Preciptation, Evaporation, and Transpiration Activity

Amy Townsend-Small, University of Cincinnati

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The students must use crayons or colored pencils to create maps of global precipitation and evaporation rates. One worksheet is provided to each group of students. Then a representative from each group explains their map to the rest of the class, and the instructor shows a similar map from NOAA or NASA.

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Mid-level undergraduate course in Hydrology and Biogeochemistry, for Environmental Studies or Geology majors.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Global temperature distribution, how precipitation is distributed around the Earth, location of major deserts and tropical forests.

How the activity is situated in the course

As a stand-alone exercise


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Understand global distribution of precipitation and evaporation

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Creating a map that displays spatial data with legend.
Understanding of global temperature distribution, and large-scale climactic patterns.

Other skills goals for this activity

Oral presentation
Working in groups

Description and Teaching Materials

In small groups, the students will color in the maps in the exercise (one sheet per group) with spatial data according to the instructions in the sheet. Then a representative from each group with show the class their map and discuss it, with input from the instructor including similar maps generated using satellite and meteorological data.

Precipitation and Evaporation Activity (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 410kB Apr29 13)
Precipitation and Evaporation Answers (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 972kB Apr29 13)

Teaching Notes and Tips


Each student who participates will get a participation credit.

References and Resources

Our text book is "Global Environment: Water, Air, and Geochemical Cycles", by Berner and Berner (2nd ed.)