What is water? Water is a very special molecule with remarkable properties. These properties, even the simple fact that frozen water (ice) floats, make water very unique and very important for life on Earth.
You may be familiar with something called the “water cycle” or “hydrolytic cycle”. The most simplified version of this cycle is Evaporation—Condensation—Precipitation. Water doesn’t only travel through the sky and along the ground—it also travels through living things on Earth. Plants and animals are part of the water cycle too! Once a plant or animal (such as us) eliminates the water that they consume, it returns to the water cycle—that means that we might drink water that was once in a dinosaur! There is the same amount of water available for human use as there has been since the beginning of mankind—and that isn’t much! Most of the water on Earth is in the ocean, and the remaining water is frozen, underground, in the atmosphere and just a little is left for consumption by living things. This means we need to use what is available very carefully!
Follow the Drop: with your family or class, you can create a unique story as you discover the complicated life of a drop of water.
- Create different stations that describe where you might find water. Make a few stations for beginners, or make many stations to show how complex the water cycle can be. Examples of stations: Ocean, Lake, Clouds, Animals, Glaciers, Icebergs, Rivers, Groundwater, Plants.
- Next, think of where water might go from each of those stations. For example, from the ocean water might evaporate into clouds or freeze into icebergs; or the water from a plant may evaporate into clouds or go into an animal that eats it. Create “tickets” for each pathway at each station and put several copies at each station.
- Follow the drop! You can start at any station. Randomly choose your ticket and follow it to the next station. For example, if I am at the River Station, I may draw a ticket that sends me to the Ocean.
- Write down or keep track of the order of the stations as you move through the water cycle. You may keep track with color coordinated beads.
- After moving through several stations you can create a story based on your water drop’s unique journey through the water cycle. Here is an example of one drop’s journey.
Stewardship challenge of the week: Every drop counts! Keep track of every drop of water you use in a day (even the water that flows down the drain). The following day, try to use a little less—run the tap for a shorter time while you do the dishes, shorten your shower, skip the ice in your drink.
(This article has been edited and reposted from Stewardship Monday: Follow the Drip posted originally Jan 2014)