important water cycle words that they have diagrammed.  Preferably, they should have multiple opportunities.

Success Criteria:  I can correctly complete a diagram showing the steps in the water (hydrologic) cycle.

Pre-Assessment:  Students Construct a Model of The Water Cycle

I tell my students, "In scientific terms, the water cycle is called, "the hydrologic cycle."  I share with them that "hydro" means water.  I tell them that I know they have probably learned some things already about the water cycle.  I ask them to share with me what they already know, by constructing a model of the water cycle on the bottom of their scenario sheet.  I tell them they need to use labels, and explanations - so that I have a complete picture of their understanding of this important process.

This is an independent activity, so I do not have them discuss it beforehand.  I want to know what individual students are bringing to this topic.  Much like the lesson on living vs. non-living, I know that although my students are expected to understand this process by 5th Grade, many will not have the depth of understanding that will be needed to be successful in this unit.  I collect the sheets and will examine them this evening.  This will tell me which students I will really need to "hone in on" tomorrow, to ensure that they are extracting all they can from the activities.

Guided Exploration

20 minutes

Explain the Investigation

My students are familiar with closed systems.  We learned about closed systems in our unit on matter when they investigated the effects of changes on matter in closed systems.  I tell them that today, we are going to create some closed systems that will help us to understand the water cycle process.  Then, tomorrow, we will be analyzing these models that we have created, and compare them to what happens on Earth.  I pass out Plaid Pete Discovers What Matters In Ecosystems - Lab Sheet A Lesson 6  We discuss the task, and I randomly call on students to ensure they understand exactly what they are supposed to do.

Create Job Lists

My students work in their teams to construct their job lists.  They know that they will not be allowed to begin the activity until they provide a completed job list that specifies what each person in the team will do.  Since this is the first investigation of the unit.  I will also be asking my students to complete a Team Rating Sheet when the investigation is finished today, and another for tomorrow.  Students rate themselves, and each of their teammates.  They do not share their ratings.  If they give a teammate a rating that is less than 3 (benchmark score), they have to indicate why they gave that score.  Since I cannot stand and monitor each team, this allows me to troubleshoot particular student difficulties.  I will pull a student aside who gets a low rating from more than one teammate, and have a discussion with them about how they can be more productive.  I will plan specific interventions for students who consistently get low ratings.  These might include missing an investigation, parent contact in the form of a phone call or conference, a behavior contract, or some other type of intervention targeted to address the specific difficulty.

Begin The Investigation

Once a team has submitted their completed job list, and I have ensured that every team member has agreed to the list; then they are allowed to retrieve their materials tub and begin the investigation.  I have set up a tub for each team with all needed materials on the back table.  As teams work, I monitor to ensure that they are completing the task according to the directions.  

I am pleased to see that students are working carefully to complete their closed systems - following all directions and working collaboratively.  When students have completed their closed systems they construct models on their lab sheets, as in this Student Example.

I tell my students that these closed systems they are creating today are going to serve as models that will help us learn about Earth's Hydrologic System tomorrow.  I explain that there is another bit of information that I want them to have that will build on what they heard in the video, and that they will be drawing on tomorrow to answer some very important questions.  Once teams have completed construction, I have them clean up their areas and get ready to acquire some new information.  


25 minutes

Introduce Video

I tell my students, "I think we need some more information here.  This water cycle process is a bit more complicated than Plaid Pete realizes.  Let's get some help from our friends at Scholastic.  I play the Scholastic Study Jams Video:  The Water Cycle.

This video introduces the basic vocabulary of the water cycle in a way that even my English Language Learners, who may have little or no background knowledge, can access the content.  However, in order to understand an idea as complex as the transfer of matter and energy through ecosystems, I know my students will need to dive in for a more in-depth look than this video has provided.  I am "layering" my information so that I can quickly build background, by providing a simple model.  In this next section, we will build on this simple model.  I am also focusing in on the Next Generation Science Standard idea that models are useful tools, and that they have a specific purpose.

Present Poster

I explain to my students, that much like the closed systems that they just created - with respect to the water, or hydrologic cycle - Earth is also a closed system.  I present The Water Cycle Poster from the United States Geological Services website.  I explain that this is one of the more complete diagrams, or models of the hydrologic cycle, and that there are certain steps in the process that we need to be concerned about at this point.  

