Monday, April 13, 2009

Wild and Wonderful Weather: Rain, etc.

We're battling lots of nasty colds here, and I'm trying to get everything ready to head out to the Midwest Homeschool Convention - yippee! But before I go I wanted to get this third weather post finished up. So here you go...

Our focus during the first two weeks of our weather study was rain and everything to do with it:

•the water cycle
•cloud formation

I know this looks like a lot of information, but we gently touched on these topics by reading several books and doing some fun experiments.

Our main story for the first week was Mr. Gumpy's Motor Car by John Burningham, and we used the Five in a Row lessons for it each day. This story is set in England and takes us on a lovely automobile ride with Mr. Gumpy and his friends. When the story opens it's a beautiful day for a drive, but soon storm clouds appear, and the passengers, both people and animals, have to learn a bit about cooperation to get themselves out of a bind. They get sopping wet in the process, but all ends well and the sun comes out once again. I've said it before...all of the Five in a Row books we've done so far were hits, and this one was no exception.

Each day after Mr. Gumpy, we read one of the following:

Rain by Kristin Ward (easy reader; nice, gentle introduction to how rain is formed)

Down Comes the Rain by Franklyn M. Branley (Let's Read and Find Out Science - a great series!)

Why Is It Raining? by Judith Williams (really neat pictures of raindrops and good explanations of rain and cloud formation)

Rainbows by Dana Meachen Rau (nice pictures and explanation)

1. We placed 2 tbsp. of water into each of two saucers.
2. We placed them outside - one in the sun, one in the shade.
3. We checked back later to find that the water in the sun had evaporated while the water in the shade was still there.
Explanation: Heat evaporates water. Since the air in the sunny spot is warmer than the air in the shade, the water in the sun evaporated faster than the water in the shade.

Make a Rainbow:
1. On a sunny day we went outside and turned on the garden hose.
2. Standing with our backs to the sun we adjusted the nozzle so that it produced a wide spray of water.
3. After gradually adjusting our position and the position of the hose a few times we finally saw a rainbow! Everybody loved this one and wanted a chance to try it for themselves.
Explanation: When the sunlight hits the drops of water, the drops act as a prism and bend the light into the colors of the rainbow. Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet.
Afterwards we drew rainbows for our nature journals.

Make rain:

1. We filled an aluminum pie pan with ice cubes and some cold water. We filled a glass jar with hot water. Then we placed the pie pan on top of the jar and left it for several minutes.

2. After awhile we gently lifted the pan to look at the bottom of it.

3. Raindrops had formed and eventually grew heavy enough to rain back down into the jar.

Explanation: The hot water in the jar is evaporating and turning into a gas called water vapor. The cold surface of the pie pan cools the water vapor from the jar. The water vapor changes back into water, collecting in drops. As the drops get bigger and heavier, it “rains.”

In case you're interested, here are my first two Wild and Wonderful Weather posts:
Making a Backyard Weather Station
Our Book List

I'll be back in a few days with some more weather activities!


  1. Great information on your last weather study. Have fun at the convention.

  2. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  3. How beautiful to come to your blog today after a somewhat crazy day here and hear "all creatures of our God and King' Thank you.

    Another fun weather book is Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs. Kind of crazy...but fun.

    Blessings to you as you travel to the conference.

  4. You put together a great weather study. I will hit these posts again when we study weather. Thanks for the book lists!


I enjoy reading your comments and so appreciate them. It usually takes me a few days to reply, so thanks for your patience and for dropping by!