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Interactive Water Cycle Diagrams for Kids Completed
Our interactive diagrams allow you to "mouse around" the parts of the water cycle and view explanations, pictures, and more.
• Water Science School HOME • The Water Cycle •
Interactive water-cycle diagrams for students of all ages
Our interactive diagram allows you to "mouse around" the parts of the water cycle and view explanations, pictures, and more online. The diagram is available for three levels of students:
Below are other science topics associated with the water cycle.
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Welcome to the U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) Water Science School. We offer information on many aspects of water, along with pictures, data, maps, and an interactive center where you can give opinions and test your water knowledge.
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Evaporation Lessons & Activities for Third Grade
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- Water Lesson Plans & Activities for Third Grade
The third grade science curriculum typically covers a wide range of science topics, including evaporation and the different states of matter. Evaporation lesson plans help third grade students learn about the water cycle. These activities push the students to dig deeper about where rain comes from and where water goes. With a mix of interactive lessons, the students gain a concrete understanding of this complex process.
A drawing of the evaporation process helps third grade students understand how it works. Show a diagram of the water cycle that depicts a water source, such as a pond. Draw in arrows to show how the water evaporates out of the pond, up into the air and comes back down to the pond as precipitation. Let the kids make their own picture versions of the water cycle process.
Nature provides a hands-on learning activity about evaporation and the water cycle. Find a puddle on the playground after it rains. A sunny day helps speed the evaporation process. Let the kids measure and record information about the puddle, such as the depth in the middle and the length and width of it. Repeat the measurements and observations two or three times during the day to see if the size of the puddle changes. They can't actually see the water evaporating, but they can see the shrinking puddle size that shows how the water leaves.
An evaporation demonstration in the classroom gives the kids a controlled look at what happens to water. This experiment gives third graders a concrete way to see the water that evaporates. You can also monitor the evaporation over a longer period of time and without other people disturbing the water as you could have when observing a puddle outdoors. You need a bowl of water covered with plastic food wrap. As the water evaporates, it collects on the plastic wrap. The water drops become heavy and drop back down into the bowl, creating a working version of the water cycle in the classroom.
Experiment With It
The basic evaporation experiment with the bowl of water allows for different variables to test the evaporation process. Change variables, such as the amount of sunlight and heat or the type of liquid used in the experiment. For example, place one bowl of water in a sunny spot and another in shade to compare the evaporation rates. Use plain water in one bowl and another liquid, such as rubbing alcohol or juice, in another to see if one type of liquid evaporates faster than the other.
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Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience comes from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.
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What Is the Water Cycle?
Water can be found all over Earth in the ocean, on land and in the atmosphere. The water cycle is the path that all water follows as it moves around our planet.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech Data source: NASA's Earth Observatory
On Earth, you can find water in all three states of matter: solid , liquid and gas . Liquid water is found in Earth’s oceans, rivers, lakes, streams—and even in the soil and underground. Solid ice is found in glaciers , snow, and at the North and South Poles . Water vapor—a gas—is found in Earth’s atmosphere.
How does water travel from a glacier to the ocean to a cloud? That’s where the water cycle comes in.
The Water Cycle
The Sun’s heat causes glaciers and snow to melt into liquid water. This water goes into oceans, lakes and streams. Water from melting snow and ice also goes into the soil. There, it supplies water for plants and the groundwater that we drink.
Snow falling on a glacier during winter months usually replaces any water that melts away in the summer. However, due to Earth’s overall warming , most glaciers today are losing more ice than they regain, causing them to shrink over time.
How does water get into the atmosphere? There are two main ways this happens:
- Heat from the Sun causes water to evaporate from oceans, lakes and streams. Evaporation occurs when liquid water on Earth’s surface turns into water vapor in our atmosphere.
- Water from plants and trees also enters the atmosphere. This is called transpiration .
Warm water vapor rises up through Earth’s atmosphere. As the water vapor rises higher and higher, the cool air of the atmosphere causes the water vapor to turn back into liquid water, creating clouds. This process is called condensation .
When a cloud becomes full of liquid water, it falls from the sky as rain or snow—also known as precipitation . Rain and snow then fill lakes and streams, and the process starts all over again.
Clouds, like these over the savannah in Nairobi, Kenya, form when water vapor in the atmosphere condenses back into liquid water. Credit: Department of State
Why Do We Care About the Water Cycle?
We care about the water cycle because water is necessary for all living things. NASA satellites orbiting Earth right now are helping us to understand what is happening with water on our planet.
Water in the Soil
Humans need water to drink, and to water the plants that grow our food. NASA has a satellite called SMAP —short for Soil Moisture Active Passive —that measures how much water is in the top 2 inches (5 cm) of Earth’s soil . This can help us understand the relationship between water in the soil and severe weather conditions, such as droughts.
