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Water Cycle. Our project is designed to enhance current units and curriculums that teach ecology and the water cycle Tanya Sterba, Cheshire High School, Cheshire, CT, tsterba@cheshire.k12.ct.us Amanda Kostecke, Peabody Veteran’s Memorial High School, Peabody, MA, A_Kostecke@hotmail.com.

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water cycle
Water Cycle
  • Our project is designed to enhance current units and curriculums that teach ecology and the water cycle
  • Tanya Sterba, Cheshire High School, Cheshire, CT, tsterba@cheshire.k12.ct.us
  • Amanda Kostecke, Peabody Veteran’s Memorial High School, Peabody, MA, A_Kostecke@hotmail.com
  • This unit covers ecology and focuses on the water cycle component
  • Teachers can use materials in this unit to enhance their traditional methods with technology, our intention is not to replace your labs or assessments
  • Our project provides students with a “hands on” learning approach to water as it changes states through the use of mini-projects and computer simulations
intended audiences
Intended Audiences
  • Introductory biology students in the 9th and 10th grades
  • Unit incorporates Connecticut K-12 Content Standards and Massachusetts Science Frameworks
  • Students must master these standards to pass state exams (CAPT, MCAS)
adjustments and adaptations
Adjustments and Adaptations
  • Our unit can be enhanced by incorporating terrarium or hydroponics projects
  • Rubrics can be modified to accommodate varying academic levels
  • Pacing modifications can easily be made to accelerate advanced groups
Technology Rich

Students can perform simulations at individual stations

Individual opportunities for data analysis

More use of Excel for graphs and charts

Limited Technology

Simulations can be used as demonstrations

Virtual movies can enhance lecture and discussions

Incomplete notes can be used to keep students on task during simulations

placement in the curriculum
Placement in the Curriculum
  • Teachers can use this unit to enhance their traditional methods of teaching ecology with technology
  • The simulabs are provided for enrichment, they do not have to replace wet labs
  • Students will need previous instruction on how manipulate the simulab programs
  • Lesson is intended for a length of five days
  • Preparation and clean-up time required for this unit are limited according to available materials (see lab write-ups for more detail)
  • Suggestions to increase efficiency are given in the teacher notes
  • Follow-up activities can include incorporation of other simulabs throughout the curriculum as well as post lab questions for the simulabs
electronic equipment
Electronic Equipment
  • At least one computer with VMDL software and TV with appropriate connections or a multimedia projector
  • Computer labs with VMDL software on each computer (we suggest one computer for every one to two students)
  • Materials are outlined within teacher notes and student labs
  • Cost is minimized by availability of in-home materials (ie. 2 liter soda bottles, matches, balloons)
  • Laboratory exercises can be performed in a regular classroom
  • More information can be located at http://polymer.bu.edu/vmdl/
internet resources and shared materials
Internet Resources and Shared Materials
  • The Fireproof Balloon: http://scifun.chem.wisc.edu/HOMEEXPTS/FIREBALLOON.html
  • Phase change activities: http://www-k12.atmos.wshington.edu/k12/pilot/water_cycle/grabber2.html
  • Terrarium Ideas: http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/262/2495
  • Hydroponics OnLine: http://www.hydroponicsonline.com
goals and objectives
Goals and Objectives

Massachusetts Frameworks:

6.1    Explain how biotic and abiotic factors cycles in

an ecosystem (water, carbon, oxygen,


6.2    Use a food web to identify and distinguish

producers, consumers, and decomposers, and

explain the transfer of energy through trophic


goals and objectives12
Goals and Objectives

Connecticut K-12 Content Standards:

  • 3.)    Students will understand that all organisms in the
  • biosphere are linked to each other and to their
  • physical environments by the transfer and
  • transformation of matter and energy.

8.) Students will understand the water cycle including

water transfers, the distribution and characteristics of

water, and its influences on human activity.

enabling objectives
Enabling Objectives
  • Students will identify the levels of organization that ecologists study.
  • Students will identify the source of energy for life processes.
  • Students will trace the flow of energy through living systems.
  • Students will evaluate the efficiency of energy transfer among organisms in an ecosystem.
  • Students will explain how nutrients are important in living systems.
enabling objectives focus on water lessons
Enabling ObjectivesFocus on Water Lessons
  • Students will describe how matter cycles among the living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem.
  • Students will manipulate simulations that examines how water is affected by its environment (heat energy).
  • Students will develop presentations associated with components of the water cycle.
instructional activities day one introduction to water
Instructional ActivitiesDay One: Introduction to Water
  • Fireproof Balloon activity – students will observe that properties of water will fireproof a rubber balloon
  • Teacher-led discussion on water, what it is, what forms it can be found in, etc.
  • Close day with a discussion of the Fireproof Balloon
  • Online Viewers See: Teacher Notes 1, 2, & 3 and Fireproof Balloon Activity
day two introduction to sims
Day Two: Introduction to Sims
  • Teacher will demonstrate and explain the use of Virtual Molecular Dynamics Laboratory software
  • Students will perform simulations that model the balloons with and without water
  • More discussion of water, now discussing the water cycle and phase changes
  • Students will share their prior knowledge of water with classmates
  • Online Viewers See: VMDL Balloon Simulations
day three states of matter
Day Three: States of Matter
  • Students will use VMDL to observe the states of matter and follow water through its phase changes
  • Continued discussion of the water cycle
  • Teacher will describe Mini-Projects and procedure for the next two days
  • Online Viewers See: VMDL States of Matter and Mini-Projects
day four water cycle centers
Day Four: Water Cycle Centers
  • Students will be assigned to groups of four, and one person from each group will complete an activity at the center of their choice
  • Centers include: Evaporation, Condensation, Precipitation, and Saturation
  • Students will answer questions for their particular center and will prepare a ½ page summary and a visual for presentations on the following day
  • Online Viewers See: Teacher Notes 4 & 5
day five presentations
Day Five: Presentations
  • Groups will be given no more than ten minutes at the beginning of class to compile all of their visuals and summaries to prepare for a presentation
  • Presentations will probably be short – Teacher should be prepared to introduce the Nutrient Cycles
  • Since this unit is designed to coincide with your standard plans, your original assessments should work nicely
  • An open-ended quiz on the water cycle is included in the unit (See: Water Cycle Quiz)
  • We have provided rubrics for the Water Cycle presentations and they represent embedded assessments for project
  • To view these rubrics, see: Water Cycle Presentation Rubric and Water Cycle Rubric - Excel