September 21, 2009

Rain cloud activity

Today we did a rain activity that we found in a Montessori Method book. We are studying weather this week using the book "Weather Words" and a lapbook lesson found on-line and this activity made a nice accent piece to our unit.

We began with a few basic tools: a dropper, a dish of water, a tray, and some cotton balls. We discussed evaporation as a quick reminder of how clouds form and then we began the activity. The cotton ball acted as our cloud and the dropper supplied water from evaporation. When the cloud got too full, we had rain. Hunter held the "cloud" over the tray as Hannah Jane used the dropper. They were so excited that no rain fell out of the cloud as they dripped more and more water on the cotton ball. What a thrill it was counting higher and higher with still no rain. When finally water began to slowly rain from the cotton ball everyone was cheering and clapping.

This simple activity models so nicely how clouds can hang out up in the sky without causing any rain, and what leads to precipitation. We documented the activity in our lab book and kept repeated it a few times so that everyone had a chance to do each part. After the first round, we made predictions about how many drops we would have to use before we would get rain. What fun!

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