PRISMS: Phenomena & Representation for Instruction of Science in Middle School

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This is a representation reviewed for the following learning goal:

The water falling on land collects in rivers and lakes, soil, and porous layers of rock, and much of it flows back into the oceans.

Summary

The introductory slide of this resource is an animation of the water cycle.  It addresses the key idea that water falling on land flows through soil and porous layers of rock, and much of it flows back into the oceans. It is likely to be comprehensible to middle school students.

Limitations: The simplification of the cycle gives the impression that precipitation only occurs on land and other processes only occur near a body of water.

Suggestions to improve effectiveness:  Discuss what the animated red arrows depicting water falling to earth, moving over the surface and moving through soil to a 'body of water' is conveying. Note that water also collects in rivers and lakes. Discuss the dynamic nature of the water cycle processes; they do not occur in a "circle".

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Detailed Review

Description

The representation is an animation depicting the water cycle. The first page is an introduction with links to pages on condensation, precipitation, infiltration, runoff and evapotranspiration. This analysis reviews the introduction.

  • Resource Copyright Owner: Teachers' Domain WGBH
  • Type of Resource: application/x-shockwave-flash


Content alignment

The resource addresses the actual substance of the learning goal rather than just the topic.

Explanation

The resource in the animation and text shows and describes water falling on the earth, going into soil and then flowing to the ocean.

Scope

The resource addresses the indicated part of the learning goal:

Explanation

[The water falling on land collects in] rivers and lakes, [soil, and porous layers of rock, and much of it flows back into the oceans].

Sophistication

The resource correctly reflects the level of sophistication of the learning goal.

Explanation

Although the resource contains many vocabulary terms, they do not interfere with the idea that water moves in a continuous cycle.

Notes for Teachers

Place emphasis on the process rather than the terminology.

Quality of instructional support

Does the representation accurately represent relevant aspects of the learning goal and/or brings out limitations that are not accurate?

Partial—The representation accurately represents most, but not all of the relevant aspects of the learning goals. It may or may not bring out inaccuracies.

The resource shows water falling to the ground, infiltrating soil and flowing back to a body of water. Some explanation is including in introduction text. It does not depict water collecting in streams, however.

Is the representation likely to be comprehensible to students?

Yes—The representation is likely to make the learning goal comprehensible to students.

The representation shows water falling on land, moving through porous rocks, and traveling both as surface water and underground to a body of water.

Does the representation make clear which aspects of the real thing are represented and which are not?

Partial—The representation usually, but not always, makes clear which aspects of the real thing are represented and which are not.

The red arrows depict water running off land and also infiltrating earth to move to a body of water. Though text states that surface water flows back to the ocean it is not clear if what is depicted is the ocean.

Summary Judgment

Useful with modification

Notes to teachers

Discuss what the animated red arrows depicting water falling to earth, moving over the surface and moving through soil to 'body of water' is conveying. Note that water also collects in rivers and lakes. Discuss the dynamic nature of the water cycle processes; they do not occur in a "circle".

Display the Resource