Water in the Atmosphere
NASA’s CloudSat mission studies water in our atmosphere in the form of clouds. CloudSat gathers information about clouds and how they play a role in Earth’s climate. Also, the international satellite called the Global Precipitation Measurement Mission (GPM) observes when, where and how much it rains and snows on Earth.
Water in the Oceans
As Earth’s climate becomes warmer, land ice at the North and South Poles starts melting. The water then flows into the ocean, causing sea level to rise. NASA’s Jason-3 mission—short for Joint Altimetry Satellite Oceanography Network-3 —orbits Earth collecting information about sea level and ocean temperature. This helps track how the ocean responds to Earth’s changing climate.
NASA is also tracking how Earth’s water moves all around our planet. This is the work of the GRACE-FO —or Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment-Follow On —mission. It tracks the movement of water from one month to the next, and can even measure changes in deep groundwater hundreds of feet below Earth’s surface.
NASA’s Aqua satellite also collects a large amount of information about Earth’s water cycle, including water in the oceans, clouds, sea ice, land ice and snow cover.
Related NASA Missions
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Weather & Climate
Societal applications, exploring the water cycle.
This lesson plan is intended for teachers to use with their upper elementary and middle school students to learn about the water cycle and the forces that drive it. The emphasis in this lesson will be on having students understand the processes that take place in moving water through Earth’s system.
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Environmental Scienc ...
When we keep anything wet in an open area, the water from the wet things changes in water vapor and mixes with the air around. We cannot see the water vapor evaporating as it is color less. This process of changing liquid water into gas or vapor is called Evaporation . Water vapor is the gaseous form of water.
When we place handkerchief on cloth line outside in windy place or under the sun, it dries faster. This means that wind and heat from the sun helps in evaporation. This is why we hang our wet clothes out in the sun for drying. With the increase in temperature, the rate of evaporation also increases. Evaporation occurs every day in natural as well as in our manmade environment.
The process in which a gas changes into its liquid state is called condensation. The water vapor condenses when it is very cold. What do you observe when you keep a glass of cold water on hot summer day? We see droplets of water on the surface of the glass. From where does this droplets came? It actually came from the air. Water vapor in the warm air, changes back into liquid when it touches the cold surface of glass.
Example: Due on grass in the morning, water droplets on the outside surface of the cold drink bottle, water droplets on the mirror of bathroom after hot shower.
There is limited water on the earth and exists as solid in the form of snow on the mountains, ice in glaciers and ice caps; it exists in the form of liquid in the rivers, ocean, sea and underground water; it exists as gas in the form of water vapor and steam. The total amount of water on the earth is relatively unchanging, and it has remained about the same since our planet's formation. The water is constantly undergoing process of evaporation and transpiration, condensation, precipitation and accumulation. This journey of water is called water cycle . The water cycle, also known as the hydrologic cycle
The water cycle is made up of following processes:
Evaporation and Transpiration
Heat of the sun causes evaporation of water from rivers, lakes and the ocean. The water vapor formed rises and mix up with air. Evaporation is an important part of the water cycle and occurs continuously throughout the nature.
Plants require water to make their food, which they obtain from the soil. Plants releases water from leaves which evaporates into the air.
Water vapor evaporates from water bodies in the air, it condenses and changes into tiny droplets and then clouds are formed.
When these droplets become so dense and heavy, they come back to the earth in the form of rain, hail, sleet or snow. Precipitation is responsible for bringing back the fresh water on the earth.
When water falls back on earth, it gets collected in the ocean, lakes or river or under the ground.
Water is continuously recycled on the earth; from water bodies to the sky and down to land, to be transported back to the water bodies again.
Importance of water cycle
We use water for drinking and for other purpose. We have limited water on earth and if the water did not come back to us through the water cycle then we would not have fresh water. So, we should use water judiciously and avoid wasting water.
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The water cycle
Where does all the water go.
The four steps in the water cycle are precipitation (rain, snow), collection of fluids into bodies of water, evaporation of water into the sky and condensation of water vapour into clouds. Then it rains again!
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3rd Grade Water Cycle
_________________ is when the sun's heat causes liquid water to become water vapor.
_________________ is when water vapor gets cooler and changes back into liquid water to form clouds.
Snow, sleet, hail, and rain are all forms of _____________________.
__________________ is when rainwater flows downhill toward a body of water.
- 6. Multiple Choice 45 seconds 1 pt Which of these is an example of precipitation? snow air clouds vapor
- 9. Multiple Choice 45 seconds 1 pt Where is most water found on Earth? glaciers lakes rivers oceans
- 10. Multiple Choice 45 seconds 1 pt What source of energy evaporates the most water from Earth’s surface? volcanoes the sun lightning wind
Letter A is representing what part of the water cycle?
