The Water Cycle in a Bowl
This experiment will show children a more concrete example of a water cycle. It can take some time so it is best to do this experiment after you have had experiments with faster outcomes or while you are doing other experiments.
• Water cycle
• Hydrologic Cycle
• Large bowl (clear works best so children can look in without tiping anything)
• Small margarine or yogurt container
• Two small stones
• Plastic wrap
• Large elastic band
1. Introduce the materials to the children and ask them to problem solve how these materials will help learn about the Water Cycle.
2. With the children helping, place the small container into the large bowl and weight it with one of the stones.
3. Pour in water gently into the big bowl without getting any in the container. Water that is room temperature works fine and you can have the children touch the water to set the stage for their observations.
4. Cover the large bowl with plastic wrap and secure with the elastic band.
5. Place the second stone in the middle of the plastic wrap just over top of the small container.
6. Place the bowl in a sunny spot for a few days, checking every day.
Questions to ask:
What do you think will happen to the water?
How long do you think it will take for the water to evaporate?
Do you think evaporation needs hot or cold water?
What is the sun doing to the water?
Where do you think the droplets of water will go?
How much water do you think will collect in the small container?
Things to do:
It is important to give children something to do while this experiment is going on over a few days. Start by having the children document the beginning, middle and end of the experiment with drawings.
Keep a chart up to mark down what predictions the children make about the experiment and also on what the outcome was.
You can expand this experiment by providing several different bowls of water cycles. Place one bowl in a shady spot where it will not get any sun and exam both bowls to see if there are any differences in the amount of collection and condensation.
You could also place food coloring into the water to find out if it affects the water cycle. Is the vapor colored? Are the droplets of water colored? Is the water that is collected colored? If not, why isn’t it?
Note: This is the last experiment in the Water Cycle series.