Students will demonstrate their understanding of the water cycle and Pinelands weather and climate by completing a crossword puzzle and labeling a diagram of the water cycle.

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Pinelands Water Crossword
Pinelands Water Crossword Teacher Answer Key
Worksheet-The Water Cycle
Teacher Answer Key for The Water Cycle Worksheet
Pinelands Climate Summary

The teacher will need to lead students through a discussion of weather, climate, and the water cycle. The teacher may wish to consult the "Pinelands Climate Summary" for average temperature and precipitation information for the New Jersey Pinelands. Factors specific to the Pinelands include:

The New Jersey Pinelands is in a temperate climate.

The average annual precipitation in the Pinelands is 45 inches.

The sandy soil of the Pinelands allows precipitation to infiltrate the ground quickly.

Pinelands water is acidic and contains considerable amounts of iron.

Pinelands water, often called cedar water, is brown or black because of humates found in it.

The teacher should consult the additional information on the Pinelands Water Unit page for further background on Pinelands water.

After the discussion, students should work together to complete the Pinelands water crossword.

In the next class period or for homework, students should use some of the terms from the crossword to label each process in the water cycle.



Check the crossword puzzle and the water cycle diagram with students for accuracy. Have students explain the processes that are part of the water cycle and ask the following questions:

Why is the Pinelands water called cedar water? (It is brown or black because of the humates, decomposed plants and animal matter, in the water)

Describe the weather and climate of the Pinelands (It is a temperate climate with approximately 45 inches of precipitation annually)

How might the sandy soil of the Pinelands contribute to pollution of the water? (large pore spaces in the sandy soil allow water to pass through rapidly without filtering out impurities)

Explain the path a water droplet might take from a cloud back to a cloud (From cloud-precipitation; infiltration into a plant or a lake, runoff into a lake; evaporation of the lake or plant transpiration back into a cloud)



1. Place a large jar over a recently watered common household plant. Expose the plant under the jar to strong sunlight for several hours. Observe the jar with the students and discuss the following questions with them: What forms on the inside of the jar? (water droplets) By what process does the water occur? (plant transpiration) How does transpiration relate to Pinelands weather patterns? (it is one part of the water cycle)

2. Plan a trip to an area of the Pinelands to study microclimates (if a trip is not possible, this activity can be done on the school grounds). A microclimate is a climate in a specific area that exists because of immediate physical conditions (for example-it will be cooler under a dense bush than it will be in an open, sandy area). Decide on four areas to test for microclimatic conditions (possibilities include temperature, soil moisture, wind speed, amount of light, etc.). Prior to testing, the teacher and students should develop a chart for recording data on the areas tested, and use this chart later for comparison and discussion.

This lesson will introduce the students to the following vocabulary words:

annual, atmosphere, climate, convection current, evaporation, humates, pollutant, precipitation, runoff, temperate, transpiration, weather.

This lesson covers the following New Jersey Core Curriculum Standards. Clicking on the standard number will take you to the complete text of the standard. You must use your browser's "BACK" button to return to this page from the linked Core Curriculum Standard pages.

Science standards:

5.1-All students will learn to identify systems of interacting components and understand how their interactions combine to produce the overall behavior of the system

5.8-All students will gain an understanding of the structure and behavior of matter.

5.10-All students will gain an understanding of the structure, dynamics, and geophysical systems of the earth.

5.12-All students will develop an understanding of the environment as a system of interdependent components affected by human activity and natural phenomena.

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