KS3 Water Cycle

What are clouds and why does it rain?

Key Stage 3, Geography

Prior Learning

At Key Stage 2 students learnt the basic water cycle, this is adding to and building upon this work.


By the end of the lesson:

  • All students will know that water moves within the hydrological cycle
  • Most students will know that key vocabulary for the hydrological cycle

Lesson plan


Get the students to complete the hydrological cycle word search to give them the key vocabulary for the lesson.

Lesson resources

Hydrological cycle word search.

Main Body

Option to demonstrate water cycle in a bowl

  • A quick visual refresh of what is going on. Simple demonstration requiring a kettle (to supply steaming water) a mixing bowl, cling film and some ice cubes.
    Illustration of water cycle in a bowl

    Illustration of water cycle in a bowl

    Condensation should form on the cling film and drip (rain) back into the bowl. A slower version of this demo can be found in the KS2 section.

Go through hydrological cycle animation with students.

You will need:
Clear glass bowl
Kettle for steaming water
Ice cubes

An animation of the hydrological cycle.

Hydrological cycle worksheet.

Hydrological cycle worksheet answers.


Complete the hydrological cycle crossword to check their understanding of the cycle. Alternatively compile their own crossword using key words.

Hydrological cycle crossword.

Web page reproduced with the kind permission of the Met Office.