The mini-investigation was inspired by the Mini Water Cycle lesson in Water Precious Water by the AIMS Education Foundation.
Using students to model the behavior of molecules in a solid, liquid and gas was inspired by a lesson I observed by Michael Geluardi, a science teacher and friend at Piedmont High School in Oakland, CA.
The story writing part of this lesson was inspired by Activity 3 from the SEPUP unit Groundwater Contamination: Trouble in Fruitvale.
A great resource for additional information about the water cycle may be found on the USGS website.
Shaping Earth’s Surface
Energy in the Earth System
4. Many phenomena on Earth’s surface are affected by the transfer of energy through radiation and convection currents. As a basis for understanding this concept:
a. Students know the sun is the major source of energy for phenomena on Earth’s surface; it powers winds, ocean currents, and the water cycle.
d. Students know convection currents distribute heat in the atmosphere and oceans.
e. Students know differences in pressure, heat, air movement, and humidity result in changes of weather.
Structure of Matter
3. Each of the more than 100 elements of matter has distinct properties and a distinct atomic structure. All forms of matter are composed of one or more of the elements. As a basis for understanding this concept:
e. Students know that in solids the atoms are closely locked in position and can only vibrate; in liquids the atoms and molecules are more loosely connected and can collide with and move past one another; and in gases the atoms and molecules are free to move independently, colliding frequently.
5. Chemical reactions are processes in which atoms are rearranged into different combinations of molecules. As a basis for understanding this concept:
d. Students know physical processes include freezing and boiling, in which a material changes form with no chemical reaction.
Chemistry of Living Systems (Life Sciences)
6. Principles of chemistry underlie the functioning of biological systems. As a basis for understanding this concept:
c. Students know that living organisms have many different kinds of molecules, including small ones, such as water and salt, and very large ones, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and DNA.