Wednesday, August 6, 2014

It's Water-Wise Wednesday With Frannie the Fish! {Making a Mini Terrarium}

This Water-Wise Wednesday, Frannie is going to teach you how to make a mini terrarium! Your terrarium will allow you to see how groundwater is stored and also witness the different parts of the water cycle! 

What you'll need: 

  • A clear plastic cup and lid
  • Soil
  • Gravel
  • Rubber bands (if lids are not available)
  • Plastic wrap (if lids are not available)
  • Seeds
  • Water

Activity Steps:
1. Add about an inch of gravel to your plastic cup 
2. Add a small amount of water and watch as the water trickles down through the gravel layer. This is 
a simple model of groundwater. 
3. Cover the gravel with soil so that the cup is about ¾ full. 
4. Grab a few seeds. Read the seed packet for planting instructions. Typically, the seeds do not need to be planted deep into the soil.
5. Water the seeds. Once again watch how the water moves down through the soil. This is how rain 
and snow recharge aquifers. 
6. Cover your cup with a lid or make a lid with the plastic wrap and secure with a rubber band. 
7. Place in a sunny location. 
Notice how the lid of your cup becomes foggy. 
8. Over the next few days, watch as the sides of the cup become foggy. This is condensation. Heat 
from the warm sun causes water to evaporate from the soil (become a vapor). When the vapor 
touches the side of the cup it cools and condenses (becomes a liquid again). As the water on 
the sides and lid of the cup becomes heavy it will fall back to the soil and will water the seeds. 
Some of the water will move deeper into the soil and reach the gravel layer in the cup, becoming 
This is the same process as the water cycle: Water on the surface evaporates and moves into the atmosphere, then it cools and forms clouds, and eventually it falls as precipitation (rain, snow, sleet, hail, etc.). From there, the water either runoffs to surface water (streams, rivers, lakes, oceans) or soaks into the ground where it might eventually become groundwater. 
When your plant gets too large for the plastic cup, you can plant it into a bigger pot or in the ground! Now you can put your plant in the garden or place it in a sunny spot so it can continue to grow.