Learning About Evaporation

Learning About Evaporation

Watch this brief, video picture of practice that captures everyday classroom life and provides real-life examples of how students learn and think about freshwater topics.


3 - 8


Earth Science

Evaporation and condensation are two particularly difficult concepts for students to understand, especially young students who have not yet learned about atoms and molecules. To these learners, evaporation happens when water dries up or disappears. These students do not have a better way of explaining what happens to the water, so they default to explaining that the water disappears. Teaching about evaporation or other water-cycle processes can be particularly difficult because students can only see the visible parts of the process but not what is occurring at the molecular level. Evaporation, however, is an important process that brings freshwater to natural and human communities, and all students should understand how this happens and why it is important to our survival.

Watch this video of 3rd grade students in Auburn, California—an inland community. The purpose of this classroom video is to hear and think about student ideas about evaporation and how best to teach this concept.

For additional classroom context, video analysis, and reflection opportunities, read the Picture of Practice page for "Learning About Evaporation" in the Earth's Freshwater Environmental Literacy Teacher Guide, page 35.

Media Credits

The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited.

Ari J. Posner, M.S. Urban Planning
Beth A. Covitt, Ph.D. Environmental Education and Conservation Psychology
Tania T. Hinojosa, M.Ed. Educational Technology
Jose Marcos-Iga, Ph.D. Natural Resources
Marcia S. Matz, M.A. Design
Tara G. Treiber, B.A. Natural Sciences: Ecology
Sandra Postel, National Geographic Fellow
Abraham Miller-Rushing, Ph.D. Biology
Anica Miller-Rushing, M.Ed. Curriculum and Instruction
Lindsey Mohan, Ph.D. Educational Psychology and Technology
Cindy Olson
Kristen Dell, National Geographic Society
Lindsey Mohan, Ph.D.
Chelsea Zillmer
Educator Reviewers
Catie Boarts, Heal the Bay
Beth A. Covitt, University of Montana
Jenny D. Ingber
Meghan E. Marrero, New York State Marine Education
Marcia S. Matz
Sandra Postel, National Geographic Fellow
Last Updated

May 20, 2022

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