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The Water Cycle

The water cycle is a system in which water is in constant motion from the atmosphere to land, plants and surface water and back again to the atmosphere. The atmosphere is made of air. Air surrounds us, in the air there is water vapor. This water vapor forms clouds. All clouds are made up of water droplets or ice crystals. When ice crystals or water droplets get too large, they fall to the earth as precipitation (rain or snow).

Large amounts of water evaporate from the oceans and enter the atmosphere. This water falls back onto the earth and oceans. Evaporation is when water changes from liquid to water vapor. Evapotranspiration is water going into the atmosphere from plant pores (transpiration) and land surfaces. Sublimation is ice and snow turning into water vapor. When extra precipitation does not evaporate, it flows into streams, creeks and rivers. This extra water is called runoff.

Sometimes this runoff will go underground and turn into groundwater. We use groundwater for wells.

Here is this week's printout, parts of the water cycle . Use the simple cards for younger children.

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