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Waterworks: Tales of the Hydrasphere

Water Works: Tales of The Hydrosphere

download word document of supplementary teachers materials

This theatre/dance production is based on earth science objectives identified in the Michigan Curriculum Framework (1996). View our Photo Gallery

Director: Lynnette Young Overby
Assistant Director: Whitney Beatty
Costumes: Professor Gretel Geist
Music Directors: Carolyn Koebel and Gloria Price
Performers: Carolina DiCesare, Stephen Johnson, Lindsay Owens, Melanie Paulson, Mary Schneider, Caroline Sullivan and Brad Davidsen

Table of Contents for accompanying teacher's materials

1. Water: An important natural resource
2. The Water Cycle
3. Water Witching
4. Clouds
5. The Kelp Community
6. Life at the beach





 Content Standard 2:

All students will demonstrate where water is found on earth; describe the characteristics of water and how water moves; and analyze the interaction of human activities with the hydrosphere.
The purpose of this resource packet is to provide introductory and follow-up materials for students in science, theatre and dance.





Water: An Important Natural Resource

Water is an essential part of our world, making up 70% of the earth’s surface. Water sustains life. We drink it, cook with it, wash with it, and use it for transportation and power. All living things need water. Human bodies are 65% water, while the jelly fish is 99% water! The production of Water Works: Tales of The Hydrosphere, will provide some interesting facts about water in a fun, entertaining and educational manner. This resource guide will provide teachers with introductory and follow-up materials designed to enhance the students knowledge of the hydrosphere.





The Water Cycle
The water cycle purifies our water and renews the supply. Here is how the water cycle works. Rain falls into lakes and streams, and we use that water to quench our thirst, clean our clothes, our bodies and our homes. The used water goes into the ground, or the sewage system. The water may flow back into lakes and streams and some of it evaporates into the air. Water also evaporates from the oceans, from trees, and plants, from animals, and from people. It goes into the air as water vapor, a colorless odorless dry gas. When water vapor cools, it condenses into water droplets so small that 100,000 of them could be contained in an ordinary drop. These droplets join together to make clouds. When the concentration of water droplets become great enough, the droplets form drops, and they fall as rain. The droplets may fall as snow when temperatures are below 32 degrees.

1. The Water Cycle lesson plan - Natchez, V., (1994). The Water Cycle. AskEric Lesson plan #AELP-EAR0024 http://ericir.syr.edu/virtual/lessons/science/earth/earoo24.html

2. Water Cycles: Integrating Dance and Science - Barron, R. (1996). ARTSEDGE Curriculum Unit/Lesson Plan. http://artsedge.kennedy-center

3. Have students pretend that they are a drop of water in a stream. Have them write and draw a story about their trip through the water cycle.

4. Have children work with a partner, and list all of the ways they have used water today. Have the children discuss and write about the most important ways they used water.

5. A terrarium is a tank that contains plants growing in soil. The soil is watered. Then the terrarium is completely sealed. Water cannot get in or out. Have students write about how the plants survive without being watered again.


Bryant, N., Frank, M., Gerald, K., Lang, M., Valenta, C., Deman, B., (1995). Weather Station - Science Anytime. Orlando, Florida: Harcourt Brace & Company.





Water Witching
Water Witching or divining has been around for over four hundred years. A Water Witcher is a person who uses a forked stick or steel “divining rod” to locate ground water. Some Water Witchers not only tell you where to dig a well, but also predict how deep the well will have to be, and how much water it will supply. However, most Water Witchers are not so certain, they merely tell where to dig a well, and leave it at that.

The Magical Powers of Water Witchers

Water Witchers, also called Water Dowsers, may seem to have magical powers. They claim they can find water underground even though none of their senses gives them any clue to its presence. A Water Witcher can’t see the waterier, hear it, or smell it, much less touch it or taste it, not surprisingly, water witchers are not always successful in locating groundwater. A well dug after a Water Witcher has picked the right spot, may still be a dry hole.

The Water Witching Technique

A Water Witcher goes back and forth over the property, walking slowly and quietly, holding the stick or rod firmly in front. Suddenly the stick vibrates and the third prong turns toward the ground. As the Water Witcher continues to walk, the stick rises to its original position. As the Water Witcher continues to walk, the stick rises to its original position. The Witcher turns and goes back toward the spot where the stick pointed downward. Once again, the stick points to the ground. This is the spot, the Water Witcher says, where the well should be dug.

Pseudoscience and Water Witching

Water Witching, falls into the area of science known as pseudoscience. Pseudoscience is defined as false or pretended science. Water Witching is viewed as pseudoscience because, the Water Witcher is not consistent in his or her ability to find water. Although there is a lack of scientific support for this phenomenon, many people all over the world would not attempt to dig a well without the assistance of a Water Witcher.


1. How to use the Water Witchers technique to locate ground water.
Get a forked twig from a tree, and try walking over a field while holding it in front of you. The witching rod may suddenly turn downward.

1. Branklyn, F. (1982). Water for the World. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Junior Books.

2. Vogt, E., & Hyman, R., (1959). Water Witching .U.S.A. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

3. Howells, H., (1979). Dowsing for Everyone. Brattleboro, Vermont: The Stephen Greene Press.






Clouds are masses of water droplets that are suspended in the air. When the droplets or crystals become too heavy to remain suspended, they fall to earth.

In order for clouds to form, three things are needed. First the relative humidity must be close to 100 percent. Second, tiny bits of matter, such as dust, must be present. (water collects or condenses around these particles). Third, something must happen to cool the air. If all three conditions exist, clouds form. The type of clouds that form depend on how cold the air is and how much water is in the air.

Cloud Shapes

Cirrus Clouds - The highest cloud in the atmosphere, shaped like feathers or hair.
They float where the air is very, very cold. The water that cirrus clouds are made of isn’t in tiny drops. It’s in the form of little ice crystals. The ice crystals make thin clouds look like white feathers. Cirrus clouds in the sky mean fair weather.
Cumulus Clouds - Large clouds that look like big puffs of cotton.
We usually see cumulus clouds on fair days. They are higher in the sky than nimbus clouds.
Nimbus Clouds and Nimbostratus Clouds - Dark gray, Low heavy and full of rain or snow.

Cloud Activities and Resources

1. Let’s Make a Cloud ( Martin, 1997, p. 122).
An Activity for Identifying and Controlling Variables
Objective: The students will identify the variables that influence cloud formation.

Meteorologists tell us that, for clouds to form, we need moisture, a distinct temperature gradient (difference in temperatures between two regions), and Small particles for tiny droplets of water to form on. Children can discover these for themselves with a simple activity Provide each group of children with a transparent plastic cup, some hot water, a plastic bag of ice cubes, some matches and a small sheet of black paper. Fill the jar to about 1 inch deep with hot water. Light the match and drop it into the jar It will go out, of course, when it hits the water. IMMEDIATELY cover the top of the cup wit the plastic bag of ice. Observe what happens inside the cup. (A cloud will form.) Holding the black paper behind the cup makes it easier to see.
Consider these questions: How do we know the visible vapor in the cup is a cloud, and not just smoke from the match? Is match smoke necessary for the cloud to form? What would happen if we reversed the temperatures (had ice in the bottom of the jar and put a baggy with hot water on the top?) What happens if the temperatures of the top and bottom of the jar get closer together? From these investigations, children will isolate the variables needed for clouds to form.

2. Have students draw clouds and describe how looking at clouds can predict the weather?

Martin, D. ( 1997). Elementary Science Methods A Constructivist Approach. Albany: Delmar Publishers.

Cone, T. P., Werner, P., Cone, S., & Woods, A., ( 1998). Interdisciplinary Teaching Through Physical Education. Champaign, Illinois: Human Kinetics - Lesson Weather or Not p. 141- 144.

