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Photo by Anna Atkins via Unsplash

Database Provider


New York DEP


6th, 7th, 8th


Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences, Geography

Resource Types

  • Lesson Plan
  • Activity - Classroom

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - Northeast, New York, New York City



Connecting Climate Change to the Water Cycle

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  • In this lesson, students learn about the connections between climate change and the water cycle by creating graphs to show how precipitation and evaporation have changed over time in different locations.
  • Students present their work in a gallery walk and discuss what their research uncovered about changes to the water cycle, the impacts these changes have, and strategies to address the effects.
Teaching Tips


  • Students will explore human interactions with Earth systems and hone their systems thinking skills.
  • This interdisciplinary lesson incorporates Earth science, geography, and math components.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Each student group will need a computer with internet access.
  • If students make graphs by hand, each group will need poster paper, markers, and post-it notes.
  • Students should understand the basics of reading maps, graphing, climate change, and the water cycle.


  • Teachers can choose the scale of this lesson by assigning students specific areas globally, nationally, or locally.
  • The lesson is designed for New York City classrooms, but teachers can easily modify it for use in other cities by changing locations for research.
  • Students can create the graphs by hand on poster paper or digitally in Google Sheets.
  • The lesson includes an optional extension activity where students learn about the watersheds in upstate New York through a penpal program.
  • The lesson does not provide much instruction for students to create their graphs. Teachers should consider walking students through an example location as a class to help students understand how to interpret the NOAA maps, set up data tables, and create effective graphs.
Scientist Notes
This activity allows students to evaluate how climate change alters the water cycle. It is recommended for teaching.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Mathematics
    • Statistics & Probability (6-8)
      • 6.SP.B.5 Summarize numerical data sets in relation to their context.
  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-1. Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how the uneven distributions of Earth’s mineral, energy, and groundwater resources are the result of past and current geoscience processes.
      • MS-ESS3-2. Analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects.
      • MS-ESS3-4. Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s systems.
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