patrick r murphy n.
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Patrick R Murphy. Water cycle in a bottle. Objectives and Standards. TSWBAT Name the phase of water within each location of the water cycle Trace a path through the water cycle Diagram the water cycle. Illinois State Learning Standards:

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objectives and standards
Objectives and Standards
    • Name the phase of water within each location of the water cycle
    • Trace a path through the water cycle
    • Diagram the water cycle
  • Illinois State Learning Standards:
    • Stage I 11A 2: Design an inquiry investigation which addresses proposed hypothesis, determining variables and control groups, incorporating all procedural and safety precautions, materials and equipment handling directions and data-collection formatting preparations, or securing approval for all procedures, equipment use and safety concerns.
    • Stage I 12E 2: Apply scientific inquiries or technological designs to examine Earth's hydrosphere and its changes, documenting impact of large-scale weather systems from short- and long-term weather reports, or predicting climatic conditions for geographic settings.
  • There are many abstract processes within Biology and many more diagrams that try and depict them. Many students learn by doing and there is no better way to understand the water cycle than by making your own. It is all well and good to try and read the famous diagram that shows the water cycle going from the ocean to the mountains, but if you are not a visual or spatial learner than you might have a tough time reading the diagram. This lab is designed to get students to not only construct a terrarium, but part of an environment. It will help in understanding parts of an environment and how it all works together. Furthermore, it will show students how the water moves through an environment which is a diagram of a section of the water cycle.
  • First the students will draw a line around the soda bottle about six inches from the bottom and cut the bottle into two pieces.
  • Each student will then place an inch of gravel, half an inch of activated charcoal, about 2-3 inches of soil, and a plant inside the bottom half of their bottle.
  • Once that is complete, each student will then water the soil so that it is moist but not soaking wet.
  • Finally, they will place the top half back on top of the bottom half making sure to squeeze the bottom half inside the top half of the bottle.
  • They will then place the terrariums on the window sill and check on them the next day.

The reason why I chose this approach is because when I did this experiment as a high school student I thought it was fun. I really enjoyed creating a mini environment and watching my plant grow. I think students will like this activity because they don’t have to understand the water cycle as a whole, but just a little piece of it. This will hopefully make it easier to understand.

  • How to make a soda bottle terrarium . (2010). Storm The Castle -Creativity, Epic Fantasy, Classical Guitar, video game making, writing, dioramas, terrariums, and more. Retrieved September 20, 2010, from
  • Illinois Learning Standards - Science Descriptors - Stage I. (n.d.). Illinois State Board of Education Home Page. Retrieved September 20, 2010, from
  • Science: Biology > The Water Cycle. (n.d.). lesson plans, teaching resources, education, teacher tips. Retrieved September 20, 2010, from