Beacon Lesson Plan Library

The Water Cycle and Clementine

Paula Sanders
Broward County Schools


After a demonstration and discussion of the water cycle, a water cycle song is learned to the tune of Clementine. Students then draw and label the water cycle in their journals, add vocabulary words to the word wall and complete KWL charts.


The student makes, confirms, and revises predictions.

The student understands that physical changes in the states of matter can be produced by heating and cooling.

The student understands the stages of the water cycle (for example, evaporation, condensation, precipitation).


-Clear Glass Pan and Lid
-Closable Baggie full of Ice Cubes
-Hot Pads or Mitt
-Tap Water
-Large Chart Paper
-Chart Stand
-Music to Clementine
-Appropriate equipment to play the music
-Dry Erase Board and Dry Erase Markers
-White Drawing/Copy Paper
-Markers/Pencils/Sticky Notes
-Access to a Stove or Hot Plate
-Student Journals
-Lap Boards


1. Plan activity for an uninterrupted 40-60 minute block of time
2. Gather materials from materials list.
3. Practice removing the lid carefully above the pan with boiling water so as not to get burned or splash any water on anyone.
4. Check to make sure music is playing correctly and starting at the chorus of the song. (Could be record, casette tape, CD or Midi file.)
5. Have the new words to the song on chart paper on chart stand and markers ready by both the chart tablet and dry erase board.
6. Have KWL chart already made on either chart paper or student individual copies in journals.
7. Have water cycle song already copied onto chart paper
8. Get baggie filled with ice prior to starting the demonstration
9. Have discussion questions on note card(s) so that if you get side tracked you can refer to notes.


Introduce this lesson by telling students that they will be learning about something very important called the water cycle.

1. Instruct students to sit in a semi-circle around the stove or hot plate about three feet away for safety with lapboards, journals, sticky notes and pencils.

2. Fill a pan with approximately 2 inches of water and discuss the three states of matter. List them on the board or chart paper. List characteristics of each. Ask which state the water is currently in. Using sticky notes have a student post the states of matter, solid, liquid and gas on the board to later add to the Word Wall.

3. Turn the burner on high and place the lid on the pan with the baggie of ice resting on the outside top of the lid (water should boil fairly rapidly). Have the students predict what will happen and ask them why. This is a good time to have them write down in their journals what they already know and their hypothesis for the things to come.

4. As the water starts to boil the students will make both written observations and discuss what they see. At this time explain evaporation and what causes evaporation. Ask students to tell you what state of matter the water is now in. Have them refer to the chart and characteristics. Any vocabulary words that come up in the discussion that students might have trouble remembering shoud be written on a sticky and added to the board for further elaboration at the end of the demonstration.

5. Condensation will occur on the underside of the lid. Wait until you see the condensation happening (about 2-3 minutes after the boiling starts and then carefully lift the lid) and have students discuss what they observe on the underside of the lid. Ask what is the purpose of the baggie filled with ice? What state of matter does the ice in the baggie show? Refer back to the chart with the characteristics. Have them journal their responses. Then openly discuss.

6. Place the lid back on the pan and discuss the condensation process and the purpose of the ice cubes.

7. Introduce the word precipitation (if you haven't already done so). Once again lift the lid and discuss precipitation and what causes precipitation.

8. Turn off the stove and remove the baggie of ice and place in sink or bowl. Have students journal as to what they think just happened and what part of the process did the ice cubes help create.

9. Proceed to the chart tablet and students return to their assigned seats and ask who is familiar with the song Clementine?

10. Then play the music and get the tune in the student’s mind.

11. Now go over the “new” version of Clementine (Water Cycle Song). (See associated file.)

12. After learning the Water Cycle Song the students and teacher discuss the important components of the water cycle and how each part of the teacher demonstration represents each part of the water cycle in nature. Teacher may highlight or underline important words on the chart. If words are not already on sticky notes add those discussed to the board. Have the students complete their KWL charts in their journals.

13. Hand out plain white paper and ask the students to draw their versions of the water cycle and label the important components.

14. After circulating about the room and checking to see if the students now have a correct understanding of the water cycle, draw or redraw the textbook version of the water cycle with appropriate labels on the dry erase board. (See associated file.)

15. Students check their drawings with that of the teacher and make modifications where necessary.


Personal KWL chart or journal entries should be collected and scored. Each student should have personal reflections recorded along with knowledge gained in regard to the following criteria:
- understanding the stages of the water cycle (evaporation, condensation, precipitation, sun)
- water can be changed from one state to another by heating and cooling
- physical changes take place when water is heated and cooled
- understanding of a cycle

Student drawings of the Water Cycle can be scored- each student should have all components labeled as per textbook (teacher) drawing. (See Attached File) Evidence of predictions that were made and then corrected and revised should be noted individually and student conference arranged if misconceptions are still present. Teacher would also reflect on discussions that took place during the demonstration portion of the lesson to identify those students who could still have misconceptions of the Water Cycle concept.


This activity can be done with a diverse student population. Since music, art, discussion and personal experience are used in the presentation of this lesson; one of these modalities should provide concept knowledge for everyone.
A PowerPoint presentation can be built where the students come and connect the terms with the appropriate pictures on a slide when projected on a white dry erase board.

Web Links

(must have Flash Player installed on computer)
Brain Pop

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