Oct 31 2006

Third-Grade Lesson Plan

Students use streaming video and a WebQuest to learn the basics of the water cycle.

NOTHING IS AS SIMPLE AS IT SEEMS, ESPECIALLY when the subject is water. At Dogwood Elementary School in Knoxville, Tenn., third-grade students use an Internet-based lesson to learn about H2O.

Lesson description: Students gain an appreciation and understanding of water; compare and contrast the three states of water as solid, liquid and gas; and learn how the water cycle works. They also begin to think about the importance of water to everyday life.

To introduce the lesson, the teacher has students stand in a group. The students move freely around the room and classify this action as being part of a gas. Next, students loosely hold hands to signify a liquid. Finally, they pack in tightly and hold hands to signify a solid.

In the next part of the lesson, the students watch Weather Smart: The Water Cycle and Clouds, a short video in which two young ball players discover that weather is affected by heat and cold just like matter. The teacher may stop the movie to make relevant comments about important details and to quiz the students.

In the WebQuest, the first two sites are stories: “To the Mountains and Back!” and “The Land of Snow and Ice.” Students may read these stories to themselves, or they may be read to them.

After the stories, students take the Water Basics quiz. The quiz is excellent because the answers to the questions are explained.

Additional water cycle information can be gleaned from interactive games — The Water Cycle game; Water, Water Everywhere; Solids and Liquids; and Water Trivia Quiz — on other sites.

Students may work independently on these activities. After a sufficient amount of time, they complete the British Council’s Water Cycle game, a diagram quiz. The teacher then records their scores.

Subject area: This lesson is designed for third-grade students. It is an introductory lesson to Unit C: Exploring Water — Knox County curriculum.

Standards: The lesson was created to meet Knox County Instructional Goals and State Performance Goals. The essential performance indicators are that students will diagram the movement of water through the water cycle, and will compare and contrast the three states of water as solid, liquid and gas.

Resources: Students need headphones and an Internet-connected computer capable of displaying streaming video. The teacher’s computer requires audio output and a display option of a TV or a projector.

The Web-based lesson includes:

• Weather Smart: The Water Cycle and Clouds
• “To the Mountains and Back!”
• “The Land of Snow and Ice”
• Water Basics quiz
• The Water Cycle game
• Water, Water Everywhere
• Solids and Liquids
• Water Trivia Quiz
• British Council’s Water Cycle game


The rubric for the first quiz is based on the number of correct answers a student provides. If a student answers one question correctly, he or she receives one point. The quiz is based on a 10-point scale.

The diagram involves five labels. A student receives one point for each correctly labeled item.


Technical preparation is vital to the success of this lesson. Make sure that the necessary plug-ins are installed on your students’ computers, and view the Weather Smart: The Water Cycle and Clouds video before the lesson to ensure that it has been downloaded and will play correctly.

“I have taught school for 25 years, and I think that technology is a great way to reach all students,” says Eva J. Lodari, a technology coach at Dogwood Elementary School in Knoxville, Tenn.