About The Water Cycle

The water cycle, also known as the hydrological cycle or the H2O cycle, describes the continuous movement of water on, above and below the surface of the Earth. The mass of water on Earth remains fairly constant over time but the partitioning of the water into the major reservoirs of ice, freshwater, saline water and atmospheric water is variable depending on a wide range of climatic variables. The water moves from one reservoir to another, such as from river to ocean, or from the ocean to the atmosphere, by the physical processes of evaporation, condensation, precipitation, infiltration, runoff, and subsurface flow. In doing so, the water goes through different phases: liquid, solid (ice), and gas (vapor).

For Teachers

Key Concepts

The water cycle is a way to describe how water molecules move through various places including rivers, the ocean, the earth’s surface, the atmosphere and clouds. Actions such as evaporation, runoff, condensation, precipitation, soil absorption and ground water expansion move water from one zone to another.

Topics Addressed

  • The Water Cycle
  • Evaporation
  • Runoff
  • Condensation
  • Precipitation
  • Soil Absorption
  • Ground Water Expansion

Standards Covered

  • MS-ESS2-4
  • MS-ESS3-1
  • ESS2.C


The Water Cycle Game will support exploration of the following concepts:

  • Understand that the water cycle includes different pools or reservoirs.
  • Understand that water moves between different pools or reservoirs.
  • Understand the events or processes that lead to water moving between different pools or reservoirs.
  • Understand that time is also a variable in the water cycle.
  • Understand that human behavior impacts the water cycle.