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close this bookEnvironmental Education in the Schools (Peace Corps, 1993)
close this folderActivities, activities and more activities
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentUsing the senses
View the documentAdopt-a-tree
View the documentDuplication
View the documentMusic/rap/dance/drama
View the documentGarbage shuffle
View the documentThe rain forest revue
View the documentThe all new water review
View the documentOriginal skit
View the documentBotswana adaptation
View the documentA conservation drama - Trouble in Tikonkowo
View the documentThe awful eight
View the documentRole plays and other simulations
View the documentThe commons dilemma
View the documentKey mangrove: A system in conflict
View the documentChange in a mangrove ecosystem
View the documentKey mangrove: A conflict of interests
View the documentPoints of view
View the documentMining on the moon
View the documentMining on the moon: Part 1
View the documentMining on the moon: Part 2
View the documentThe reading and writing connection
View the documentFolk stories
View the documentSelected quotes
View the documentA heated controversy
View the documentA heated controversy: Part 1
View the documentA heated controversy: Part 2
View the documentAn environmental education tool - The creative journal
View the documentCubatao: New life in the Valley of Death
View the documentA letter from the village health worker - Clean water for elemit
View the documentLife without oil
View the documentPoetry
View the documentAway with waste!
View the documentAway on the bay
View the documentPicture poetry
View the documentShades of meaning
View the documentPoetry trail
View the documentPoetry trail activity sheet
View the documentCartoons, fantasy, and creative
View the documentThe rare scare
View the documentCartoons and headlines
View the documentHoley ozone!
View the documentGuided imagery
View the documentFlight of fantasy
View the documentRiparian retreat
View the documentWater wings
View the documentDemonstrations
View the documentOur watery world
View the documentKeep on truckin'
View the documentHow do polyps build reefs?
View the documentInvestigations and experiments
View the documentAcid tests
View the documentAcid demonstrations: Part I
View the documentAcid demonstrations: Part II
View the documentAcid test follow-up
View the documentHow can an oil spill be cleaned up?
View the documentThe case for case studies
View the documentAre we creating deserts? - The Sahel famine
View the documentStudent information - Famine in the Sahel: A case study
View the documentDesertification
View the documentSustainable development
View the documentDefining sustainable development: Part 1
View the documentDefining sustainable development: Part 2
View the documentCase study: United States: Part 3
View the documentCase study: Thailand: Part 4
View the documentCase study: Tanzania: Part 5
View the documentMoral dilemmas
View the documentThe flying foxes of Samoa
View the documentHarry Carter's grain company
View the documentScenario: Harry Carter's grain company: Part 1
View the documentScenario: Harry Carter's grain company: Part 2
View the documentScenario: Harry Carter's grain company: Part 3
View the documentHard choices
View the documentStarving nation
View the documentConcept mapping and webbing
View the documentAqua words
View the documentInfusion activity for environmental health
View the documentIssue webbing
View the documentField trips
View the documentAt the dump and postcards from the field
View the documentThe garbage dump field trip worksheet
View the documentSeaside adventure
View the documentDebates
View the documentTough choices
View the documentThe issues
View the documentSurveys
View the documentGlass and metal waste questionnaire
View the documentModel questionnaire
View the documentData summary sheet
View the documentRivers through time
View the documentWhat do people think?
View the documentGames
View the documentPollution bingo
View the documentMammal know-it-all
View the documentMammal questions
View the documentBat and moth
View the documentBranching out: Bat math
View the documentThe urban explosion
View the documentFour urban activities
View the documentVandalism: Disordered communications
View the documentFlooded streets
View the documentGetting outside
View the documentExpanding sensory perception
View the documentWeather scavenger hunt
View the documentInsect bingo
View the documentResearch/guest speakers
View the documentDesert quest
View the documentValues and attitudes
View the documentRare bird eggs for sale
View the documentWhat would you do?
View the documentAgricultural practices (A)
View the documentAgricultural practices (B)
View the documentWhy save rain forests?
View the documentThinking about thinking skills
View the documentThe great swamp debate
View the documentGo with the flow
View the documentDragonfly pond
View the documentCooperative learning activities
View the documentJungle sleuths
View the documentAnswers to scenarios
View the documentSuper-sleuth scenarios: Part 1
View the documentSuper-sleuth scenarios: Part 2
View the documentWe can all be experts
View the documentExpert cards: Part 1
View the documentExpert cards: Part 2
View the documentRaters of the planet ECO
View the documentLiven up your classroom
View the documentA web on the wall
View the documentBuilding the bulletin board
View the documentMembers of the web
View the documentA look at four food chains
View the documentThe interdisciplinary connection
View the documentPollution pathways
View the documentTracking the radiation (day 2- day 10)
View the documentPollution pathways (A)
View the documentPollution pathways (B)
View the documentSizing up reserves
View the documentSizing up reserves (A)
View the documentScience/technology/society
View the documentChallenge technology
View the documentTechnology challenges
View the documentAdditional challenges (developed for the South Pacific)
View the documentThe ''good'' bacteria controversy
View the documentTaking action for the planet

The all new water review

Learn about the water cycle and the role of people in it.