McNicholas, I. Clouds. An AskEric Lesson Plan. http://eriicir.sys.edu/virtual/lessons/science/eaarth/ear0004.htm

Splish, Splash by Joan Bransfield Graham (Ticknor and Fields, 1994). is a collection of poetry about water in its various states.

The Cloud Book, by Tomie De Paola (Holiday House, 1975).

Bringing the rain to Kapiti Plain, by Vrena Hardema ( Dial, 1981).

Thunder Cake by Patricia Polaceo (Putnum, 1990).





The Kelp Community

Kelp Forests

In cold coastal waters, tall brown algae called kelp grows in such thick stands that they form underwater forests. The growth of kelp creates living spaces for hundreds of different types of creatures.

Kelp Parts

Blade - leaf like structure that uses the suns energy for photosynthesis

Stipe - stemlike structure that the blades are attached to

Float - air filled bladder at the base of each blade that buoys the plant up toward the surface (By “reaching” for sunlit waters near the surface, kelp can gather light energy for photosynthesis.)

Frond - The collective name given to the stipe and blades of a single kelp plant.

Holdfast - rootlike structure that sticks to rocks and other hard surfaces on the ocean floor (unlike a root, the holdfast doesn’t supply water and nutrients to the rest of the plant).

Like a forest on land, a kelp forest can be divided into layers. Different animals live in each layer. At the bottom of the kelp forest live the brittle stars, sea urchins, and many other animals live among the holdfasts. In the middle of the forest snails, and other animals crawl around on the blades and stipes. Many kinds of fish swim among the fronds.

The top layer of a kelp forest, like that of a forest on land, is called the canopy. Marine mammals, young fish, and seabirds spend time in this area. Some of these animals, as with some of the animals in the bottom and middle layers, also use other parts of the forest. Birds called cormorants, for example, dive down to hunt for fish among the fronds. And sea otters swim to the kelp forest to search for abalones and other food.

Locations of Kelp Forests

Some of the most extensive and well-known kelp forests grow in the waters off the coast of northwestern North America. But kelp forests exist in other parts of the world as well. For example, there are kelp forests off the coasts of Japan, South America, Great Britain, and New Zealand.

Kelp Creatures

Sea Urchin - A prickly invertebrate with red or purple spines. Lives at the base of the kelp and feeds on all parts of the plant. The sea urchin is eaten by sea otters.

Sea Otter - The sea otter is a mammal with thick brown fur and webbed hind feet. The sea otter eats sea urchins, abalones, kelp crabs, and other invertebrates. This animal floats on its back at the surface cracking open shellfish with rocks. The otter sometimes wraps itself and young in kelp (helps the animals stay put in the waves.)

White Shark - A large gray or brown fish with a white belly. It feeds mainly on fish and marine mammals. The shark has no natural enemies.

Giant kelpfish - A long slender fish, color changes to match its environment. Lives among the fronds, blending win with the swaying blades. Eats small fish, shellfish, crabs and shrimp.

Kelp crab - Color matches kelp. Lives on stipes and feeds on kelp and tiny invertebrates. Eaten by sea otters, octopuses, and sea stars.

Brittle star - A yellow, brown, or green relative of sea stars and sea urchins. Has long, spiny arms, and lives in the holdfast region of the kelp. The brittle star filters tiny bits of food from the water.

Activities and Resources

1. Diving into Oceans. ( 1998). National Wildlife Federation. New York: McGraw Hill.
2. Cook, L. ( 1980). The Mysterious Undersea World (1980). National Geographic Society.
3. Swanson, D. (1994). Safari Beneath the Sea. North Vancouver, British Columbia: Whitecap Books ltd.




Life In and Around the Ocean

A Day at The Beach

Writing about Sea Myths

1. For this activity, teachers need pictures of marine plants and animals, writing paper, drawing paper, pencils marker or crayons. and example of sea myths. Reference books should also be available.
In groups of four, students will create and write a myth about a sea animal. Each member of the group, can add on to the myth, until story is complete. They will act out the sea myth while, one member reads the narration. The students will then write a final draft of their sea myth.


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