Now that you've had a chance to learn some vocabulary words, it's time to see them in action.
Watch this video to find out more about what the water cycle is, how it is powered by the sun, and what happens during each of the cycle's four main phases. You can watch the animation as many times as you like, and read the transcript as well. After you're finished, go to the next page of this lesson to complete an activity.
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This water molecule may not look like much, but it has been around the world and back again in a process called the water cycle.
The water cycle had two main parts--water goes up, water comes down. But it happens in ways slightly more complicated than that.
First, the up part: Heat from the sun causes the liquid water in our ponds, lakes, oceans, glasses of lemonade and even sweat to turn into a gas and rise into the atmosphere through a process called evaporation. Plants play a part too. Water released through tiny holes in their leaves, a process called transpiration, also evaporates into the atmosphere.
Once up in Earth's atmosphere, gaseous water eventually loses energy and condenses (condensation) back together as clouds.
Then comes the down part: When this water gets heavy enough, gravity takes charge and it falls back down into our lakes, oceans, and puddles as snow, sleet, rain, or fog (precipitation). And the cycle begins again.
So next time you have that glass of lemonade, just imagine where that water has been.