How to Use Technology to Teach the Water Cycle

How to Use Technology to Teach the Water Cycle

by Judie Haynes

Take advantage of computer technology in your ESL classroom. This CD ROM features a courtroom trial format and can easily be adapted to teach basic science concepts to your English language learners. Student in grades 4-12 will love the animation and humorous presentation. Lessons are written to be used with cooperative groups.

On this Science Court CD ROM, lawyers for each side of a dispute battle over a case and present their arguments. The trial is divided into four parts and at the end of each part, a court commentator reviews the facts and asks students to predict what will happen next.

During each interval there are “hands-on” cooperative learning activities where students answer six content-related questions on reproducible information sheets. Each information sheet contains a different quote from a key participant in the trial to help students answer the questions. This makes each student on a team a participant in the process with important information to contribute to the group. The students predict how the jury will vote at the end of the trial.

Lesson topic

The water cycle

Proficiency/Grade level

Advanced beginning to intermediate ESL students in grades 4-8

Content Concepts & Skills

  1. Development of science vocabulary
  2. Comparison of rates of evaporation
  3. Conducting science experiments
  4. Working in a cooperative group
  5. Restating steps in a science experiment


Condensation, evaporation, water vapor, states of matter, water cycle

Materials or Resources

Science Court CD or video Water Cycleby Tom Snyder; Water Cycle Teacher’s Guide; reproducible student activity sheets. The materials for the experiments are not usually difficult to find.

Instructional Sequence

The Science Court material was created for a mainstream students and will need to be adapted for an ESL or Bilingual class. This is easily done because the activities are "hands-on."


Use the experiments to teach your students the scientific method. Here is an example from the "Water Cycle" unit

1. Explain to students that this is what we want to find out during the experiment. This is the question. Write the question on the board. (Will the water in different containers evaporate in the same amount of time?)

2. Have students guess what will happen. Write down their responses. This is the guess or the hypothesis. This guess does not have to be correct.

3. Have students list the materials that you will need.

4. Explain to students that the next part is the procedure or the steps of the experiment. This tells what you do first, second, third, etc.

5. The water in the wide container will evaporate first. This is called the result of the experiment. The result is what happens during the experiment.

6. The water in the wide dish evaporates sooner because more of it’s surface is exposed to the air. Explain to students that this is the conclusion . This is what was learned during the experiment.

Additional Resources

Here are some additional resources for water cycle information for children on the internet: