Interactions between the Hydrosphere and Other Earth's Systems

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SWBAT identify Earth's systems and their interactions with the hydrosphere.

Big Idea

Students will construct an explanation about the interaction between the hydrosphere and other Earth systems.

Lesson Overview

5e Lesson Plan Model

Many of my science lessons are based upon and taught using the 5E lesson plan model: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate. This lesson plan model allows me to incorporate a variety of learning opportunities and strategies for students.  With multiple learning experiences, students can gain new ideas, demonstrate thinking, draw conclusions, develop critical thinking skills, and interact with peers through discussions and hands-on activities.  With each stage in this lesson model, I select strategies that will serve students best for the concepts and content being delivered to them.  These strategies were selected for this lesson to facilitate peer discussions, participation in a group activity, reflective learning practices, and accountability for learning.

Unit Focus  

The Water on Earth Unit focuses on the interaction of the hydrosphere with other Earth systems including the geosphere, biosphere, and atmosphere. Through models, investigations, research, graphing, and multimedia, students learn that the amount of water on Earth never changes and the amount available for human consumption is small. They identify and calculate the distribution of water sources on Earth, distinguish the properties of various forms of water, and recognize the cycling of water in and out of the atmosphere. 

Lesson Synopsis

This lesson, Interactions Between the Hydrosphere and Other Earth's systems, begins with a nature walk outside. Students make observations about the air, ground, stream, sun, etc. They record these observations and we then summarize and discuss our observations as a whole class. Then I use a powerpoint to focus the lesson on one system, the hydrosphere. This powerpoint presents information about how the hydrosphere interacts with all other systems. Using the Give one, Get One strategy, students develop a list of water sources on Earth. With a compiled list of water sources, I engage students in a discussion on "Where did the water on Earth come from?" I use a short video to present a scientific theory that may answer this question. The lesson wraps up with a question on which students construct an explanation using what they have learned throughout the lesson. I use their response as a formative assessment.

Next Generation Science Standards  

This lesson will address and support future lessons on the following NGSS Standard(s):

5-ESS2.1. Develop a model using an example to describe ways the geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere interact.

Scientific & Engineering Practices

Students are engaged in the following scientific and engineering practices:

8.) Obtaining and Communicating Information- Students obtain and combine information from reliable multimedia about the hydrosphere's interaction with other Earth's systems.

Crosscutting Concepts

The Interactions Between the Hydrosphere and other Earth Systems lesson will correlate to other interdisciplinary areas.  These Crosscutting Concepts include:

4.) Systems and System Models- Students obtain information about Earth's four systems and how each interacts with one another. They explain how the hydrosphere interacts with other geosphere, atmosphere, and biospehere


Disciplinary Core Ideas

Disciplinary Core Ideas within this lesson include:

ESS2.C:  The Roles of Water in Earth’s Surface Processes



Importance of Modeling to Develop Student

Responsibility, Accountability, and Independence 

Depending upon the time of year, this lesson is taught, teachers should consider modeling how groups should work together; establish group norms for activities, class discussions, and partner talks.  In addition, it is important to model think aloud strategies.  This sets up students to be more expressive and develop thinking skills during an activity.  The first half of the year, I model what group work and/or talks “look like and sound like.”  I intervene the moment students are off task with reminders and redirection.  By the second and last half of the year, I am able to ask students, “Who can give of three reminders for group activities to be successful?” Who can tell us two reminders for partner talks?”  Students take responsibility for becoming successful learners.  Again before teaching this lesson, consider the time of year, it may be necessary to do a lot of front loading to get students to eventually become more independent and transition through the lessons in a timely manner.


20 minutes

I begin by telling students we are going outside for a short nature walk. I explain that during this nature walk they are making observations and recording on them on an Earth's systems recording sheet. Each students has a clipboard and recording sheet for the walk.

I ask them to find at least 5 examples for each category on their recording sheet. I encourage them to really think about the following questions to help make observations.

  • What is going on outside?
  • What is happening in nature? (ground, air, stream, plants?)
  • Has anything changed around the school?


If students appear to struggle with these ideas, I point out things on the ground, in the air, animals, plants, etc. Once I notice students seem to have a sufficient amount of information, we go back into the classroom to share our findings.

