Standard textbook illustrations of the water cycle can lead students to believe that the pathways in which water travels through the water cycle are simple and circular when in reality, such pathways are long, indirect and often complicated by human interferences. Many students do not have the ability to transfer the concepts portrayed in these diagrams to their own communities and lives.
The following activities (*) replace the traditional way of teaching the water cycle by identifying how surfaces in the schoolyard influence the pathways water takes after a precipitation event. By exploring the water cycle as it occurs at their school, the learning becomes place-based and relevant to the culture of the school. This kit is appropriate for grades 4th through 12th and is available for loan from the rangers at Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park.
*These lessons were adapted from the work of Caplan et al. 2013.
Schoolyard Water Budget STEM Kit Tutorials
- Schoolyard Water Budget STEM Kit Use Instructions (complete teacher guide)
- Schoolyard Water Budget STEM Kit Clean-Up & Repacking Instructions
- Schoolyard Water Budget STEM Kit Material List
- Schoolyard Water Budget STEM Kit Supplier List
Schoolyard Water Budget STEM Kit Resources
- Evaporation Instruction Booklet
- Precipitation Instruction Booklet
- Infiltration Instruction Booklet
- Runoff Instruction Booklet
- Lesson Timeline
- Lesson Materials
- Material suppliers
- Inclinometer Template
- Rulers marked in tenths
- Infiltrometer Construction Instructions
- Team Data Templates
- Challenge Discussion Slides
Other Helpful Resources
- Daily Water Budget Model This interactive lets you experiment with a simple water budget
- CoCoRaHS This is a citizen science program that focuses on precipitation.
- Water and the Environment Booklet This is a booklet that covers the water cycle in an easy to understand way.
- Water Cycle Video This is a very funny video that you can show in your classroom to introduce the water cycle.
Borrowing the Schoolyard Water Budget STEM Kit
Kona, Hawaiʻi Educators should contact the park to make arrangements. To help us evaluate the usefulness of this activity, please complete the Educator Feedback Survey after returning the supplies to the park.
For more information about these activities, contact Andrew Warnock.