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Contaminants and the Water Cycle (Developed by SEPUP)

kit #434S

In this modeling activity, students follow a molecule of water as it travels through the water cycle. The activity can be used to model both the basic water cycle and the water cycle with biological and chemical contaminants that are picked up along the way. Depending upon your situation, students can do the activity once, with or without contaminants, or they can do it twice, initially without contaminants and then later with contaminants. Students start at some point where water exits on Earth, such as in a river or a raindrop. Students then roll a dice and consult Water Cycle Cards to determine where their water molecule will go next. After making at least six rolls of the dice, each student writes a story that demonstrates an understanding of their water molecule's travels within the water cycle (and describes the types and sources of contaminants picked up along the way).


  • Water circulates through the earth’s crust, oceans, and atmosphere in the water cycle. It evaporates from the surface, rises, cools at higher elevations, condenses as rain or snow, and falls to the surface where it collects in lakes, oceans, and rock layers underground
  • Water can contain chemical or biological contaminants
  • Water can be contaminated by wastewater
  • Creating models is one way to understand and communicate scientific information

Content List in Contaminants and the Water Cycle (Developed by SEPUP) is as follows:

Quantity Description
1 Teacher’s Guide
28 Student Worksheet and Guides
12 Water Cycle Cards, sets of six, LAB-AIDS®
12 White number cubes
12 Blue number cubes
1 Transparency: Sample Responses to Analysis Question 1
Number of Students
Number of groups
Maximum 12 groups per period

To complete this kit requires one to two ~50-minute class periods.

Title Item # Price Quantity
Contaminants and the Water Cycle (Developed by SEPUP) 434S $92.65
ADD A GROUP for Contaminants and the Water Cycle 434SEL $20.55