In this investigation you and your students explore the effect of air temperature on evaporation and condensation, two processes in the Earth's water cycle. This investigation can be done as a demonstration and class discussion to reduce the amount of equipment needed. Younger students in particular will not be able to complete the investigation on their own, but with your guidance, they will see how the energy from the Sun heats the atmosphere and how that heat drives the water cycle.


This investigation explores one climate, a coastal climate. The online student version  (for grade 4) provides step-by step instructions for conducting the investigation. If you prepare two separate tanks, both the "Sun" On and "Sun" Off parts of the investigation could be conducted at the same time. Younger students would find that too confusing, but older students could be divided into groups to monitor and record the temperature changes on the worksheets included in the student version. If you use two separate tanks, it will take 2 days (48 hours) to complete the investigation. If you use one tank, it will take 4 days to complete the investigation.


This investigation was adapted from a collection of K-4 Climate investigations from IGES. The entire collection is suggested for review prior to beginning this investigation and is available here. Adaptations of the  "How does the make-up of the atmosphere affect air temperature?" and the "What will happen if climate variability and change cause glacier and polar cap melting?" investigations are included in the Sample investigations of the K-4 Climate: Air and K-4 Climate: Land modules.