Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Students examine the global systems (interactions involving the biosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere) to see how changes to the global systems can potentially impact on the hydrosphere or water cycle. They look for connections between the carbon cycle ie climate change and how this could impact on water resources. They draw conclusions about the link between climate change and water supply and the time scale over which change might occur. 

Learning goals:

  • Students will understand how the interactions involving the biosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere influences the availability of water resources.
  • Students will recognise the links between changes to atmosphere (ie greenhouse gasses and climate change) with potential changes in rainfall.
  • Students will develop suggested timescales that might be involved with climate change.
  • Students propose ways people in Australia will adapt to changes in rainfall patterns and higher evaporation rates.

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 9 Science

  • People can use scientific knowledge to evaluate whether they should accept claims, explanations or predictions (ACSHE160)
  • Critically analyse the validity of information in secondary sources and evaluate the approaches used to solve problems (ACSIS172)

 Year 10 Science

  • Global systems, including the carbon cycle, rely on interactions involving the biosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere (ACSSU189)
  • People can use scientific knowledge to evaluate whether they should accept claims, explanations or predictions (ACSHE194)
  • Critically analyse the validity of information in secondary sources and evaluate the approaches used to solve problems (ACSIS206)

Syllabus OutcomesSC5-13ES, SC5-7WS, SC5-8WS, SC5-12ESEN5-2A

Topic: Water

Year levels: 9 and 10

Indoor or outdoor activity: Indoor

Time required: 45+ mins

Learning areas addressed: Science, Geography.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Assist students with research and engage students in a discussion around their results.

Resources required: Internet, writing materials and Student Worksheet.

Homework and extension opportunities:  Part of this activity can be completed as homework.

Keywords: water, biosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, water cycle, climate change, weather, climate, report, PowerPoint.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

Teacher preparation


As we know the Australian continent has the least amount of freshwater of any of the inhabited continents. In particular we have a relatively small amount of water runoff where our population is highest.

Any long term change in rainfall patterns is likely to have a large impact when our water resources are already scarce. In addition small average increases in temperature have a disproportionate increase in evaporation and the numbers of extremely hot days.

Activity outline

Part 1: Students find definitions  and illustrations for:

  1. Hydrosphere
  2. Biosphere
  3. Atmosphere

Students relate their definitions to what they know about the water cycle and carbon cycle.

Part 2: Discuss as a class the difference between weather and climate:

Intuitively they are very difficult to distinguish, however, some main points may include:

  • Weather is the hour by hour and day by day changes in the atmosphere.
  • Climate is the average weather pattern over many
- or - to view worksheets

Student Worksheet

Task 1. Find definitions and illustrations for the terms listed in the table below.

Term Definition Illustration














Explain how the hydrosphere and atmosphere are involved in the water cycle.

Explain how the biosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere are involved in the carbon cycle.

Task 2. CLIMATE and WEATHER are two terms that we often use when talking about water resources, discuss as a class, the differences between these terms. List your conclusions in the space provided.

Task 3. Choose a statement from the list below and produce a one page report or a  3 slide PowerPoint based on your research. 

  • "Humans have directly impacted on the water cycle by damming rivers and extracting water from both rainfall and ground water"
  • "Changes to the atmosphere through greenhouse gases and pollution can change climate and affect rainfall patterns and evaporation rates"
- or - to view worksheets

Leave your Feedback

We appreciate your feedback. Let us know what you like or don't like about this activity:

Sorry. You must be logged in to view this form.