Pre-festival Lessons

Teaching the pre-festival lessons should begin after the Anchoring Phenomenon demonstration and at least 2 weeks before the day of the festival itself. They should be completed at least 2 days before your festival. They may be spread out over time, or completed on consecutive days. It is most important that the lessons be taught in order as they build on one another and connect to the Anchor Question. If there is more than a week between Lesson 5 and the Festival day, please dedicate a class period a day or two before the Festival to review the anchor question and the relationships between it and the pre-festival concepts. 

**After each lesson students should fill out their Water Notes or write them in their science notebooks. AWF Water Notes PDF**

Investigative Question: What are the relationships between heat and the movement of water in the water cycle?

Activate: Students will use colored water to explore the behavior of liquid water at different temperatures. Students will do a whole-body simulation on the movement and phase changes of water in the water cycle due to the addition or loss of heat (energy). Students will use a simulation to visualize relationships between water molecules and heat energy.

Check: Students will construct an explanation for what they observed using sentence starters.

Equipment and Resources:

     Each water festival table group will need:

  • 2 clear cups approximately 5 inches in height
  • 2 rubber bands
  • 2 popsicle sticks or wooden skewers
  • 2 small clear vials

Download: Lesson 1 PDF*

Please find video links to these experiments, if you cannot do these in class with your students. They will be more fun if you can do them in the class, but you can also use these videos to refer back to the experiments if the students need a reminder of what happened. 

Online lesson resources:

https://youtu.be/NI1h1ZcQ7_E Demonstration and Experiment Video to use with your class**

**I highly recommend muting this video after you have watched it as the instructor, and then run it for your students with you explaining what is happening, so that the students don't get the answers told to them, but rather have a chance to figure out the answers on their own. Also I think it is more fun, not to tell the students that one container is hot and the other cold, but to rather show them the experiment and then see if they can figure out what the difference is between the two jars of water. I would recommend pausing this video several times throughout as well so that the students have more time to make predictions and to take notes. 

Instructional Videos demonstrating how to set-up experiment :

https://youtu.be/t8DMdUR5wJQ Part 1

https://youtu.be/gtxRENEYw2A Part 2

Investigative Questions: What are the relationships between plants and the water cycle? What are the relationships between earth materials and the water cycle?

Activate: Students will investigate evapotranspiration by using a plastic bag to physically capture the water that leaves a plant and explore where that water comes from. Students will do a whole-body simulation to model the movement of liquid water through different earth materials. Students will experiment with different earth materials and how water moves through each.

Check: Students will add new parts and processes to their water cycle diagram.

Equipment and Resources

Download: Lesson 2 PDF*

Online lesson resources:

Whole Body instructions video can be found here: https://youtu.be/AnoSFw0_Xvc

How water moves through earth materials video and demonstrating capillary action https://youtu.be/_KEjB-u4dQo 

Investigative Question: What are the relationships between the parts of the water cycle and its processes?

Activate: Students will brainstorm places in which water is found in the water cycle and explore where water can move from those places, creating their own water cycle web. Students will identify the processes that play a role in their web.

Check: Student groups will explain the connections they made about the movement of water in the earth system.

Equipment and Resources:

  • Water Cycle Processes Teacher Reference in curriculum unit guide

    Each water festival table group will need:

Download: Lesson 3 PDF

Lesson 3 Water Cycle Processes Teacher Reference.pdf

Online Lesson Resources:

Water Web Google Doc to copy for students

Investigative Question: How do we manage a watershed to make sure our water is clean and plentiful? 

Activate: Students will construct a model of the land surface to explore the parts of the watersheds created and observe the relationships between surface water and the identified parts.

Check: Students will do a gallery walk of each unique model and make claims based on evidence about what each demonstrated in relation to watersheds.

Equipment and Resources:

  • Download: Lesson 4 US Relief Map.pptx*
  • Spray bottles
  • 2 pieces of 8-1/2 by 11 white paper per student (scrap paper can be used if blank on one side)
  • Water soluble markers (green, blue, brown, red, purple)
  • Scotch Tape 

Download: Lesson 4 PDF

Online Lesson Resources:

Watch the video demonstration on how to make a watershed model - https://youtu.be/VXvOsQbZ37Y

Investigative Question: How do human impacts on the land affect the flow of water within a watershed?

