Water Cycle Project for Kids
Stop Motion Lesson Ideas for Teachers
When I was a teacher I wanted to come up with a fun project for kids that would help explain the water cycle. What better way than stop motion animation! It is fantastic at bringing the water cycle to life, especially as you can combine it with a poem/story that can be written by the children.
I have written this blog post as lesson ideas for teachers, but it can just as easily be a project you can do at home.
Turn it into a Character & Animate it as a Story
By turning a drop of water into a character it makes the story more relatable. You can imagine how a water drop ‘feels’ as it goes through the different stages. Is it hot, cold, and ‘just right’? It meets new friends along the way, such as other drops of water to form clouds. It also goes on quite a journey and visits lots of different places.
The Water Cycle – Lesson ideas for stop motion
Watch my animation ‘The Water Cycle’ once through. (See below)
For discussion after viewing:
- With a partner write down as many things as you can remember about what happened to the drop.
- In my animation how did I show what my character was feeling without using any words? For example, how did I show it was feeling cold?
- Can you say which ‘state’ (solid, liquid, gas) the water was in for each of the main moments? E.g. At the beginning, on the lilo, in the hot air balloon.
- Can you match any science words – evaporation, condensation, precipitation – to what happened in the animation at those moments?
Make the following flashcards. It is more meaningful if the children make their own (on pre-cut card strips to save time). Watch my animation again and the class hold up their cards that match the different stages.
Making your own animation
Things to think about to get you going:
- How could you show how your drop is ‘feeling’?
- How do you feel when it’s hot and sunny? You might want a nice cold drink, to put some sunglasses on, to lie down and relax.
- Or perhaps it makes you excitable? For example, think about when you’ve been in a warm room with lots of other people – how do you feel?
- How do you feel when you’re cold? You’ll probably want to put on warm clothes, like a hat and scarf. Perhaps you also want to huddle up to others.
Water Cycle Poem
Writing a poem with your water cycle project is for great for cross-curricular links with literacy. Creating a storyboard is a good idea before you begin animating to get an idea of what you’re going to make, but this doesn’t have not be set in stone. You might want to start with writing the poem first, then plan your animation around that and adapt as you go along. The important thing is to keep your animation plans simple, especially as it’s quite a long story to animate!
Extra things to consider:
You’ll want several different backgrounds to show the different places the water drop goes to. Keep your backgrounds very simple, this way your audience won’t be distracted and will focus instead on your main character. You could draw and colour them in or you can get a nice effect by layering up coloured paper.
When I made my animation I had my camera pointing down at the table. See this blog post for more info on how to set up for downshooting if you are using an iPad.
A lot of people have asked how I achieved the shiny effect on the water drops since I first posted my animation on the web. I used this Fimo gloss varnish on the plasticine (and obviously didn’t bake it!). As Fimo and Sculpey are quite expensive, I used plasticine for most of the models. For the snowflakes I mixed in some glitter. The sunglasses are paper.
You can take inspiration from my animation, but don’t feel you have to copy it – think of new ways to tell the story! Above all, have fun with your water cycle project and enjoy being creative!
Looking for more inspiration to enhance the school curriculum? Come and have a look at my online workshops!