Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Florida Water Cycle

Carlos Lopez


Discover the water cycle process that affects Florida. Students observe the water cycle in both a graphic presentation and a demonstration to learn about the stages and sequencing of the water cycle.


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


-1 Cup gravel (small) can be bought anywhere they have fish supplies.
-1 Cup gravel (large) can be bought anywhere they have fish supplies.
-2 qt.Clear bowl, jar, or vase that can be tightly sealed. Preferably made of glass.
-1 Heat lamp
-1 Cup of water
-1 Computer
-An LCD projector or computer attached to a TV (optional)
-A display board (chalk, marker, or chart paper).
-Writing instruments of several different colors (chalk or marker)
-Video camera to display demonstration on LCD or TV (optional)
-PowerPoint presentation of water cycle (see attached file: Florida Water Cycle).


Before the lesson prepare water cycle demonstration.
1. Place large pebbles first on bottom of 2qt. clear glass bowl followed by smaller pebbles.
2. Fill bowl with a one cup of water.
3. Cover top of bowl. (Be sure it is a tight seal).
4. Place heat lamp close to bowl.
5. Turn on heat lamp momentarily to check equipment for proper operation.
6. Turn off heat lamp.
7. Position camera, zoom in close to be able to view fine details, focus, and check display connection and transmission.
8. Cover entire demonstration area with some form of cover in order not to distract students (Check to be sure heat lamp is off and it is cool!)
9. Install and run PowerPoint presentation. Check Display and adjust as necessary.
10. If creating transparencies instead of running PowerPoint follow the directions listed below.
(a) Open PowerPoint presentation: Florida Water Cycle.
(b) Left click on the File button.
(c) Left click on the print button.
(d) On the print window select slides from the print what field (lower left side).
(e) It is preferable to print on a color laser printer. If none is available you must select grayscale, conversely if printing on a color printer make sure grayscale is not checked.
(f) Click and be sure a check mark appears by scale to fit paper option.
(g) Click and be sure the all button is filled in the print range section.
(h) Finally click on the ok button.
11. Be sure to uncover display and turn on heat lamp just before doing the water cycle demonstration.


1. Make a KWL chart, on display board, chart paper, etc.

2. Begin lesson by asking students questions about rain. Ask students the following questions and record student answers on KWL chart:
What is rain?
Where does rain come from?
What effect does temperature, elevation, and land forms have on rain?
What else affects rain?
What else falls from the sky?

3. Describe to the students the water cycle process using the PowerPoint presentation or overhead tranparency. (See teacher preparation for transparency directions.)

4. Frequently refer back to KWL chart and make associations with each part of the process (evaporation, condensation, precipitation, and percolation / runoff) discussed on the KWL chart.

5. Refocus students' attention to water cycle demonstration area.

6. Explain water cycle demonstration setup.
(a) The different size gravel is used to replicate the Florida aquifer.
(b) The student will be able to see the water recharge the aquifer when the demonstration reaches its final stage.
(c) Explain to the student that the heat lamp is representative of the sun.
(d) The water will vaporize, condensation will occur, followed by precipitation.
(e) Review final PowerPoint slide.

7. Perform water cycle demonstration.
(a) Once the top of bowl has become saturated with the condensation the water will begin to sweat down the inside of the bowl.
(b) Wait a few minutes after the sweat has begun, then turn off the heat lamp. Please be very careful, both bowl and lamp can be very hot!

8. While the demonstration is in process, ask students to indicate when each stage of the water cycle process is achieved.

9. Once the demonstration is complete, review one final time with the last PowerPoint slide.

10. Turn off slide then, instruct students on the water cycle diagram requirements.
(a) The water cycle diagram needs to include labels and definitions for each stage in the water cycle.
(b) The diagram can be drawn and/or they can cut and paste pictures from any source.

11. Collect water cycle diagrams and formatively assess student understanding of the water cycle.

12. Confer individually with any students whose diagrams indicate misconception. Provide feedback, as necessary. Those students that got it right should be given affirmative feedback. For example: “ You have the 4 stages in just the right order. Great job!”


Assess students as they correctly replicate (draw, cut and paste pictures) a water cycle diagram with labels and definitions.

Students should properly label the diagram with definitions and have each stage in the appropriate order (evaporation, condensation, precipitation, and percolation/runoff).


1. To address the needs of ESOL/ ESL, ESE students, the following method can be used to extend the lesson.
(a) After completing the demonstration, create small heterogeneous groups.
(b) Instruct the students to discus amongst themselves the water cycle process and the meaning of each scientific word used.

Attached Files

A PowerPoint presentation on the Florida Water Cycle.     File Extension: ppt

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