Learning with Etoys Imagine, Invent, Insprire

Water Cycle

Have you ever thought about the concept of a cycle? I'll bet you can Imagine words that you think represent cycles. That's a good way to start understanding a new concept. From there go on to the water cycle. You could Invent a simulation for parts of the water cycle to deepen your understanding. Inspire your classmates by showing them your simulations and critiquing theirs.

In this project we use:

text, holder, book, Holders Cursor, Forward by, Start Script, Stop Script, Test, Look Like, increase by, arithmetic , animation


Begin by downloading the project from http://etoysillinois.org/library?sl=2139.

It is very likely learners will come across the water cycle. They can explore the water cycle in an interactive way and animate water raining from a cloud, the condensation process and another part of the water cycle.

To develop a deep understanding of a new concept like cycle, it can be helpful to come up with examples of the new concept and look for a common thread. Have your students access their imaginations and come up with examples of cycles. As they imagine harder and probe their minds, they should eventually come up with several parts of the water cycle. A picture containing parts of the water cycle with no captions is available for them to look at and extract parts of the water cycle. This takes some imagination.

A cycle is an action that repeats itself. Have your learners break up into small groups and brainstorm to come up with words or phrases that contain the word cycle and have them record their phrases in the Etoys project book (page 1).

After the learners have had time, ask them to report what phrases they have. Then click on the right arrow at the top of the book to proceed to the next page to see if they came up with phrases (words) like bicycle, tricycle, motorcycle, recycle, life cycle, business cycle.

Have students show their words to other groups and discuss what makes them cycles. Have them record a final definition of cycle. A cycle has parts that go round and round and repeat themselves. Did they come up with that?

If any of your groups came up with water cycle, they are good. Have them look at the drawing and write down things that are actions involving water. They can go to page 4 if they are stuck where they will find that water forming clouds is a water action. Ask them to find more water actions and record their answer.

Water forms clouds when it evaporates from bodies of water. When the clouds produce rain or snow, the water is returned. That's part of the water cycle. Have the learners discuss how the actions they identified are part of the water cycle.

Here are some of the parts of the water cycle: evaporation, condensation, precipitation, runoff, infiltration, ground water flow, evapotranspiration, snow and ground water storage. It is a good exercise for learners to look up names they don't know. How many of these did your students identify?

Evaporation occurs when hotter molecules near the water's surface gain enough energy to break free from the liquid and enter the air as water vapor. Heat provides the energy needed. The dots represent water vapor, but they are way too big. You can't see water vapor in the air. Have your students play with the script on page 7 to view the animation and understand how the script works so they can invent their own and develop an even deeper understanding of the water cycle.

They should try an animation showing water raining from a cloud (precipitation) and create it on page 9 of the Etoys project. Finally, they should make an animation showing another part of the water cycle and create it on page 11 of the Etoys project. As they work on these animations they should be able to inspire one another with their great ideas.

On page 15 of the Etoys project, there is a more complete picture of the water cycle. Have your students discuss the various actions of water in the water cycle and how this picture represents a cycle.

More Inspiration

Have you ever seen dew on grass in the morning? That is water vapor condensing out of the air onto the grass because it was cold enough overnight. Clouds are made the same way, except the water vapor condenses on tiny, invisible particles in the cooler air high above. As more water vapor condenses on the same drop, the droplet finally becomes visible. Have your learners work in groups to inspire each other to animate condensation. This is harder to do so inspirational ideas from each group member will result in a better project. Have them put the project they invent on page 14 of the Etoys Water Cycles project.