I say, "If we were focusing on a study of the hydrologic, or water cycle from a geologic - or Earth systems purpose, we would want to look at this entire model.  However, we want to look at this model from an ecosystems viewpoint - asking the question, Why is the hydrologic, or water cycle important to the study of ecosystems?  We want to pay particular attention to the role of water in the transfer of energy and matter through an ecosystem, because water plays a very important role!  It's also important that you understand that in Science, your question frames your research and that it has an affect on the model or models you use for your research."

Label Diagrams

I pass out The Water Cycle Diagram (without text) from the United States Geological Services Website.  I am using the second diagram provided, the one with text boxes.  I tell my students that there are specific steps in this process that I want them to know.  These are the steps presented in the video.  I have them locate the arrows that show evaporation and label them in the boxes provided.  I say, "Hmm, I am noticing that the word, "evaporation" is larger over the ocean, than it is over freshwater.  I wonder why that might be?"  I call on a student who states, "Maybe it's because more water evaporates from oceans than from freshwater because more of Earth's water is in oceans."  I respond, "I think you might be right.  I don't know for certain that this is why the USGS constructed the poster this way - but it seems likely to me"  I tell my students that the hydrologic cycle begins with the process of evaporation.  This is the process of liquid water being heated by the sun.  We review what we have learned about what happens when the particles in a liquid are heated - they change state into a gas.  I explain that the gas form of liquid is water vapor.

I have my students locate the box next to the arrow for sublimation, and write the word in the box.  I explain that when conditions are right, snow and ice will sublimate, or change state from a solid to a gas - without ever going to a liquid state.  This process is called sublimation.

I have my students locate the box next to the arrow for condensation, and write the word in the box.  I explain that when this water vapor rises, it cools.  I ask my students, "What did you learn about the particles in matter when heat is added or removed?"  I call on a student who correctly responds that matter changes state.  I confirm that yes, it does change state.  The water vapor that was in a gas state condenses, or changes from a gas to a liquid.  This process is called condensation.  

I have my students locate the box next to the arrow for precipitation, and write the word in the box.  I explain that these particles of gas, in the form of water vapor, condense on particles of dust, smoke, and salt.  When they grow heavier enough, the droplets fall as precipitation.  Most precipitation is in the form of rain.  However, if conditions are right, then precipitation can also fall as snow, hail (ice pellets) or sleet (rain mixed with snow).

I have my students locate the box next to the arrow for runoff, and ask them to write the term "surface runoff" in the box.  I explain that surface runoff happens when snow and ice melt, and flow into streams, rivers, and lakes.  Melting snow and ice are a major source of the movement of water world wide.

I have my students find the arrow for infiltration, and write the word in the box.  I explain that some water infiltrates, or soaks into the shallow layers of soil, and some goes deeper into groundwater aquifers (underground layers of rock that are saturated or soaked with water).

I tell my students that there is one more term that is very important to ecosystems, but that it isn't on our diagram, so we will have to write it in.  I have them locate the arrow for flora and fauna, and write it in (no box).  Since this is a great place to review these previously introduced vocabulary terms - I ask for their meaning.  I confirm them and state that I am primarily concerned today with flora.  I ask my students to construct a small plant with leaves near the label, and to draw a few water droplets on a leaf.  I ask them to draw a box and write the word:  transpiration, in the box.  I explain that this is the process where plants give off or excrete water into the atmosphere.  

I tell my students to fold these diagrams "hamburger style" and glue them into the next clean page of their Science Notebooks.  

I explain that I have a fun way to help them remember the hydrologic, or water cycle - and it involves a new chant!

Reflection & Closure

5 minutes


I hand out copies of The Water Cycle Bugaloo to each of my students.  Since this is a new chant style that I have not introduced before, I model it for them first.  Here is an Example of a class doing a Bugaloo Chant to give you an idea of the rhythm.

I have students follow along with me a second time, and then we chant it a third time - just for fun.  My students enjoy these chants and they are a great way to practice vocabulary and new content.

I have constructed a chart paper version that is hanging on the wall.  After tomorrow's lesson we will "process the chant" by highlighting and discussing the key vocabulary and concepts, as I make notes on the chart paper.  We will return to review and chant this periodically throughout the unit, and also use it to compare and contrast other cycles we will be examining in this unit.

I pass out the Science Team Evaluation form and ask my students to complete them.  I collect them, and examine them when students have left - looking for any concerns.