Water Cycle in a Jar

In science class, you learned that water never stops moving. Water cycles over and over again among Earth's air, land, oceans, and living things. The power for the water cycle comes from the Sun. Without the Sun, there would be no water cycle. In this activity, you and your family members will make a model of an ecosystem and watch the cycling of water right on your own desktop!




Cover your work area with newspaper. With an adult's help, gather all the materials on the list. First, fill the jar with small rocks. Then add a layer of sand and a layer of soil. Plant a small houseplant in the soil. Water the plant with a small amount of water. Place a shell or bottle cap on the soil surface and fill it with tap water. Place the lid on the jar. Gently carry the jar to a sunny place. Observe over several days.


Did you notice water collecting on the sides of the jar and on the lid? Where did this water come from? What will happen to this water? Did all four processes of the water cycle—evaporation, transpiration, condensation, and precipitation—occur inside the jar? How is your model ecosystem like a real ecosystem?