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What is Groundwater? (Phys. Ed.)

SUBJECTS Phys. Ed., Science
GRADE LEVEL Primary (K-3)
PLEDGE 1 - Protection of Water

Resources Needed:

  1. Video, What is Groundwater? by KQED QUEST
  2. This lesson is best following What is Groundwater? (Introduction)
  3. Large space such as gymnasium, outdoor yard, cleared space in classroom


  1. After watching, What is Groundwater? by KQED QUEST, tell students, We are going to pretend we are water droplets and move our bodies following the journey of a water drop.


  1. Tell students to visualize yourself as moisture, or small particles of water so tiny you can’t be seen. Move around the space lightly as if in a cloud. Slowly begin to move closer to the other tiny droplets and join hands with other droplets as you get close. Once everyone has joined hands, tell students, all of you bits of moisture joining together has made you heavy (now move with heavier feet), so much so that you fall like rain from the sky.
  2. Students are now on the floor. Have them get on their feet, but scrunch down low and move around close to the ground. Tell them, you are now surface water running down hills and across fields, you are beginning to get absorbed into the ground. Move yourself around as a water drop, slowly sinking into the ground. After a bit, tell them, you have just sunk through the soil and fallen into a small rocky space where you are now groundwater slowly moving up, over, under, and around rocks. Move around as groundwater. 
  3. Next, tell the class, much groundwater stays in the ground for many, many years, but not you, now move as a water drop slowly getting squeezed through a tiny hole and then POP, you squirt out into a stream! Move around slowly like a water drop in a small stream.
  4. Next, tell them, the stream has now joined with other streams and become a creek. Move a little bit faster now and make sure to go around or jump over rocks or branches in the stream. Continue with the drops joining a river and then an ocean, having them move faster and use bigger movements for the waves.
  5. Finally, tell them, the air has become nice and warm in the sun and as you relax you find yourself slowly lifting up and floating into the sky as water vapour (or tiny water particles). You are evaporating and joining other water droplets in the sky and becoming a cloud.
  6. Students may recognize they have come back to the beginning. If the water cycle has not yet been introduced, name this cycle for them.

Follow Up Activities:

  1. Try variations where water drops get sucked up by a tree’s roots all the way up and are sweated out the leaves as water vapour and back into the sky through transpiration.
  2. Another variation could be rain onto pavement where the droplets are not absorbed and water drops end up in a storm drain and back out to the river.