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Where's the Water?

You just got home from school. You grab a cookie and a some milk. You notice on the carton that the milk expirated last week. The milk is old. You decide to have a glass of water instead. Have you ever wondered how old that water is?

Water has never left the Earth's atmosphere. It is recycled over and over and over and has been for millions of years. That water you are drinking was around when the dinosaurs roamed the Earth! It has taken many forms since then.

The Earth has a very limited supply of water, so every drop goes through what is called the “Water Cycle”. The processes that make up the water cycle are:

  • Evaporation – Heat from the sun warms up the water and turns it into vapor or steam which goes into the air.
  • Condensation – Water vapor in the air cools and turns back into liquid forming clouds.
  • Precipitation – So much water condenses in the clouds that it becomes heavy and drops back to earth as rain, hail, sleet, or snow. Liquid water collects in oceans, lakes, streams and underground only to go through the process again and again.
Water has no expiration date! Your grandchildren could one day drink the same water you are drinking today!
Water, Water, Everywhere It's Raining! It's Pouring!
Here Comes the Sun! Moving On
Hit the Shower! Build It! The Water Cycle Project
The Heat Is On! The Water Supply
The Condensed Version  

Search the Pioneer "eMedia" library for the video "Water Cycle: Earth’s Science Collection: The Importance of Water". This video helps explain how the Water Cycle works.

Download the plug-ins: Get Adobe Acrobat Reader , and Get Quicktime Player. (The QuickTime plug-in is needed to play sounds and movies correctly.)

Want to share photos of you or your friends doing this activity? Send it in an e-mail with the following information:

  1. The title of the activity
  2. The URL (Internet address)
  3. Your name.

Remember that no pictures can be used that show student faces or student names on it. 

Teachers should view the Teacher Site Map to relate Sci-ber text and the USOE 4th grade science core.

Updated October 24, 2008 by: Glen Westbroek

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