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Plastic Bag Water Cycle Project
Submitted by Melissa in New Jersey
Third Grade Teacher
Our class recently began learning about the water cycle and this is a hard concept for students to understand just by looking at a picture. So I decided they needed to create their own individual water cycle.
Each student was given their own sandwich bag which was the "earth". The students were then given a permanent marker to clearly draw the steps of the water cycle on the bag.
I also indicated to the students that they needed to draw a water line on their bag. Now that the outside of the bag is complete I bring students to the back table in small groups of 4.
Each student is given a 3oz cup and they are to fill that cup with water from the bucket on the table. I monitor this process very carefully so students do not get out of hand or carried away with the water. The water usually lines up with the water line previously drawn on the bag. I then take blue food coloring and place one drop in each bag.
We then seal the bag and the students shake their bag so the food coloring blends into the water. Each student tapes their water cycle bag to the window inside the classroom. Each morning when the students come in, they are amazed at all of the condensation inside their bags. They love to watch during the day to see the evaporation and precipatation that takes place inside their very own bag.
After a week, the students completed an experiment worksheet and I was amazed to see how much the students really learned from this simple, fun, hands-on activity. I recommend this to teacher's in all grade levels as you can change the activty to meet the needs of your students.
Webmaster note: Thanks for submitting this, Melissa! I love your idea for "building" a water cycle. I'm sure kids understand this concept much better by seeing your demonstration, rather than just seeing the pictures in textbooks. Thanks so much for sharing!