The world in which we live is beset by numerous new and exciting events and processes. Simple questions such as the source of soil, how it is formed, and the reasons why there are different types of soils all serve to help a person relate to his or her environment appropriately. These questions can also be asked about certain basic yet essential occurrences on earth such as water and the cycle of water production. From the answers obtained in an attempt to answer these questions, the intellectual development of a person is tremendously augmented and improved. In the same way in which adults and older people are able to observe and make derivations from their environment, children also witness the same happenings. The only difference may be the level of interpretation. Indeed, from a tender age children begin to drink from this cup of knowledge by making simple yet crucial observations and interpretations about their surrounding (Baumann, 2008). This is the point where school and learning come into play. Schools are meant to provide children with the opportunity to share on their observations and ideas about their surroundings. This is not to say that children will always be right in their observations and analyses. On the contrary, they may make mistakes on numerous occasions. However, guidance and constant reminder are significant and vital to their intellectual development. All these activities are geared towards giving a child an opportunity and a stepping stone in improving his or her cognitive functions. They also help in increasing his or her level of association and relation with the environment.
Scientific study of the earth and related bodies gives the opportunity to understand the environment, and thereby manipulate it to the advantage of the human race. From basic knowledge obtained so far, the understanding of the earth and related processes has been phenomenal. The earth is made up of three basic constituents, soil, the atmosphere and water. These three constituents are interrelated in processes and activities, and together give rise to a system that sustains and supports life on the earth’s surface (Keeley, 2005). From the three constituents of the earth mentioned, water has constantly been overlooked despite its importance and contribution with regard to sustenance of life on earth. Water is a compound made of gases and other simple elements in the atmosphere. These constituents combine at extremely low temperature. The resultant product is liquid water. Most of it occurs naturally on the earth’s surface. In fact, more than seventy percent of the surface of the earth is covered with water bodies. These are the main sources of water and contributors to the water cycle. Water bodies are categorized as internal and external water bodies. Internal water bodies are those that occur within the boundaries of continents and include lakes, rivers and dams. The external water bodies are those that surround the continents and make up the greater percentage of water bodies and the space they occupy (Bishop, 2008).
The water cycle is one of the many processes that occur naturally to ensure that the essential resources on earth do not run out. As basic as it is, the process is responsible for holding many other cycles together, and it is unimaginable how the world would be without it. Simply put, the water cycle is the backbone of many life processes. The cycle begins when water on the earth’s surface is lost through evaporation. This process requires energy which is provided readily and naturally by the sun. The water evaporates from the ground, from water bodies such as lakes and oceans and plants (when they lose water through transpiration). In plants, transpiration which is the process by which plants undergo loss water to the atmosphere commonly occurs during the day (Baumann, 2008). Since it is lighter, the water (in vapor form) rises in the atmosphere where it reaches zones which are cold enough to cause its condensation. Condensation is the process by which water vapor cools and turns to liquid water. It is aided by the presence of particles in the atmosphere, including dust particles (Moore, 2000). The cooled water is what accumulates in the sky as clouds.
Over a given period, the processes of evaporation and condensation occur causing a significant amount of water to accumulate above the earth’s surface. This is seen as clouds. When sufficiently heavy, the clouds release their contents in the form of rain drops. Sometimes, the content of the clouds is released as ice or mist depending on how cold water is and the level above the earth’s surface at which it was cooled (Moore 2000). This process by which clouds release their content in the form of raindrops, ice, mist or even snow is called precipitation. When the water reaches the earth’s surface, it is absorbed into the ground where it forms ground water that could later be released as spring water. This process by which water from the rain is absorbed by soil and travels below the ground is called infiltration. Essentially, it is the process responsible for the underground water which can be retrieved through springs and by digging wells. If the ground is saturated with water, the excess water forms part of the surface runoff and flows into water bodies including rivers, lakes, seas and oceans (Baumann, 2008). This is where the cycle begins again. Heat energy from the sun causes evaporation of the water and the cycle begins again.