Friday, February 8, 2013

Make it Rain in Your Classroom!

My students are studying weather this unit. Since it's been relatively dry these past few weeks, our weather caterpillar pretty much displays sunny days. What kind of winter is this?! Oh, that's right. I live in California...annnnnd I shouldn't brag. since it hasn't been windy, or more importantly, rainy, I decided to bring the rain indoors. That's right. We made it rain in my classroom. My kids were incredulous too.

We started by doing a "rain song". We start by rubbing our hands together to make the sound of the wind. Then we "clap" using one finger, then move up to two, and so forth until we are fully clapping. Then we pounded our laps, and then our feet on the floor (I highly recommend this in a portable classroom) for the loud thunder. We then moved back down until we were rubbing our hands together again. The kids loved it and I told them it will help to make the rain appear in our room.

I then showed them a picture of the rain cycle and we talked about how rain is made. And then...the rain came.

To make it rain, I used my electric tea kettle and filled it up halfway with water. In about 3 minutes, I had a nice whistle going. I held the plastic cup (it's just the top to the science kit) over the steam. The pink bucket was to catch the rain. I had to be very careful not to give myself a steam burn (which is easy to do). I think next year, I'll bring some tongs to hold the cup. Within another 3 minutes, we had quite the condensation happening!

As the condensation slowly fills the cup, the kids can see what each item represents:
kettle = ocean
water vapor = evaporation
clear plastic cup = cloud
condensation = rain (precipitation) 
pink bucket = lake/river/stream 

We then drew the water cycle and labeled it. 

At the end of the day, we wrote in our Room News that we made it rain in our classroom! I think this is an excellent conversation starter for home communications.