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Here students create a water cycle diorama, a rainfall journal, and a photo story of the water cycle and weather systems


Computers & Internet, Science  



Title – Water Cycle and Weather Systems
By – A. Walden
Primary Subject – Science
Secondary Subject – Computers & Internet Grade Level – 3

Unit Focus:


Essential Understanding/Question:

    Water is essential to life and even our weather. Without water, how would our world and your life be affected?


    Students will learn about the water cycle as an essential element to understanding weather and weather systems.


  • Students will create a diorama of the water cycle in cooperative groups.
  • Students will analyze rainfall and research, and track thunderstorms online.
  • Students will present all information learned in this research project in a Photo Story presentation with at least five slides.

Alabama Course of Study Standards Addressed:

      Science – 3rd Grade:

        3.) Describe ways energy from the sun is used.

        10.) Determine habitat conditions that support plant growth and survival.

        12.) Identify conditions that result in specific weather phenomena, including thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes.

        • Identifying cloud types associated with specific weather patterns
        • Identifying positive and negative effects of weather phenomena
        • Identifying technology used to record and predict weather, including thermometers, barometers, rain gauges, anemometers, and satellites
        • Explaining symbols shown on a weather map
        • Organizing weather data into tables or charts

      Technology – 3rd Grade:

        2.) Use various technology applications, including word processing and multimedia software.

        8.) Collect information from a variety of digital sources.

        9.) Use technology tools to organize, interpret, and display data.

      12.) Create a product using digital tools.


  • Review the water cycle’s vocabulary (precipitation, condensation, evaporation, etc).
  • Conduct a discussion about weather, rainfall, and the water cycle.


      Day 1:

      • Use Socratic questioning techniques to bring students up to speed about the water cycle and weather.
      • Ask students questions such as,
        • “What’s the purpose of the water cycle?
        • Water cycle stages?
        • Who benefits?
        • Why is the water cycle important?”
      • After reviewing, put the students into small groups of three.
      • Assign the groups a writing story about the adventures a drop of water has through the water cycle. Share a few examples to get their brains going.

      Day 2:

      • Discuss the water cycle.
      • Divide the children into groups of three or four.
      • Have them construct a diorama of the water cycle using anything that they can find (yarn, paper, paperclips, classroom supplies, pencils, and anything else you can find to spare)
      • The students will label each part of the cycle.
      • In closing, discuss rainfall and precipitation.
      • Homework:
        • The project is to be 3-D and done in a box. They are not allowed to turn in any drawings.
        • Tell them to use recycled things from around the house. Tell them to look in the junk drawer, etc. They can use things like plastic or paper grocery bags, cotton balls, yarn, beads, sponges, etc.
        • Students must label the project with the correct parts of the water cycle.
        • The students will use this 3-D box in their presentation at the end of this unit.

      Day 3 & 4:

      • Students will measure rainfall at their house and at school. Each student will reflect in a rainfall journal.
      • They can state a hypothesis of a rainfall estimation of yearly rainfall in Alabama, how much rain does it take to flood? Students will record a hypothesis.
      • After going through the steps of the experiment, analyzing results, and small cooperative group discussions, students will draw conclusions about what has happened and conclude their experiment.
      • Open, full-group discussion will follow concerning the results and conclusions, and misconceptions will be corrected about the water cycle.
      • Students will research the internet for tracking current thunderstorms on using the active Doppler radar.
      • Students will record all of their findings from research in their rainfall journal.

    Day 5:

    • Then the students are going to put the pictures of their personal 3-D box and personal rainfall journal, and Doppler tracking experiment into Photo Story.
    • Students will type the text in and record their voices reading the text for their presentation of the water cycle, weather, and thunderstorms.
    • The student’s presentation must include at least five slides with precise information about their learning experience.
    • If time allows, students can also act, as if they were a meteorologist for a day during their presentations.
    • Also, students can create a weather map from their rainfall journals to show during their Photostory presentation.


  • Teacher observation of knowledge about the water cycle
  • Rubric of Photo Story presentation

E-Mail A. Walden !

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