Water Cycle

Water Cycle

Today, your students got to be water travelling through the earth’s water cycle! We learned that at its simplest, the water cycle can be summarized as:

  1. Water vapor in the atmosphere condenses into clouds
  2. Water particles in the clouds grow bigger, and fall to the earth as rain
  3. Rainwater lands in either the ocean, rivers, and lakes, or on the ground
    1. From the ocean, rivers, and lakes, water evaporates and re-enters the atmosphere
    2. On the ground, water infiltrates the earth and joins the groundwater, which eventually flows to the ocean

But during our activity, we discovered that the real water cycle is more complicated. Water can go through mini-cycles back and forth, traveling, for instance, from the atmosphere to the ocean and back to the atmosphere. Water can also become trapped for many years in the ocean, groundwater, or glaciers. It turns out that almost all (more than 96%) of the earth’s water is stored in the oceans; the water we use for drinking and watering crops mostly comes from the tiny fraction that is stored as fresh water in rivers and lakes!

We also watched a fun stop-motion animation video to learn about the water cycle, which you can watch here: https://vimeo.com/11590751

El ciclo del agua

El día de hoy, los estudiantes se convirtieron en “el agua” del “ciclo del agua” de la Tierra. Durante la clase aprendimos que el ciclo del agua puede ser resumido de la siguiente manera:

  1. El vapor de agua en la atmósfera se condensa en nubes
  2. Las partículas de agua en las nubes, aumentan de tamaño y luego caen a la Tierra en forma de lluvia
  3. El agua lluvia “aterriza” en el océanos, los ríos y lagos o en el suelo
    1. Desde el océano, los ríos y lagos; el agua se evapora y vuelve a ingresar a la atmósfera.
    2. En el suelo, el agua se infiltra en la tierra, se une a las aguas subterráneas, las cuales eventualmente fluyen hacia el océano

Durante nuestra actividad descubrimos que en realidad el ciclo del agua es más complejo. El agua puede viajar de ida y de vuelta, en “mini ciclos, como por ejemplo, cuando viaja de la atmósfera al océano y luego de vuelta a la atmósfera. El agua también puede quedarse “atrapada” por muchos años en el océano, en las aguas subterráneas o en los glaciares. De hecho, la mayoría del agua del planeta (más del 96%) está almacenada en los océanos. El agua que tomamos o que usamos para regar los cultivos proviene, en su mayoría, de los lagos y ríos de agua dulce, la cual es una pequeña fracción del agua del planeta.


Lauren Koppel

Lauren earned a Bachelor’s degree with a double major of Biology and Psychology from Clark University, and a Master of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. During her undergraduate years, she worked in a evolutionary neurobiology lab that studied the neural development of annelids (marine worms), with a focus on the sox family of genes. Lauren loves learning about how the world works (including everything from biology to chemistry to engineering), and is passionate about sharing that knowledge and enthusiasm with others. In the past, she has interned at the Museum of Science, where she educated learners of all ages through hands-on activities, games, and experiments. Other science education organizations with which Lauren has worked include The People’s Science, EurekaFest, and Eureka! of Girls Inc. of Worcester. Currently she lives in Boston, where devotes her free time to playing Quidditch, reading sci-fi novels, playing her ukulele, and enjoying all the culinary delights the city has to offer.

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