Earth's water cycle is the continuous loop of water from land to sea and vice versa.
Water is extremely unique, as it can exist in a solid, liquid and gaseous form on our planet.
Boiled down to the most basic steps, the water cycle depends on evaporation, condensation, and precipitation.
Evaporation is the physical process by which a liquid water is transformed to the gaseous state.
Condensation is the physical process by which water transforms from vapor to liquid.
Precipitation is all liquid or solid phase aqueous particles that originate in the atmosphere and fall to the earth's surface.
Water will evaporate from bodies of water, soil, and plants. Then it condenses in the atmosphere into clouds. Precipitation will bring water back to land and sea. This basic process recycles water continuously.
Time: 15 min set up, 60 min observation
- plastic bag (sandwich size)
- sharpies of assorted colors
- hot water
- blue food coloring
- clear tape
- Draw your rendition of the water cycle on the plastic bag with the sharpies(see mine above)
- Add several drops of food coloring and the hot (not boiling) water to the bag
- Tape the water filled bag to a window with direct sun.
- Observe the changes over time. You can even watch the changes between day and night!
Post experiment questions:
- Can you identify evaporation, condensation, and precipitation in the bag?
- How does hot water help to speed up the cycle?
- Where do you experience the water cycle in your life?
- What would change in the world without the water cycle?
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