Primary, intermediate


Copies of the skit on pages 117 and 118

"And how did the water get into the pond?" queried the trail guide

"Rain filled up the pond," chorused the class.

Farther down the trail, she asked, "Where will the water in this stream go if we follow it far enough?"

"To the ocean," they responded.

"Where does our drinking water come from-the water you use for brushing your teeth and washing your hands?"


"The underground river?" a brave soul hesitantly replied. Most elementary children have some understanding of the water cycle. They know that rain falls on the mountains and flows through rivers to the ocean, where it evaporates and is blown back to the rain cloud. Rather they know as much as that standard picture tells them. Few students, however, are able to put themselves into the picture. They see tap water appear and disappear, but not, in their minds, as a part of the same cycle.


When the children finally learn of the inseparability of the single aquatic system, they wonder in amazement if the water they drink might have been splashed about by a dinosaur. And when they realize that their drinking water might have been drunk before, they squirm in disbelief until someone declares he'll never drink again. Such responses indicate they've misunderstood the very basic notion of cycling water-all water. Although the queasy groans and giggles might be a normal initial response, students should move beyond this reaction toward an understanding of the human part of the water cycle.

To achieve this goal, our standard description of the water cycle should not neglect people and our use of water. Students need that background information to understand the basics of water shortages, water pollution, and water conservation.


This skit introduces children to their role in the water cycle. It begins with the action most familiar to children. "I am a person who turns on the faucet and gets a drink." Each child then plays a role proceeding backward through the cycle, from pipes to a pump and a water purification plant (for the city cycle), on to a river or the ground water, and eventually to rain, clouds, and the sun. At this point, children often believe they are finished and need to be reminded that this does not yet form a cycle. Up to the front of the room come three more students to play the roles of toilet, sewer pipe, and waste water treatment plant. As each person is added to the line, the chant (see cards, following pages) begins again, reinforcing the cycle.

The skit physically involves students as well; when the classroom is full of a living water cycle, you can form circles of cycling water with different groups of children. The waste water treatment plant can release water to the river, or evaporate some, with the sun's help, to the clouds.

Communities that have both a municipal water supply and individual wells have the added opportunity to compare both cycles. Ground water becomes the focal point of a water source for a well and a repository for waste water from the septic tank.

"If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water."

-Loren Eisley


To produce the skit, choose the most appropriate sequence of statements for your area and make a card for each one. Most cards will have two statements, the first to be read only once, when the child enters the cycle. The second statement is read for each turn after that. The statements can be written on one side of the card, with the name of the element (pipe, rain, and so on) written in large letters on the other so the students in the audience can see a cycle forming.

The final sequence in the country cycle, for example, would go as follows:

I am the sun that evaporates the water/that hangs in the cloud/till it falls as rain to the ground where it/recharges the ground water and moves slowly toward a well/where it is pumped from the ground and/carried through the house/and I turn on the faucet and get a drink!

Adding on the rest of the cycle, the children will continue:

Then the water is flushed down the toilet...and carried by sewer pipes

...and into a septic tank where micro-organisms decompose many of the waste products and return the water to the ground.

The septic tank person could join hands with the ground water person to make a physical circle in the room. Ask students to ponder exceptions and deviations from this cycle. What happens when you water house plants with well water? What if you fill up a small swimming pool? If you pour a toxic chemical down the drain, where does it go? Where in relation to your septic tank should a well be located? When the ground water becomes polluted, how is it cleaned?

Many of the statements for a typical municipal water cycle are the same as the country cycle. Of course, cards may be added or altered to be more accurate for your own community. Some communities pump drinking water directly from rivers (Ann Arbor, Michigan; Washington D.C.; and Wheeling, West Virginia) or from lakes (Appleton, Wisconsin and Chicago, Illinois) rather than from ground water. The river and lake cards can be substituted into the cycle and the neighboring cards altered slightly to accommodate them.

And the results? Amid the smiles, giggles, grins, and squeals, students remember their water cycle. The repetitive cadence serves as a drill for the message and lays a foundation for an awareness of our water use. Students begin to see themselves in the water cycle, and that is a healthier place to be than outside of it.