Junior Education Resourses

OWLS ™ STEM: Junior Education Resources

Water Cycle Infographic,WATER RESOURCE INDEX, WATER CONTAMINATION, DRINKING WATER NEWS.GROUND WATER NEWS,WATER & YOUR HEALTH,WATER CONTAMINATION,WATER FACTS



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Table Of Contents
Surface Water Basics
Events and Hazards
Surface Water Quality
Measuring Surface Water
EPA Fun Junior Water Sites
U.S.G.S. Education Activity Center
Junior Water Education: Water Cycle
Junior Water Education: Water Distribution
Groundwater contamination infographic

OWLS™ STEM Education Resources are for students of all ages and for assisting teachers and parents in the education of our children on the importance of clean healthy drinking water. LTW™ endorses the following as STEM Educational Resources.

Junior Scientific Water Site Information Courtesy of the U.S.G.S

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Fun Junior Water Sites Information Courtesy of the E.P.A.

•Exploring Estuaries:- This junior site allows visitors to explore and learn more about estuaries./ games, activities and nice tours of two estuaries in the National Estuary Program
•What’s Up With Our Nation’s Waters?:- Designed primarily for middle-school-aged youth, presents key findings of the EPA’s National Water Quality Report in an easy-to-read fashion
•Meet Thirstin:- Thirstin and his adventures in Ground Water and Drinking Water
•Wetlands:- Water science, education, and information resources for kids.
•Acid Rain Students Site:- Learn about acid rain and it’s effects on the environment and you!
•Beach Kids :- Whether you live near a beach or not, visit this site to learn neat things about beaches and play games.
•Discover Water:- Test your knowledge of the water cycle, how we use water, and learn how to take action to conserve water at home.
•Fish Kids:- Through interactive games, learn about what fish are safe to eat.
•Nonpoint Source Kids Page:- Games and links to educational materials to teach children about pollution and the environment. This site features Darby Duck and the Aquatic Crusaders and Masterbug Theater.
•Water Drops:- Science fun for Kids in the Water Environment
•EPA Environmental Websites for Kids and Teachers
:- It is divided into age groups and includes a teacher’s section.
•Oil and Water Don’t Mix:- Join us in protecting our seas! Learn all about our marine environment with these fun games and interesting facts.
Thirstin’s Wacky Water Adventure Activity Book (PDF)
•About PDF):- A collection of activities and coloring book pages.
•Thirstin’s Water Cycle Adventure:- Print and color this diagram of the water cycle.
•The Water Cycle:- See how the water cycle works with this animation.
Water Science for Schools:-From the US Geological Survey.
•Interactive Water Cycle:- In this animated activity, you control the water cycle as you learn.

U.S.G.S. Education Activity Center

Junior Water Education: The Water Cycle

Credit for this junior water class: U.S. Geological Survey Department of the Interior/USGS

Earth’s water is always in movement, and the natural water cycle, also known as the hydrologic cycle, describes the continuous movement of water on, above, and below the surface of the Earth. Water is always changing states between liquid, vapor, and ice, with these processes happening in the blink of an eye and over millions of years.

Back To Top water cycle USGS

You may be familiar with how water is always cycling around, through, and above the Earth, continually changing from liquid water to water vapor to ice. One way to envision the water cycle is to follow a drop of water around as it moves on its way. I could really begin this story anywhere along the cycle, but I think the ocean is the best place to start, since that is where most of Earth’s water is.

If the drop wanted to stay in the ocean then it shouldn’t have been sunbathing on the surface of the sea. The heat from the sun found the drop, warmed it, and
evaporated it into water vapor. It rose (as tiny “dropettes”) into the air and continued rising until strong winds aloft grabbed it and took it hundreds of miles until it was over land. There, warm updrafts coming from the heated land surface took the dropettes (now water vapor) up even higher, where the air is quite cold.

Drippy sunbathing on a cloudWhen the vapor got cold it changed back into it a liquid (the process is condensation). If it was cold enough, it would have turned into tiny ice crystals, such as those that make up cirrus clouds. The vapor condenses on tiny particles of dust, smoke, and salt crystals to become part of a cloud.

After a while our drop combined with other drops to form a bigger drop and fell to the earth as precipitation. Earth’s gravity helped to pull it down to the surface. Once it starts falling there are many places for water drops to go. Maybe it would land on a leaf in a tree, in which case it would probably evaporate and begin its process of heading for the clouds again. If it misses a leaf there are still plenty of places to go.

