A Rainy Day Experiment
Students will be able to understand why rain falls from clouds. Students will be able to follow multi-step directions. Students will be able to make predictions.
Introduction (10 minutes)
- Tell students that today they will be learning about the weather.
- Invite students to step outside and observe the weather. Great guiding questions include: Is it sunny or cloudy today? What do the clouds look like?
- Have students make predictions about whether or not it will rain today. Ask them to identify what the sky looks like on a rainy day.
- Then, tell students that they will have the chance to observe a rainy day in class today.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (15 minutes)
- Read The Rainy Day by Anna Milbourne and Sarah Gill.
- Model the experiment for the class.
- First, fill your jar almost to the top with water. You can place a heavy figurine inside the jar to create the illusion that the person will get rained on.
- Then, ask students what they think clouds are. Explain that clouds are tiny water droplets that come together in the sky. Tell your students that there are various types of clouds such as cumulus, stratus, and cirrus.
- Show your students the Types of Clouds worksheet to give examples of what these clouds look like. Read the descriptions to your students.
- After this discussion, fill the top of your jar with shaving cream. Explain that these represent clouds.
- Then, tell the students that when the water is too heavy for the clouds to hold, it begins to rain. Drop about 5 droplets of blue food coloring on top of the clouds, and watch what happens!
Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (5 minutes)
- Tell your students that they will now have a chance to create their own rainy day.
- Give each student the materials that they need to complete the experiment on their own.
Independent Working Time (10 minutes)
- Give your students time to complete the experiment.
- Have students work with a partner to discuss what happened.
- Tell each group to discuss things they can do on a rainy day.
- Enrichment: Have students make predictions about what causes thunder and lightning. Observe their predictions to plan for future lessons.
- Support: Have students work with a partner if they are unable to complete this activity independently. Have them draw pictures of what they saw outside. Label their pictures for them.
Related Books and/or Media
- Down Comes the Rain by Franklyn M. Branley
Assessment (10 minutes)
- Observe students as they complete this activity to see if they understand the process of how clouds and rain form.
- Then, give them the Counting Clouds worksheet to complete in class.
Review and Closing (5 minutes)
- To summarize the lesson, invite students to share the process of the experiment with you.
- Ask them questions about what each step represented. For example: What was the shaving cream? What did the blue food coloring represent?