Summarizing Our Nature Walk

Once we return to the classroom, I reconvene the students as whole to begin a discussion. I project a blank diagram, illustrating the components of Earth's systems,on the board. I encourage students to share their observations out loud. As they do I record them on the board under the appropriate category: Water, Soil, Air, Living Things, Sun- (as they have on their recording sheet) 


20 minutes

Making Connections Between Observations 

Next, I engage students in making connections between observations. For example, with a plant listed unde living thing, I draw an arrow from the plant to the water and write how the plant needs water to survive.  I model a few more interactions for students to develop an understanding of how to make connections.  I am looking for simple interactions as many of my students have a limited science background.  This also gives me indication of their prior knowledge about what they know already.

After a few examples, I have them analyze their observations and make connections between them by drawing arrows between them and writing a brief description of how they interact. I explain that it is ok to have multiple interactions between items on their list.

Identifying Earth's Major Systems

When most students finish, I have students use the document camera to share their connections. Then I show Earth's Systems to help make the concept more concrete.


I explain that throughout the year we will be learning about each of Earth's Systems: Hydrosphere, Atmosphere, Geosphere, and Biosphere. I continue explaining that each one has properties that make them different from one another, but cannot exist without the support or interaction from another.  I share an example: "The hydrosphere, consisting of all the water on Earth, extends into the atmosphere and far below the geosphere (rocks and soil.)"

How Does the Hydrosphere Connect to Earth's Systems?

I hand out a graphic organizer and All About the Earth, Our World on Stage (I came across this on Nasa's website)I explain to students that as I am doing a read aloud with the story, they are to note the main ideas on how water is connected to other Earth's systems. I pause after I read about each system, ask them to locate the pertinent information in their copy, and record it on their graphic organizer.

campfire reading

(We sat in a circle around a pretend fire to simulate campfire reading. They thought it was an interesting and uniquel way to do our reading)

The story highlights how water moves from one system to another. For example, water in the hydrosphere evaporates into the atmosphere and then returns back to the geosphere where it enters the ground/soil and becomes available for living organisms. It gives students a brief snapshot of how these systems interact with one another. 

I tell them our main focus  is going to be on the hydrosphere over the next few lessons.


20 minutes

Water Sources On Earth

Once we define the hydrosphere and learn about its interaction with other spheres, I explain, "we are using the Give One, Get One strategy today to share our ideas about sources of water on Earth."  I hand out a give one get one grid to each student. I continue stating, "when we begin, you are writing three ideas or answers of your own about water sources you know exist on Earth in the top row. Then, you are walking around the room finding other ideas. You need to get more ideas ideas or answers (each idea coming from a different person) until each box is filled.  At the same time, you need to give one of your ideas to another classmate (a classmate can only take one idea from you.)   As students begin, I walk around the room monitoring students as they move about the room asking the other students for one of their ideas. At the same time they give one of theirs. This is done until boxes are filled

give one getone  give one get one 

I selected the Give One, Get One strategy to activate students' prior knowledge and engage them in structured and meaningful conversations with a classmate.  This strategy engages students in meaningful and productive discourse with peers.

The student reconvene back to their groups and share their lists with one another. After a few minutes I pose the question: "Where Did the Water On Earth Come From?" and ask students to discuss possibilities together. 

I have each group share water source examples by taking part in a word splash. Oce member from each group receives a marker and writes his/here example on the board. Then, they pass the marker to another group member, this process is repeated until each group member has written an idea on the board. By the end of the shares, a class list of water sources is displayed on the board for all to view.

Where Did the Water On Earth Come From?

After we identify several water sources on Earth, I show a short video that presents one scientific theory for how water came to be on Earth.  We discuss the theory together and I point out that this still hasn't been proven true but is the most logical idea about the water on our Earth.

I share that in our next lesson, we will explore how water is distributed throughout Earth.


5 minutes

Applying What We Learned

To wrap up the lesson, I ask students to take out their interactive notebook and respond to this prompt:

Explain how water interacts with at least two of Earth's systems we discussed throughout the lesson.  

I have them write this in their interactive notebook. As they are writing, I circulate the room and observe. At the end of the class, I collect their notebooks and use this as a formative assessment.


Water Interactions with Earth's systems