The drop could land on a patch of dry dirt in a flat field. In this case it might sink into the ground to begin its journey down into an underground aquifer as groundwater. The drop will continue moving (mainly downhill) as groundwater, but the journey might end up taking tens of thousands of years until it finds its way back out of the ground. Then again, the drop could be pumped out of the ground via a water well and be sprayed on crops (where it will either evaporate, flow along the ground into a stream, or go back down into the ground). Or the well water containing the drop could end up in a baby’s drinking bottle or be sent to wash a car or a dog. From these places, it is back again either into the air, down sewers into rivers and eventually into the ocean, or back into the ground.

But our drop may be a land-lover. Plenty of precipitation ends up staying on the earth’s surface to become a component of surface water. If the drop lands in an urban area it might hit your house’s roof, go down the gutter and your driveway to the curb. If a dog or squirrel doesn’t lap it up it will run down the curb into a storm sewer and end up in a small creek. It is likely the creek will flow into a larger river and the drop will begin its journey back towards the ocean.

If no one interferes, the trip will be fast (speaking in “drop time”) back to the ocean, or at least to a lake where evaporation could again take over. But, with billions of people worldwide needing water for most everything, there is a good chance that our drop will get picked up and used before it gets back to the sea.

A lot of surface water is used for irrigation. Even more is used by power-production facilities to cool their electrical equipment. From there it might go into the cooling tower to be evaporated. Talk about a quick trip back into the atmosphere as water vapor — this is it. But maybe a town pumped the drop out of the river and into a water tank. From here the drop could go on to help wash your dishes, fight a fire, water the tomatoes, or (shudder) flush your toilet. Maybe the local steel mill will grab the drop, or it might end up at a fancy restaurant mopping the floor. The possibilities are endless — but it doesn’t matter to the drop, because eventually it will get back into the environment. From there it will again continue its cycle into and then out of the clouds, this time maybe to end up in the water glass of the President of the United States.

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Credit for this junior water class: U.S. Geological Survey Department of the Interior/USGS

For an estimated explanation of where Earth’s water exists, look at the chart below. By now, you know that the water cycle describes the movement of Earth’s water, so realize that the chart and table below represent the presence of Earth’s water at a single point in time. If you check back in a thousand or million years, no doubt these numbers will be different!

Notice how of the world’s total water supply of about 332.5 million cubic miles of water, over 96 percent is saline. And, of the total freshwater, over 68 percent is locked up in ice and glaciers. Another 30 percent of freshwater is in the ground. Fresh surface-water sources, such as rivers and lakes, only constitute about 22,300 cubic miles (93,100 cubic kilometers), which is about 1/150th of one percent of total water. Yet, rivers and lakes are the sources of most of the water people use everyday.

Distribution Of Earths WaterSource: Igor Shiklomanov’s chapter “World fresh water resources” in Peter H. Gleick (editor), 1993, Water in Crisis: A Guide to the World’s Fresh Water Resources (Oxford University Press, New York).

Where is Earth’s water?

For a detailed explanation of where Earth’s water is, look at the data table below. Notice how of the world’s total water supply of about 333 million cubic miles (1,386 million cubic kilometers) of water, over 96 percent is saline. And, of the total freshwater, over 68 percent is locked up in ice and glaciers. Another 30 percent of freshwater is in the ground. Thus, rivers and lakes that supply surface water for human uses only constitute about 22,300 cubic miles (93,100 cubic kilometers), which is about 0.007 percent of total water, yet rivers are the source of most of the water people use.

One Estimate of Global Water Distribution (Numbers are rounded)
Water source Water volume, in cubic miles Water volume, in cubic kilometers Percent of freshwater Percent of total water
Oceans, Seas, & Bays 321,000,000 1,338,000,000 96.5
Ice caps, Glaciers, & Permanent Snow 5,773,000 24,064,000 68.6 1.74
Groundwater 5,614,000 23,400,000 1.7
Fresh 2,526,000 10,530,000 30.1 0.76
Saline 3,088,000 12,870,000 0.93
Soil Moisture 3,959 16,500 0.05 0.001
Ground Ice & Permafrost 71,970 300,000 0.86 0.022
Lakes 42,320 176,400 0.013
Fresh 21,830 91,000 0.26 0.007
Saline 20,490 85,400 0.007
Atmosphere 3,095 12,900 0.04 0.001
Swamp Water 2,752 11,470 0.03 0.0008
Rivers 509 2,120 0.006 0.0002
Biological Water 269 1,120 0.003 0.0001
Source: Igor Shiklomanov’s chapter “World fresh water resources” in Peter H. Gleick (editor), 1993, Water in Crisis: A Guide to the World’s Fresh Water Resources (Oxford University Press, New York).

Credit for this junior water class: U.S. Geological Survey Department of the Interior/USGS

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