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The Water Cycle: A Green Screen Movie

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Keywords: green screen, video making, water cycle
Subject(s): Science, Earth Science, Reading, Technology, Video
Grades 4 through 5
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
View Full Text of Standards
School: Hall Memorial Middle School, Willington, CT
Planned By: Rebecca Pilver
Original Author: Rebecca Pilver, Willington
Science Standards

Students will describe the role of the sunís energy (i.e., heating and cooling) in the continuous cycling of water between the earth and the atmosphere through evaporation, condensation and precipitation.


Enchanted Learning's Water Cycle Reader's Theater script. http://www.enchantedlearning.com/rt/weather/watercycle.shtml
Editing software
Flip video cameras
Flip video tripod
Digital Voice Recorders (optional)
Access to the Internet
A Green Screen (lime green felt works great for this)
Directions for How to Make a Green Screen (do a search on the Internet for how to make a green screen in your video editing software)
Costume Materials (poster board, string, blue streamers, glitter, mylar wrapping paper, etc.)


1. Print out Enchanted Learning's Water Cycle Reader's Theater script. http://www.enchantedlearning.com/rt/weather/watercycle.shtml

Assign parts. You will also need 2-3 students to be on Background Pictures Committee. Students who do not wish to be in the movie should take this role.

3. Read through the script together as a class. Have students practice their lines each night for homework. Provide time in class for students to memorize their parts. If you have digital voice recorders have students practice into those so that they can listen to their fluency and expression.

4. Provide students time to plan their costumes. First, discuss effects such as wearing green to blend into the background, putting the green screen over a table to simulate falling through the sky or swimming through water, shimmering materials such as glitter or foil. If students have already had experience with green screens, they will have lots of ideas to draw upon. Then, brainstorm possible materials such as poster board, glitter, streamers, and fabric. Give students about 20 minutes to work with a partner. Their task is to draw a picture of their costume and list materials needed. Students who are on the Background Picture Committee need to go through the script and identify pictures that they will need to find for each scene. They should consult with the students who are acting in the scene to promote collaboration.

5. Gather the materials needed to make the costumes.

6. Costume Design Day! Students will work on creating their costumes. Set up a green screen in the room so that you can test out their costume designs. Take a short video clip of students in their costumes. Upload the clips to the video editing software. Add the green screen effect and a simple sky background. Preview the clips as a whole class and give each other feedback.

7. Rehearse the play and video tape it using Flip video cameras. A Flip tripod is also very helpful.

8. The Background Pictures Committee should be saving the backgrounds to a single folder. Teach them how to find legal images such as those found in Flickr Creative Commons or Pics for Learning.

9. Download the video files to the video editing software. Edit the video and add the green screen effect by importing the images saved to match the scenes. Show the video to the students. Decide together on where transitions, music, and text should go.

10. Show the video! Publish it to the web or make DVDs for students to take home. Send it to other grade levels to view or show it on the school morning news.

11. Ask students to write down 3 things that they learned from the experience.

Links: Water Cycle script
Flickr Creative Commons
How to Make Green Face Paint
How to Make a Green Screen
Pics for Learning
Materials: Internet Services, Video Tools, Tripods, Digital Voice Recorders, Flip Video