Water Cycle Model - STEM Activity & Assessment

Rated 4.93 out of 5, based on 137 reviews
137 Ratings
Sarah's STEM stuff
Grade Levels
5th - 8th, Homeschool
Formats Included
  • PDF
9 pages
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Sarah's STEM stuff

What educators are saying

My students were engaged throughout the entire lesson. Love that it's STEM based. It gave my students freedom to explore different ways of representing the water cycle.
I teach K-6 STEM and needed something to introduce my 6th grader's to STEM. This was perfect! They had so much fun with this lesson. Thank you so much!
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Bring the water cycle to life right in your classroom! In this engaging STEM activity, students apply their knowledge to design and build a working model of the processes that happen during the water cycle. Students follow the engineering design cycle to plan, build, test, and improve their models. After completing the activity, students complete a quick assessment. Designed for middle school students but can be used with upper elementary with teacher support.

This is definitely a student favorite!! Students have some amazing learning moments during their group conversations and trial and error to really understand what causes each phase of the water cycle.

Now includes a digital copy and directions for students to complete the challenge at home.

NGSS Aligned

MS-ESS2-4. Develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth's systems driven by energy from the sun and the force of gravity.

5-PS1-1 Develop a model to describe that matter is made of particles too small to be seen.


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ "LOVED this activity. Students were very engaged and it took thinking to the next level. This was exactly what I was looking for. I did not have heat lamps for students to use and my kids were still able to complete this challenge with no problems"

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ "My students LOVED this challenge! They were engaged from beginning to end. Thank you! You should have seen the ideas they came up with. :) Thanks so much! Will absolutely use this again!"

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Total Pages
9 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
1 hour
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth’s systems driven by energy from the sun and the force of gravity. Emphasis is on the ways water changes its state as it moves through the multiple pathways of the hydrologic cycle. Examples of models can be conceptual or physical. A quantitative understanding of the latent heats of vaporization and fusion is not assessed.
Develop a model using an example to describe ways the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and/or atmosphere interact. Examples could include the influence of the ocean on ecosystems, landform shape, and climate; the influence of the atmosphere on landforms and ecosystems through weather and climate; and the influence of mountain ranges on winds and clouds in the atmosphere. The geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere are each a system. Assessment is limited to the interactions of two systems at a time.
Develop a model to describe that matter is made of particles too small to be seen. Examples of evidence could include adding air to expand a basketball, compressing air in a syringe, dissolving sugar in water, and evaporating salt water. Assessment does not include the atomic-scale mechanism of evaporation and condensation or defining the unseen particles.


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