Welcome to my 10 Days Series on the topic of nature study! Each of the ten days brings you a creative nature walk idea and a fun follow-up activity to spark your enthusiasm for nature study today! (Well, maybe not today in your neck of the woods, but soon!)
Why study nature?
Today’s nature study: Rain
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When rain is approaching, the ominous looking clouds are a sight to behold! And how amazing to see sheets of rain falling before they reach you! Use this time as the rain approaches to practice photography skills and capture the sights. You might like to do quick sketches every five minutes to show how the system is changing as it approaches. Make notes on each sketch about things such as how the air smells, how the breeze feels, how loud the thunder is becoming, how many seconds you count between the lightning and thunder, etc.
After staying safe during the rain or storm, go back out to take pictures of the aftermath. Note how things look different after the rain.
1. Boil some water in a pot (or a tea kettle) until steam forms above it. Slowly and carefully pour the hot water into a glass jar. Fill an aluminum pie pan with ice cubes and place it on top of the glass jar which is emitting the steam “cloud”. After a few minutes have the children observe the bottom of the pie pan which will show that when the steam comes in contact with the cool air from the pie pan, drops of water form and fall back into the jar like rain.
Explanation: As the water boils, it turns into a gas called water vapor. The steam you see is the water vapor. When it touches the cold pie pan, the water vapor condenses, or changes back into water. When the water droplets get heavy enough, they fall from the pie pan much like rain falls from the sky. This process is called the water cycle. As it pertains to weather, water from oceans, lakes, streams, puddles, etc. evaporates (or turns into water vapor) and rises. As the water vapor reaches the cooler air in the sky, it condenses and the water droplets gather together to form clouds. And, in very simple terms, once the water droplets become heavy enough, they fall back to earth as rain.
2. Here’s another simple demonstration for observing the water cycle as you make it “rain”. Add ½ cup of blue tinted water into a zip top baggie and seal it tightly. Tape the baggie to a sunny window. After a few hours, you should see the water droplets that have evaporated condensing near the top of the bag and raining back down the sides of the bag.
Read a Book or Two If You Like:
Today’s rain ideas are just a small sampling of similar activity suggestions you’ll find in the NaturExplorers Remarkable Rain study!