Discover the Incredible Journey of Water through the Water Cycle

Lesson Objectives:
The students will:

  • Recognize solar energy as the main driver for the movement of water on Earth.
  • Describe the movement of water within the water cycle.
  • Identify the forms water takes in the three states of matter. Discuss how water transitions between these states.

Appropriate Grade Level: 3 - 6
Subject(s): earth science, physical science, life science

Introduction: Some of this flipped lesson uses the Project WET student website
Discover Water: the Role of Water in Our Lives to support your teaching about the water cycle. In addition, you will find an exciting array of other activities that you can use for your flipped lesson. Some are online and available for free; some are not. Use as many of them as you would like! Have fun, and thanks for choosing to flip your classroom with Project WET.

Welcome Video:

Student Video:


Activities and Teaching Tools:

  • Anticipatory Set/Hook
    Where does water come from, and where does it go? The earth’s water is constantly being used and reused through the water cycle in an endless movement of water around the planet’s earth systems. Earth’s natural systems constantly move and use water. Powered by the sun and the force of gravity, water as a liquid, gas or solid travels over, under, above and on the surface of the earth in an incredible journey called the water cycle.

    Guiding question: Ask students to list different places water can go as it moves through and around the earth.


  • "The Incredible Journey" Project WET Hands-on Activity
    With a roll of a cube, students simulate the movement of water within the water cycle. To purchase a downloadable copy of the activity, go to our store and add the activity to your cart.


  • Large-Group Discussion Questions
    Guiding questions: What drives the water cycle? What provides the energy to move water from the ocean to the atmosphere? Tell the students that they are surrounded by water all the time in the form of water vapor. Ask students to think of evidence to support this fact. (For example, what happens to their breath when they go outside on a cold winter day?)


  • Engaging Worksheets
    Each content area of, Project WET’s interactive water-education website for children, includes a printable Science Notebook section for students to use on their own, or for the educator to assign. Students can record their own observations on their water cycle Science Notebook pages as they explore the water cycle activities. also provides extensive educator resources for each section. One example that can be found there is the Water Cycle Crossword Puzzle (on pages 5 and 6).


  • Small-Group Activities
    Ask the students to work in pairs at a computer station. Have them play "The Water Cycle" activity by visiting and clicking on the "The Water Cycle Activity" at the top of the menu list on the right side of the screen. After students have played "The Water Cycle" activity, they are ready to take their own incredible journey and play "The Blue Traveler" online game at

    Students can also play the "States of Water" activity
    (, click link in upper right corner). By playing this game, students will learn vocabulary words to help them better understand the water cycle. Encourage students to use the "States of Water" and "Words to Know" Science Notebook pages to make observations and record notes.


  • Online Quiz
    Click on "What Did I Learn" to take the online quiz.


  • In-class Writing Assignments: Critical Thinking
    1. Write a story about a water droplet taking the following journey (this is can also be done in the Write a Story section of the Science Notebook):
      Lake -> Clouds -> Ocean -> Cloud-> River -> Ocean -> Clouds -> Glacier
    2. Have students investigate and write about how water may become polluted and cleaned as it moves through the water cycle.


  • Small Group Projects
    Have students create a photo or video documentary of their community that represents each aspect of the water cycle to submit to the local or school newspaper or to post online to a blog, Tumblr or video site.


  • Reflection Writing
    Have students compare the movement of water during different seasons and at different locations around the globe.


  • Student Assessments
    The student will:
    • Recognize solar energy as the main driver for the movement of water on earth. "The Incredible Journey" activity. ("The Water Cycle" activity on (Small Group Activities), Write a Story, Science Notebook page (In-class Assignments).
    • Describe the movement of water within the water cycle. "The Incredible Journey" activity ("The Blue Traveler" online activity (Small Group Activities), Write a Story, Science Notebook page (In-class Assignments).

      Identify the three states of water and how water transitions between them. The Incredible Journey Activity ("States of Water" activity and "The Blue Traveler" online activity on (Small Group Activities), Write a Story, Science Notebook page (In-class Assignments).


  • Lesson Evaluation (for teachers) and an Opportunity to Enter to Win a Classroom Kit of Project WET Materials
    Please take a few minutes to fill out our evaluation form to help us build better lessons so you can keep on FLIPPING!


  • Correlations to Education Standards


More Tools for Teaching about Water:

    To explore water further with your students, visit Project WET’s popular interactive website for children.


  • Water Cycle Educator Resource
    This comprehensive water cycle resource will help you flip your lesson by giving you background information, pretests and posttests, additional activity ideas and much more.



End Note

Thank You for flipping your classroom with the Project WET Foundation. To learn more about Project WET and its many other innovative resources for water education, please visit We’d love to hear how you use this lesson in your classroom! Please send a message to our executive director, Laurina Lyle, at and share your news, student videos and amazing stories.

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