Session 2: Wai… it goes round and round 

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the session students will be able to …
1. understand the water cycle and how it relates to their lives


Diagram showing the water cycle (Photocopy masters 1, 1a & 1b)
The story of Ranginui and Papatuanuku (and water cycle model)
Water cycle experiment
Enviroschools kit, page 71 (Pepeha and Mihi); Healthy Water page 262 Nga Momo Wai

Curriculum links

Key competencies

• Using language, symbols and texts
• Managing Self

Science, Social Studies



The water cycle has no beginning and no end. It is driven by the sun. As the sun heats the water it evaporates into the air as water vapour where it rises with the air currents. The water vapour condenses in the atmosphere’s cooler temperatures and makes clouds. As the clouds get heavy, water particles (raindrops) fall from the sky as precipitation (water, hail, snow).



1. Going with the flow

• Brainstorm where water comes from and where it goes to.

• Give students the definition of the water cycle (above) and discuss the words underlined. Use the diagrams from the photocopy masters 1, 1a, 1b

• Investigate where water comes from and where it goes to at school. Create a diagram together and see if students can do the same for water at home.

• Where does our stream fit into the water cycle?

2. Experiment

Set up the following experiment with the class early in the day. Explain that the class will look at it later on in the day. Predict what will happen to the water.
• Put some water in a large glass bowl
• Place a small bowl in the middle of the large bowl
• Cover the top of the large bowl with glad wrap (not too tight but make sure there are no gaps or holes)
• Put a stone or heavy object into the middle of the glad wrap so it sags over the small bowl
• Place the bowl in a sunny place for a few hours

How did the water get into the small bowl? Is this what you thought might happen?

Or do this water cycle experiment:

3. Ranginui and Papatuanuku

• Read aloud the story of Ranginui and Papatuanuku (see EnviroSchools kit or BLM 1

How does this story explain the stages of the water cycle?
(Tears represent the rain and the sighs of Papatuanuku represent water vapour)

• Students could illustrate this story.

4. Pepeha

Many Maori introduce themselves with a pepeha. A pepeha tells where the person comes from and links to the land (mountain, river/stream/sea, tribe, name).

• Students can make their own pepeha after research with whanau or kaumatua of their area. If students have no iwi affiliations they could substitute the name of their school. Refer to the Enviroschools kit (page 71)

5. Nga Momo Wai – Types of Water in Maori culture

Maori have many ways to describe water of different types: waiora, pure water; wai puke, flood waters; wairere , waterfall; wai horoi, water for washing.

• Explore these definitions and find examples locally. Refer to page 262 of the Healthy Water (EnviroSchools kit).


• Ask students to draw themselves in the water cycle, showing how they use water and where it goes.

Session 1
Up the Creek
Session 2
Wai … it goes round and round
Session 3
Oh for a cool stream!
Session 4
Hey! Watch where you chuck you muck!
Session 5
Time to Come Clean
Session 6
We’re Scheming for a Clean Stream