This is a follow-up assignment to the students seeing a model of the water cycle. This could be done as a demonstration or a hands-on lab. I did it as a demonstration, where I built a landscape inside of a large storage container. Added some hot water to it. Put a piece of clear plexiglass over the top (as a lid) with a small petri dish of ice over top of the "mountain." There was also a heat lamp set up to represent the sun. I moved the plexiglass just enough to drop a match into the water, then quickly shut the lid. Students could see the smoke move with the water vapor towards the colder mountain range. The water vapor condensed making "clouds" (water droplets on the lid). The droplets fell, representing precipitaiton. Aligned to Indiana Science Standard 8.ESS.2
Today you will observe a model of the water cycle! There is one important safety note:
HEAT LAMPS GET HOT. DO NOT TOUCH THEM!!!!
Observe the container carefully and note any changes that you see into your lab book. Your teacher will drop some matches into the model in order to create smoke. Use this smoke to detect any air circulation (movement) in the model and include that in your observations.
How was evaporation demonstrated in this model?
How was condensation demonstrated in this model?
How was precipitation demonstrated in this model?
In this model, where does the energy come from? What does it represent?
Which parts of the water cycle did you not see in this model?
How could we modify this model to show the parts of the water cycle that we didn't see?
Was the ice absolutely necessary for condensation to occur?
Based on what you observed in this demonstration, why do you think water is considered a renewable resource?
This activity was only a model of how the actual water cycle works. Why might scientists use a model like this when researching the water cycle in the real world? Can you think of any reason they might not use a model like this?
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