NCWR

About NCWR

The water cycle

In a nutshell

In this activity we explore the paths within the water cycle and we find out how we impact it through our activities.

Our objectives

In this activity you will:

  • Discuss the “paths” (processes) within the water cycle.
  • Set up a 3D model of the water cycle.
  • Find out about the impact that our activities have on the water cycle.

Things to use

A large and a small glass bowl, transparent membrane (plastic), one small stone, hot water, salt, food coloring

Play & learn

Which one can be found in the three states of matter on Earth?


How many states of matter of water do you see in this picture? 


Water-readings

The paths within the water cycle

Water moves endlessly within the hydrological or water cycle on our planet. It all starts with the sun: Water because of the sun’s radiation, from the sea, lakes, rivers, but also from the soil and the plants. Actually evaporation from the plants’ leaves is called . As the water vapor rises into the atmosphere, it cools and is becoming condensed (condensation), and can return to the ground as rain, snow, or hail. These forms are the various types of . Then, water flows on the surface   forming streams and torrents or joining the rivers, ending in lakes or the sea. Part of precipitation is adsorbed from the soil and moves vertically between the rocks () joining the groundwater. Groundwater follows its own paths below the earth’s surface, forming . It may spill over the surface from springs or it may end up to the sea.  Surface water evaporates and the cycle goes on and on…   

Stop and wonder

Discuss in class


  • Scientists say that the hydrological cycle is the natural system of Earth. to recycle. Why do they say that?
  • Have you ever noticed while swimming in the sea, a cool (or sometimes hot) sea-current surrounding you, from time to time? How can you explain it?
  • Is it possible that the water you’ve just drank was once drank by a dinosaur?

Play & learn

Choose the right answer:

Through the water cycle the total amount of water on Earth:


How is the morning dew observed on plants’ leaves or car windows created?


Which phenomenon is taking place when the clothes are drying?


Activity

Water cycle in a model!

  1. Heat up some water (about a glass) using a boiler.
  2. Pour the hot water and the salt into the large bowl.
  3. Place the empty small bowl in the middle of the large one, making sure that no water gets into the smaller one.
  4. Cover the large bowl with the membrane, making sure that it is firmly in place and that it seals the top completely (you may use a rubber band).
  5. Place one small stone at the centre of the membrane. Your model is ready!
  6. Wait for about 5 minutes. What do you observe?
  7. Take off the membrane and taste the water in the small bowl. Is it salty? Why?
    Make sure that all the equipment you use are clean!
  8. Fill in the worksheet.
  9. Repeat steps 1-7 adding this time some drops of food coloring in the water. What do you observe?  What is the colour of the water droplets on the membrane and why? Fill in the worksheet again.

Stop and wonder

Our impacts on the water cycle

Since the antiquity people strive to ensure water for irrigation, crafting, industries and cities. The construction of canals and dams, the drainage of marshes and wetlands, the abstraction of groundwater, the diversion of rivers, and the transport of water to cities (often from very far away) are impacting the water cycle. In addition, water consumption  in cities, industries, agriculture, etc. produces wastewater.

GROUP Discussion


  • Does your personal behavior (as a consumer) have an impact on the water cycle?
  • Is there any habit/behavior that you can change in order to reduce your water consumption?

Play & learn

Discuss in class and match the human activities in column A with their impacts in column B (drag and drop)

A: Human activities

B: Impact

  • 1 Emissions from factories 1
  • 2 Agricultural wastewater drainage containing fertilizers and pesticides 2
  • 3 Drilling to big depth and overabstraction of groundwater 3
  • 4 Deforestation and sealing of land (for construction of streets, pavements, buildings, etc) 4
  • 5 Big dams 5
  • 1 Acid rain
  • 2 Pollution; Degradation of the water quality
  • 3 Groundwater salting
  • 4 Big run-offs to the sea / Floods
  • 5 Downstream ecosystems disruption

Water meter

How important do you think the water cycle is for...
not at all a little so and so very much totally
the ecosystems, the biodiversity and the quality of the environment?

the climate balance of the Earth?

agriculture and the production of goods, in general?

the good health and welfare of humans?

Water meter

I liked this activity

Way forward

Swimming around the internet

Watch this  video  on the water cycle or this one for the groundwater.

Dive in…

Water resources if you want to go out and “record” the water in your place.

Water in the city if you want to discover the processes of the urban water cycle.

Go back to the homepage!

Acting for Climate

Water works through time

Water in the city

The water basins

Desalination

Greywater recycling in practice

Do you know about grey water?

Wastewater treatment

Rainwater Harvesting Systems in practice

Rainwater harvesting

Reduce-Reuse-Recycle

Climate change: Why should I care?

Water resources

The water cycle

Where do I begin?

Acting for Climate

What are the main sectors contributing to climate change? What are countries doing to address it? What can we do for climate collectively at school and at community level?

Continue!

Water works through time

Let's discover the story behind the old fountains, cisterns and aqueducts of our town!

Continue!

Water in the city

What is the "urban water cycle"? Which are the important aspects of water management within a city environment?

Continue!

The water basins

In this activity we learn what a water drainage basin is and why it is important for the experts to study it.

Continue!

Desalination

Let's find out how sea and brackish water can become a freshwater resource!

Continue!

Greywater recycling in practice

How a greywater system is installed? Let's find out!

Continue!

Do you know about grey water?

Let's find out what "greywater” is and how we can use it!

Continue!

Wastewater treatment

In this activity we learn about how wastewater is treated and what we can do with the treated water.

Continue!

Rainwater Harvesting Systems in practice

What are the various types of rainwater harvesting systems? Let's find out more about them!

Continue!

Rainwater harvesting

Can we collect rainwater? And how do we use it? Let's find out!

Continue!

Reduce-Reuse-Recycle

What is our water footprint and how can we reduce it?

Continue!

Climate change: Why should I care?

We discuss the greenhouse effect and the greenhouse gases, how climate change is linked to our lifestyles and ways we can cope with it on a personal level.

Continue!

Water resources

Lt's discover the water resources of our region.

Continue!

The water cycle

Let's travel within the water cycle!

Continue!

Where do I begin?

Let's see why it is important to know about water in our region.

Continue!