(Adult supervision required)
Experiment 1: Measuring Precipitation
Let them find out exactly how much rain is falling by letting them make their own rain gauge.
- Clear 2-liter plastic bottle
- Serrated knife
- A heavy bucket or flowerpot
- Waterproof marker
- Using the serrated knife, cut about 4 inches off the top of the bottle.
- Flip the piece upside down to create a funnel.
- Secure the funnel to the bottle using waterproof tape.
- Measure off inches or centimeters on the bottle and mark them with the marker.
- Set the bottle inside the bucket or flowerpot and place on a flat, open surface.
Measure the precipitation in their rain gauge at any time. Consider checking it daily, and having the kids chart the daily rainfall-just like meteorologists do!
Experiment 2: Making Rain Indoors
Show the kids what causes water to fall from the sky.
- Ice in an ice tray
- Shallow pot
- Oven mitts
- Bring a pot of water to a boil.
- With the oven mitters on, hold tray over the steam.
- Watch as "rain" forms and falls from the bottom of the tray.
How does the science behind this work? The surface of the ice cube tray is so cold that it literally cools the steam, turning it back into liquid form. This is a great opportunity to explain to the kids how water can exist in three different states-solid, liquid and gas-depending on its temperature.
Experiment 3: Creating a Rainbow
If the sun comes out after the rain has ended, don't miss the opportunity to create your own rainbow.
- Sheet of white printer paper
- Glass of water
- Hold the glass of water above the sheet of paper.
- Angle the glass so sunlight passes through the water, forming a rainbow of color on your paper.
This is similar to how rainbows form in the sky: light refracts when it passes through raindrops and is separated into the colors, red, orange, yellow, indigo and violet.
Experiment 4: The Doppler Effect
Show the kids how forecasters use radar to predict weather patterns.
- An electric razor
- A microphone or a sound-recording device (a smartphone's voice memo function works)
- Turn on your recording device.
- Turn on the razor either close or far from the microphone.
- Bring the razor closer or farther from the microphone.
- Listen to the recording.
The change in the frequency of the sound is known as the Doppler Effect. Measuring these frequency changes, forecasters can use the radar to predict weather patters in the area.
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Picture provided by Photo Bucket