Activate: Students will investigate permeable and impermeable land surfaces using a model or outdoor experiment. They will analyze and interpret how the built environment has affected runoff and retention, identify and use best management practices to decrease runoff, and ways to increase retention.

Check: Students will make claims about impermeable and permeable surfaces based on the evidence they observed.

Equipment and Resources

    Each water festival table group will need:

Download: Lesson 5 PDF*

Online Lesson Resources:

Watch the Stormwater BMP activity video for set-up and how to do the activity with your students - https://youtu.be/IAZkdC2bsRc

Watch the Best Management Practices video then play the matching game.

Post-festival Lessons

We also have the four activities that were covered at the water festival event here, for you to review if you would like to do them with your class again. 


Post-festival lessons must be taught as close to, but after the festival, as possible. They may be taught in consecutive sessions or spread out over up to four weeks.  Please conduct the student post-assessment within a week following Lesson 10.

Investigative Question: What are the relationships between groundwater and surface water and how might changes to the system affect each?

Activate: Students will identify the parts of the groundwater system and the water cycle near an Arizona River. Students will read about the interactions over time between groundwater and surface water in a story about the Hohokam and the Santa Cruz River. Students will watch a simulation that investigates the changes that occur when drought or groundwater pumping occur.

Check: Students will analyze the graph created during the activity and connect the relationships between groundwater and surface water to changes that could occur in the system.

Equipment and Resources:

Download: Lesson 6 PDF*

Online Lesson Resources:

Surface Water-Groundwater Connection Demonstration.mp4

Groundwater Diagram Google doc

Hohokam Story

Video of how to draw a graph with students about water level throughout the story

Investigative Question: How does water move through your local water cycle?

Activate: Students will put themselves at the center of their water cycle; gain an understanding of the terms evapotranspiration and climate; and analyze and interpret annual precipitation versus evapotranspiration for their city using Arizona Climate Data Tables. Then in their table groups, students will create their own local water cycle model.

Check: Using the poster-sized water cycle models created, students will view, compare, and contrast their classmate’s models to their own and provide feedback.

Equipment and Resources:

Download: Lesson 7 PDF*

Online Lesson Resources:

Local Water Cycle Google Doc

Investigative Question: How does the use of water (both direct and indirect) affect your local water supply?

Activate: Students will research and identify different indirect water users and model each water users’ consumption by removing water from a water supply and think about how communities share and reduce water use.

Check: Students will list all of the water users in their region and come up with ways to decrease water usage.

Equipment and Resources:

Download: Lesson 8 PDF*

Other Resources you may find helpful:

Other Resources:

What's Your Water Footprint - Water Calculator

How much water does it take to produce?

Investigative Question: What are the relationships between your local watersheds and your local water cycle?

Activate: In their groups, students will use their notes, Water Cycle handout, and local water cycle diagram from lesson 7 to focus their thinking on the relationships between their local water cycle and local watersheds. Each group will draw a poster-sized model of the relationships between their local watersheds and their local water cycle from the perspective of an assigned cross cutting concept.

Check: Students will do a gallery walk using the critical friends’ protocol to give feedback to other groups as they present their model. Each student group will briefly describe what they included in their model and why.

Equipment and Resources:

  • Butcher paper or poster board, 2 per water festival group
  • Sticky notes or scrap paper
  • markers, crayons, colored pencils
  • All previous lesson products (diagrams, notes, local water cycle model, water web, etc.)

Download: Lesson 9 PDF*

Online Lesson Resources:

Lesson 9 - Water Cycle and Watershed Relationships online student google slides

Investigative Question: What argument can you make about the availability of water in your region and its impact on your life?

Activate: Using all products of learning over the course of this unit and the models students created in their groups in Lessons 7 and 9, students will analyze how the availability of water in their region is dependent on their local watershed and local water cycle. Students will summarize the availability of water in their region. They will then examine how that water availability picture impacts their lives. Using many evidence-based explanations, they will develop an argument about the availability of water and its’ impact on life. The argument should include a plan to help ensure that water will remain available in their region. The plan could also work to increase the positive impacts of water availability in our region and reduce its negative impacts..

Check: Students will read aloud their arguments based on evidence about the availability of water in their region and its impact on their life.

Equipment and Resources:

Download: Lesson 10 PDF*

* AWF downloadable resources require a password. If you are unable to download, please contact an AWF Team Member.