Free Water Cycle Lesson Plan, Poster and Worksheet March 08 2010

Here's a free, printable Water Cycle (black and white or color) and Water Cycle science experiment worksheet.

Prior Knowledge Assessment:

Students are not allowed to use a dictionary, poster or science book for the prior knowledge assessment. When introducing the term, Water Cycle, ask the students to draw a diagram and define every part of the water cycle on a blank sheet of paper.

Collect and correct the answers. Keep them for your files and design your instruction based upon the students' needs.

Differentiating Instruction:

After the teacher corrects the definition of terms to determine prior knowledge, determining what the students need to know will guide the instruction. We need to keep in mind all of the different learning styles (which can include verbal, visual and kinesthetic). Science experiments are ideal to help all types of learners understand complicated concepts from experience.


Explain the Water Cycle to the students while while referring to the Water Cycle diagram on an overhead projector or computer projection system.

Island in a Bottle Water Cycle Experiment


  • plastic soda bottle
  • nail and hammer
  • sun
  • measuring cup
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 1 cup of sand or small pebbles (aquarium rocks)
  • 4 small rocks, pebbles or large seashells (to hold the bottles in place when on side)
  • ruler
  • notebook paper
  • pencil
  • black, permanent marker
  1. Divide the students into small groups.
  2. Use the hammer and nail to poke one hole in the lid of the bottle (adult).
  3. In the morning (on a hot day), fill the soda bottles with about 2 cups of sand (small pebbles or aquarium rocks).
  4. Fill the soda bottles with water, so that when tipped on the side the sand and rocks come to the surface, like a small island.
  5. Secure the lid on the bottle.
  6. Set the bottle in the sun and use 4 large rocks or pebbles to hold the bottle in place sideways.
  7. Make a dot with a black permanent marker on the side of the bottle to show where the water level is.
  8. Measure the water level and make a note of it.
  9. Students make a hypothesis. What do they think will happen to the water in the bottle?
  10. Each day, the students visit their water bottles (still in the sun), measure the water level and take note on any changes they see.
  11. Discuss the results in small groups.
  12. Each group designs a poster showing their findings.
  13. They present the results to the class.


As long as the sun is directly on the bottles, students will observe evaporation (the amount water to measure with the ruler is decreasing), condensation (on the sides of the bottle) and possibly precipitation (the water dripping back down from the side of the bottle). The sand or pebbles are similar to what mountains do, holding water storage beneath the surface and in streams. Then, falling into the ocean.

Experiment and Posters Designed by Carol Brooke