Friday, April 26, 2013

A Week of Weather - Day 3: Rain

This week, we've done some great activities with wind and explored clouds.  For our last weather explorations, we focused on rain!!  Yes, I'll say it again, it's the desert, we don't get rain, but the children enjoyed songs or books about rain anyway and they LOVED making their own rain.

Our first experiment was a Rain Jar.  I've been doing this experiment for years, always topping the jar of hot water with plastic wrap, which always left melting ice and a big mess, until I saw it done using a bowl on top of the jar - duh, Miss Lindsey!

So, this year, I set it up properly: start with a mason jar filled about halfway with almost-boiling water (keep little hands away, please!), place a bowl (I used a glass bowl that fit down inside the rim of the jar) on top and fill the bowl with ice.  Observe!
After a few minutes, the evaporating water will condense on the bottom of the bowl of ice, form droplets and then 'rain' back into the jar.  I have to say, I've never seen kids stare so intently at a jar of water than I did when we did this experiment.

The rain doesn't last long, and without a formal explanation of the water cycle, the children may not even know how it happened, but the point of this activity wasn't to learn the science of rain, it was to be awed by rain - which we desert-dwellers tend to be anyway.  It's about watching, waiting, anticipation and finally the excitement of seeing rain INSIDE a jar!!


Next on the rainy agenda - Shaving Cream Clouds and Rainbow Rain, which I've seen floating about the web for quite a while and done very beautifully here.  

We read Listen to the Rain by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault.  I happen to really enjoy this book, both because the writing style is strangely soothing and also because the art style is unique.  After the book, we moved right into making our own rain.  

I filled mason jars about 2/3 full of water, then added shaving cream to the top.  The kiddos began adding liquid watercolors right away, but i think they were so fascinated with coloring the shaving cream, it took a little while before they realized the rainbow rain they were creating in their jars.
Everyone enjoyed adding colors and watching them swirl down into the water until the water was all black.  Even after that, the shaving cream was still lovely, and reminded me of some sort of tasty dessert, so I just took some pictures of the tops while the children finished coloring their clouds.

I hope you've enjoyed our Week of Weather!

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