The Water Cycle

It is the middle of March and record breaking temperatures have melted all the snow in my yard.  Seriously, there is no snow at all – None!    Just look at this picture from the end of March last year.

Spring break 2011

Yesterday when I was in the yard I saw this;

Growing on the hill

There was no school on Friday so the children and I took advantage of the glorious weather and spent the majority of the day outdoors.  My teenage son joined us too – the children were excited.  Seeing all the gravel area completely free of snow they immediately asked him to help them dig a big hole – one of their favourite summertime activities.  He agreed;

The children watched.  I was a little puzzled.  Normally the children would be helping, I wondered why they were hesitant today.  Then one of the said to my son ‘Eww, look at all the dirt sticking to your hand’.  I brought this out to see if it would help;

It did, and suddenly everyone was digging, and washing their hands, and digging some more;

The hole was not getting very big though.  This is Manitoba after all.  Sure the warm temperatures had melted all the snow but that ground was frozen solid.  My son decided he needed his pick axe – one of his Christmas gifts from a few years ago.  Yes, we do buy gifts like that for him because we know he will use it responsibly – and he did.  First he made all the children move a safe distance away. Using the pick axe made digging very easy but there was a lot of flying debris so he switched to a heavy metal bar which was slower but easier to control.

He managed to create a medium sized hole in the gravel but the hole kept filling with water which made digging further very difficult.  The children discussed why the water kept filling the hole.  One of them suggested we needed a pump – but we didn’t have one.  They tried scooping the water out but more water filled the hole

Then someone commented that the hole looked like a lake – and someone else decided we needed a river.  They dug one but the water they put in it just soaked into the gravel without flowing the way they wanted so they did this;

Then they filled jars with water from the ‘lake’

And poured the water into the ‘river’;

They watched the water flow down the river and into the lake. Then they did it again and again.  One of the preschoolers announced that they had created ‘the Water Cycle’. The eight year old then explained that there was a real water cycle and narrated it as the others played.  ‘The jar is the cloud and it takes the water from the lake’

‘When it rains the water runs into the river and back down to the lake.’

It was their curriculum for the day.  They developed it and they understand it.  I love it.

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