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Wetland Curriculum Resource
Unit 2. Water - Activities

2 : 5 :: Water Cycle)

Purpose: To illustrate a simplified water cycle.

What You Need: markers and/or crayons :: glue sticks :: scissors :: construction paper :: water cycle worksheet :: water cycle stencil pieces :: water cycle layout (for personal reference)

What You Do:

  1. Photocopy water cycle worksheet for each student.
  2. Prepare your own colourful, enlarged pieces (use photocopier to enlarge) from the water cycle stencil to attach to the blackboard as you teach the lesson.
  3. Begin by asking the students to name the many different places that water can be found (in lakes, rivers, oceans, wetlands, ice, rain, etc.). Write these words on the blackboard.
  4. Explain that water moves around the earth in many different forms (solid, liquid, and gas). Water flows through streams, wetlands, rivers, and lakes, often returning to the ocean. But, where does the water that is in the rivers and streams come from? (from rain, snow and other precipitation) - and they fell out of the sky from a cloud. But, where did the water in the cloud come from? (from vapour).
  5. Begin to explain the water cycle, starting from the oceans, using the sun, heat, and ocean stencil pieces. A simple analogy to explain the process of evaporation is a kettle. Water and heat goes in, and steam comes out. Explain that the hot sun warms the water in the ocean and the ocean water becomes steam. Attach the sun, heat, and ocean pieces to the blackboard following the water cycle layout.
  6. Continue to explain the water cycle using the cloud, rain, and land pieces. Ask the students where the rain comes from (attach the cloud to the blackboard) and where rain goes (into the land, streams, wetlands, and used by plants). Attach the cloud, rain, and land pieces to the blackboard.
  7. Explain that when it rains, water runs over the land into streams. These streams flow into wetlands which may drain into lakes and rivers. Finally, these rivers may run into the ocean to start the whole process over again. Attach the stream, wetlands, lake, and river pieces and draw the last loop of the circle back to the ocean.
  8. Explain the water cycle one more time, emphasizing that it is a continuous process, and explain what happens between each step of the cycle. You may wish to ask a student to come up to the blackboard to explain a part of the water cycle to the rest of the class, or have the students repeat the process out loud with you.
  9. Have the students colour the water cycle worksheet and then cut out each component of the worksheet. Each student can then arrange and glue their water cycle pieces on the construction paper, drawing arrows and labelling each piece.


  1. Ask the students to draw and colour one place where water is found (on one side of the sheet of paper), and one way water is used (on the other side of the sheet of paper).
  2. Older students may want to discuss the water cycle adding the component of pollution. For example, if certain chemicals are released into the air, they can combine with water in the clouds to form acid rain. If water is polluted, it may easily flow and pollute other bodies of water. Unit 5: Environmental Issues, will provide helpful background information for this discussion.

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