Water Cycle in a Bag

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In this activity, learners create a biosphere in a baggie. Learners add soil, seeds and a little water in a ziplock bag, tape the bag to a sunny window and observe a microcosm of the water cycle (hydrologic cycle) that sustains life on Earth. This resource includes tips for using this activity with older children as well as useful web links. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on Archive.org. Activity write-up only, images are unavailable.]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 7 days

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 11

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Model


Materials List (per student)

  • Ziplock bag
  • Permanent markers
  • Sand
  • Perlite (can be replaced with potting soil)
  • Grass seeds (or other quick growing seeds)
  • Soda bottle cap
  • Water
  • Sunny window


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Processes
      • Weather and Climate
    • Earth Structure
      • Oceans and Water
      • Biosphere
  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Plants
  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
      • Heat and Temperature
    • States of Matter
      • Liquids
      • Gases
      • Changes of Phase
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories

  • Gardening
  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • TryScience


  • All rights reserved, Queens Botanical Garden,