How to Teach the Hydrosphere, or Water on Earth

Introduce the hydrosphere with three types of interdisciplinary activities. First, ask kids to read and answer questions. Second, have them create pie graphs to show how water on Earth is distributed. Finally, to incorporate informational reading skills, ask them to determine test structure for related paragraphs.

Hydrosphere Teaching Ideas Cover

Teachers Meet to Discuss the Science Curriculum

Our favorite teacher, Ms. Sneed, sat in the work room with the fourth and fifth grade teams. “During today’s planning meeting,” said the principal, “we’ll continue planning science activities for Earth’s spheres. Last week, we finished the biosphere. Today we’ll start on the hydrosphere. Then later, we’ll work on the geosphere and atmosphere.”

Defining the Hydrosphere

Mr. Dvorchek passed around some papers. “I found this two-page informational text,” he said. “I thought we could lead with it. It’s differentiated for two reading levels and comes with questions.”

Mrs. Brown nodded her head. “I like this idea. We can incorporate reading into science.”

This differentiated two-page text teaches fifth grade students about the hydrosphere.

Graphing the Hydrosphere

Ms. Sneed had been clicking around on her laptop. “One fifth grade NGSS standard, 5-ESS2-2, addresses a specific aspect of the hydrosphere.” She read it aloud:

Describe and graph the amounts of salt water and fresh water in various reservoirs to provide evidence about the distribution of water on Earth

“You beat me to it,” said Mr. Dvorchek. “The texts I just mentioned include figures for percentages of water on Earth. As a matter of fact, kids can graph those percentages – on paper, with forced Google Slides, or with Easel Activities.” He turned his computer around so the others could see the Easel Activities version, which he had colored.

To address NGSS 5-ESS2-2, fifth grade students create pie graphs to illustrate percentages of water in the hydrosphere.

“Wow,” said Mrs. Brown, “I love the way kids can respond online.”

Working on Text Structure

Mr. Dvorchek smiled. “Yep. This resource provides everything we need to address the standards – in printable or digital form.”

He pulled out another set of papers. “You know how we’re always talking about informational text structure? Well, this resource also addresses that skill. Take a look at these pages. They ask kids to identify structure – while reading about the hydrosphere.”

“Well,” the principal said, “that was quick and easy. This little resource introduces the hydrosphere in a comprehensive manner. I guess we can adjourn a little early. Next week, we’ll work on other water science experiments: properties of water, the water cycle, waves, currents, and pollution.”

The teachers didn’t need to be told twice. They pushed back their chairs and headed to their classrooms.

Previous Post
The Teaching Struggle Is Real – Embrace It!
Next Post
Properties of Water Lesson Plans – Fun Science Activities