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Name of Activity:

Water Cycle Dance

Academic content:


Purpose of Activity:

The students will use a variety of skills with the ribbon sticks to create a unique dance relating five parts of the water cycle.


Knowledge of the water cycle from classroom; levels; together/apart; left/right, skills with ribbon sticks such as zig zags, circles, stir the pot, helicopter, snakes, zingers, floor snakes, propellor.

Suggested Grade Level:


Materials Needed:

Ribbon sticks, picture or diagram of the water cycle illustrating EVAPORATION, CONDENSATION, PRECIPITATION, RUN-OFF, COLLECTION, poster of descriptions of the ribbon wand skills required for each part of the water cycle, and music resembling the water cycle (I used music from Garage Band on imac)

Physical activity:

Dance with ribbon sticks

Description of Idea

Using the teacher's specifications as a guide, the students will dance the water cycle. The teacher shows the class a diagram of the water cycle which includes EVAPORATION, CONDENSATION, PRECIPITATION, RUN-OFF, and COLLECTION. As a group, the teacher and class walk through the general space following the water cycle (for example, EVAPORATION on the diagram begins on the right side of the diagram. I would start with the class at the left side of the room {stage left} as if to perform for an audience. CONDENSATION takes place at the top of the diagram, so we would walk from the left side of the room {stage left} to the back of the room {upstage center}, PRECIPITATION occurs of the left side of the diagram, so we then walk to the right side of the room {stage right}, RUN-OFF happens along the bottom of the diagram, so then we'd walk along the front of the room {down stage}, and then COLLECTION occurs about where evaporation began, so we'd keep walking to about where we started at the beginning {stage left, front}. I'm used to performing on a stage, so I use stage directions and an imaginary audience. Adjust your starting position in the room to fit how you see the water cycle. Just keep the steps of the water cycle in the correct order.) Walking through the pattern of the water cycle gives the students a better idea of basically how to be a raindrop.

After walking through the space and reviewing 5 parts of the water cycle, the teacher will display the poster of the requirements that the students must dance with the ribbon wands for each part of the cycle. (For example, in EVAPORATION the students must show LEVELS and ZIG ZAGS, etc.) After going through the requirements expected for each part of the water cycle, the teacher will play the music. While the music is playing the teacher is using the poster as a reminder of what the students could do during that portion of the music, reminding them visually with the poster and auditorily by speaking, "don't forget to show the LEVELS here." After listening to the music, the class gets their wands and begins at the EVAPORATION stage at the beginning of the dance. No music is played yet. Have the students dance out their criteria as written on the poster with verbal reminders from the teacher. After dancing through the water cycle, dance it with the music. Modifications and addition can always be added and then dance it again. My guidelines: EVAPORATION: levels and zig zags, CONDENSATION: circles, stir the pot, helicopter, together/apart, PRECIPITATION: levels and snakes, RUN-OFF: left/right, zingers, floor snakes, propellor, COLLECTION: student choice.


If the class is large, divide the class into 5 groups and assign each group a different part of the water cycle. The dance can go from group 1 to group 2 to group 3, etc.

Students may also create their own guidelines of what is expected to happen with the ribbon wands for each part of the water cycle.

I chose 5 steps of the water cycle. Some schools only teach 4, some teach 6. Use the stages of the water cycle that your students know.

Assessment Ideas:

This is a great review of knowledge that is previously taught (the water cycle and the ribbon wand skills). Assessment may include: watching to see if the students remember the difference between stir the pot and helicopters, asking the students to recite 5 steps of the water cycle, asking the students if they could have created their own guidelines and if so, what would they choose for the requirements for each step of the water cycle.

Adaptations for Students with Disabilities

Students in wheelchairs may still be able to use a ribbon wand; they can move from one part of the water cycle to another. Students with muscular dystrophy who can't stand for long periods of time can sit in a chair at a certain part of the water cycle and use the wand.

Students with ADHD may turn quickly in the middle of condensation (cloud) while the others turn slowly.

Students with hearing loss can follow the group.

Students with limited sight can listen to the music and be assigned a buddy to help them move from one step to the other.

Submitted by Anna Craner who teaches at Wilson Elementary in Logan, UT. Additional authors for this idea were Utah State University, PEP 3050 class, Cece's Group. Thanks for contributing to PE Central! Posted on PEC: 6/22/2010.
Viewed 67844 times since 6/6/2010.

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Water Cycle Dance

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this was very helpful thank you

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