Moving Without Wheels

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In a class demonstration, learners observe a simple water cycle model to better understand its role in pollutant transport. When polluted water evaporates, the pollutants remain behind, becoming concentrated. This simulates a point source of pollution in a lake and the resulting environmental consequences. Resource contains vocabulary definitions and suggestions for assessment, extensions, and scaling for different levels of learners.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • 12-inch frying pan
  • Glass bowl (one with a narrow base works best)
  • Aluminum pie tin
  • 1 quart of cubed or crushed ice (not block)
  • Water
  • Small household fan (4-6-inch diameter is best)
  • Hot plate or stovetop
  • Food coloring (dark color is best)
  • Aluminum foil (optional)
  • Water Cycle Worksheets


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Processes
      • Weather and Climate
    • Earth Structure
      • Atmosphere
  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Environmental Engineering
  • Life Sciences
    • Ecology
      • Human Impact
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Solutions
    • States of Matter
      • Liquids
      • Gases
      • Changes of Phase


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Kolenbrander, Amy ; Yowell, Janet ; Mach, Natalie ; Schaefer Zarske, Malinda ; Carlson, Denise ; Reiman-Moreno, Alejandro ; Stephens, Tyman

Source Collection

  • TeachEngineering


  • All rights reserved, Regents of the University of Colorado, 2004

Funding Sources:

  • Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE)
  • U.S. Department of Education
  • National Science Foundation, 0226322