Letter B is representing what part of the water cycle?
Letter C is representing what part of the water cycle?
Letter D is representing what part of the water cycle?
THE WATER CYCLE! EVAPORATION, CONDENSATION, AND PRECIPITATION!, Grade 3 Scien
THE WATER CYCLE! EVAPORATION, CONDENSATION,
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EVAPORATION, CONDENSATION, AND PRECIPITATION!
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- Biology Article
What is the Water Cycle? Water Cycle Diagram Stages of Water Cycle Implications of Water Cycle Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Water Cycle?
The water cycle, also known as the hydrologic cycle or the hydrological cycle, describes the continuous movement of water on, above and below the surface of the Earth.
Water Cycle Diagram
During this process, water changes its state from one phase to another, but the total number of water particles remains the same. In other words, if it were possible to collect and boil 100 gms of water, it will still retain a mass of 100 gms as steam. Likewise, if 100 gms of steam is collected and condensed, the resultant water would still weight 100 gms.
Water changes its state through a variety of processes from evaporation, melting and freezing, to sublimation, condensation, and deposition. All these changes require the application of energy.
Stages of Water Cycle
There are many processes involved in the movement of water apart from the major steps given in the above water cycle diagram. Listed below are different stages of the water cycle.
The sun is the ultimate source of energy, and it powers most of the evaporation that occurs on earth. Evaporation generally happens when water molecules at the surface of water bodies become excited and rise into the air. These molecules with the highest kinetic energy accumulate into water vapour clouds. Evaporation usually takes place below the boiling point of water. Another process called evapotranspiration occurs when evaporation occurs through the leaves of plants. This process contributes to a large percentage of water in the atmosphere.
Sublimation occurs when snow or ice changes directly into water vapour without becoming water. It usually occurs as a result of dry winds and low humidity. Sublimation can be observed on mountain peaks, where the air pressure is quite low. The low air pressure helps to sublimate the snow into water vapour as less energy is utilised in the process. Another example of sublimation is the phase where fog bellows from dry ice. On earth, the primary source of sublimation is from the ice sheets covering the poles of the earth.
The water vapour that accumulated in the atmosphere eventually cools down due to the low temperatures found at high altitudes. These vapours become tiny droplets of water and ice, eventually coming together to form clouds.
Above 0 degrees centigrade, the vapours will condense into water droplets. However, it cannot condense without dust or other impurities. Hence, water vapours attach itself on to the particle’s surface. When enough droplets merge, it falls out of the clouds and on to the ground below. This process is called precipitation (or rainfall). In particularly cold weather or extremely low air pressure, the water droplets freeze and fall as snow or hail.
Rainwater gets absorbed into the ground through the process of infiltration. The level of absorption varies based on the material the water has seeped into. For instance, rocks will retain comparatively less water than soil. Groundwater can either follows streams or rivers. But sometimes, it might just sink deeper, forming aquifers.
If the water from rainfall does not form aquifers, it follows gravity, often flowing down the sides of mountains and hills; eventually forming rivers. This process is called runoff. In colder regions, icecaps form when the amount of snowfall is faster than the rate of evaporation or sublimation. The biggest icecaps on earth are found at the poles.
All the steps mentioned above occur cyclically with neither a fixed beginning nor an end.
Also Read: Back to the Oceans
Implications of Water Cycle
- The water cycle has a tremendous impact on the climate. For instance, the greenhouse effect will cause a rise in temperature. Without the evaporative cooling effect of the water cycle, the temperature on earth would rise drastically.
- The water cycle is also an integral part of other biogeochemical cycles.
- Water cycle affects all life processes on earth.
- The water cycle is also known the clean the air. For instance, during the process of precipitation, water vapours have to attach themselves on to particles of dust. In polluted cities, the raindrops, apart from picking up dust, also pick up water-soluble gas and pollutants as they fall from the clouds. Raindrops are also known to pick up biological agents such as bacteria and industrial soot particles and smoke.
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- Biogeochemical cycles
- Oxygen Cycle
- Carbon Cycle
- Nitrogen Cycle
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the major 4 steps in the water cycle.
The major 4 steps are evaporation of water, then condensation, precipitation and collection. The sun evaporates water sources and contributes to the formation of water vapor. These water vapour accumulate in the atmosphere as clouds. The vapours condense into water droplets and when enough droplets merge, it falls out of the clouds as rain.
What is the difference between evaporation and condensation?
Evaporation is a process by which water changes into water vapour. Condensation is an opposite process by which water vapour is converted into tiny droplets of water.
Why is water cycle important?
Water cycle has a huge impact on determining the global climate. It is also an integral part of other biogeochemical cycles. It affects all life processes on Earth either directly or indirectly.
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