In science, a model is a representation of an idea, an object, a process or a system. Models are often used when it is difficult to see or experience the real thing. Although we live in the middle of the water cycle, it is difficult for students to see aspects of it in action because they either happen underground or involve invisible processes (transpiration and evaporation) and gravity – a non-contact force.
In this activity, students draw a representation of the water cycle onto resealable bags. The bags are placed in a sunny location and enable students to model how the Sun’s energy and the force of gravity drive aspects of the water cycle.
By the end of this activity, students should be able to:
- draw some of the features of the water cycle
- discuss the role of the Sun in the water cycle
- discuss the role of gravity in the water cycle
- make predictions about what might happen with their model
- explain how their model is similar/different to the actual water cycle.
Download the Word file (see link below).
Another way to visualise underground components of the water cycle is by constructing an aquifer model.
This activity has been developed in partnership with the Waikato Regional Council as part of the Rivers and Us resource.