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Probable Futures


3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th


Science, Chemistry, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Type

  • Digital Text

Regional Focus


Water: Workings of Water

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  • This text follows the journey of a single drop of water as it travels through the water cycle, indicating the changes that have occurred due to global warming.  
  • Students will view a number of infographics that help explain this phenomenon and learn how increasing global temperatures change the water cycle. 
Teaching Tips


  • Students can listen to the narration of the article as well.
  • Students can click the "i" icon to learn more about certain terms or concepts.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Teachers may want to go over the following terms before reading the text: pre-industrial, volatile, crucial, porous, contours, saturation, transpire, capacity, deluge, erratic, turbulent, and frenetic.


  • Teachers could project any of the four diagrams on the board and ask students to write a short paragraph describing what is happening to the water molecules. Students could swap paragraphs and compare and contrast the two paragraphs.
  • In small groups, students could make a list of the ways that climate change has interrupted the water cycle.
  • Biology classes and chemistry classes could use this resource to connect climate change to lessons about states of matter, hydrogen bonds, the water cycle, or the effects of temperature on molecules.
  • Other resources on this topic include this worksheet from NASA on the water cycle, this video on the global water crisis, and this video on the roles of water in Earth's surface processes.
Scientist Notes
This resource describes how recent warming has accelerated changes in the ocean systems and water cycles causing instability and volatility in weather patterns and climate. This has impacted infrastructure, storm sewer, soil health, and organisms interactions and presents a case for engineers, and the government to design resilient infrastructure and projects suitable for the changing climate system. This is recommended for teaching.
  • Science and Engineering
    • ESS2: Earth’s Systems
      • 5-ESS2-1 Develop a model using an example to describe ways the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and/or atmosphere interact.
      • MS-ESS2-4 Develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth’s systems driven by energy from the sun and the force of gravity.
      • HS-ESS2-2 Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
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