Reflection: Staircase of Complexity Part 1-The Water Cycle - Section 5: Elaborate


Pre-Teaching Water Cycle Processes

In this lesson, Part 1- The Water Cycle, I have students take part in two small inquiry investigations on evaporation and condensation. I pre-teach these two processes prior to the water cycle inquiry because these terms are new for my students as they have had minimal academic science prior to fifth grade. Their first inquiry focused on evaporation. Evaporation can happen naturally or man-made, so I created two situations for students to see both. In one set-up, I demonstrate how adding heat to water causes it to turn into vapor by boiling water on a hot plate. In the second evaporation investigation, I have students leave water by the window in the sun and track its levels over a few days. Their second inquiry relates to condensation. In this investigation, I have students use colored water in their set-up. This helps students see that the condensed water is not the same water as the inside. Many times students think a container is leaking and the water they see on the outside comes from the inside, when in fact it does not. By pre-teaching them these concepts, I am setting them up for success when it comes time to build a water cycle model and use it to explain all the process that are taking place within it.

Pre-teaching benefits students in many ways. It provides them an opportunity to be develop a sense of wonder or curiosity about the way things work and helps them make connections with what they already know. It prepares them for more complex tasks and concepts by scaffolding information ahead of time. Simultaneously students develop self-confidence and self-esteem about their ability to learn new ideas. When it comes time for core lessons, students are more prepared; therefore are likely to be more attentive. This allows them a chance to use higher order thinking skills and increase their depth of the concept.

  Pre-Teaching Water Cycle Processes
  Staircase of Complexity: Pre-Teaching Water Cycle Processes
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Part 1-The Water Cycle

Unit 7: Water On Earth
Lesson 4 of 5

Objective: SWBAT describe the processes that take place during the water cycle.

Big Idea: Students will investigate how water changes from one form to another during the water cycle.

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Hydrologic Cycle, Science, condensation, evaporation, water systems
  60 minutes
evaporation and condensation
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