Earth's Water and the Water Cycle

West Haven Public Schools

Unit Planning Organizer

Subject:  Science                  

Grade:  4

Unit:   4.3 Earth’s Water and The Water Cycle

Pacing:    Marking Period 3

Essential Question(s):

1 – What is the water cycle?

2 – How does the Mississippi River change the landscape compared to that of a small stream?

Big Idea(s):

·        Water plays a major role in shaping the Earth’s surface.

CT State Standards (includes West Haven’s “Priority” GLES’s in BOLD and “Supporting” Standards)


1. Describe the role of the sun’s energy (i.e., heating and cooling) in the continuous cycling of water between the earth and the atmosphere through evaporation, condensation, and precipitation.


* teach erosion


2. Use models to demonstrate that topography causes precipitation

landing on earth to move in streams and rivers from higher to lower elevations.  B INQ. 3


3. Design and conduct simple investigations to determine how moving water

(flowing downhill or in ocean waves) causes changes to the land, the coastline or

the course of a stream or river.  B INQ. 3


4. Pose testable questions and employ simple equipment and measuring tools to collect data about factors that affect erosion (e.g. type of earth material in an area, volume of moving water, slope of land, vegetation coverage). B INQ. 4


5. Present evidence to support a scientific claim about the relationship between the amount

and speed of moving water and the size of earth materials moved (e.g., silt,

pebbles, boulders).  B INQ. 5, 6



“Unwrapped” Concepts and Skills, and Bloom Levels (BL)

Concepts(Need to Know)

Skills(Able to Do)



4.3 – Energy in Earth’s System


Water Cycle – evaporation, condensation, precipitation, runoff, erosion.


Effect of Sun’s energy


Simple experiment – test erosion





Describe – sun’s energy and water cycle


Describe – effect of changes in temperature


Employ – simple test of erosion











 “Dipsticks” (Informal Progress Monitoring Checks):

Give this worksheet as a study guide and then give the blank as a test.  Students should memorize each step.  No word bank given.

Investigation 1 – student sheet no. 2, 3,4, 5

Investigation 3 – student sheet no. 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

Investigation 4 – student sheet no. 15, 16

Instructional Planning

Suggested Resources/Materials:

Foss Kit Activities:

Investigation 1 – Water Observations

Part 1 – 40 minutes

Part 2 – 50 minutes

Part 3 – 40 minutes


Investigation 2 – Hot Water, Cold Water

Part 3 – 45 minutes


Investigation 3 – Water vapor 

Part 1 – 10-15 minutes in two sessions

Part 2 – follow binder’s time schedule to make this part work correctly

Part 3 – two 30 minutes sessions, four days apart

Part 4 – two sessions of 40 minutes.


Investigation 4 - Waterworks

Part 1 – 40 minutes initially, 15 minutes next day.

Plug in more about erosion here.

Part 4 – optional – 4-6 sessions.

Suggested Research-based Effective Instructional Strategies:

Vocabulary/Word Wall


Interdisciplinary Connections

Water cycle






Surface area


Water vapor

Energy Source






Leveled readers w/ skill builders

Water Cycle


Weather Instruments