Despite the storm that flooded Manila and shut down the schools for most of last week, our learning activities in our little homeschool went on as usual. I decided to focus on weather, the one element common among the three Five in a Row books that we’ve been enjoying for the past month – “A Storm In The Night,” “Three Names,” and “Mr. Gumpy’s Motor Car.” We also included toddler/preschool rain activities for Little Sir.
Read about about one failed rain experiment, and the next one that was spontaneous but successful! We enjoyed learning about clouds, tornadoes, and umbrellas as part of our weather activities.
1. How Rain Clouds Are Formed
I was excited to do an experiment to demonstrate evaporation and condensation. The directions from Usborne’s Book of Science Experiments were easy: boil water and put it in a big bowl, add salt and food coloring, put an empty smaller bowl in the middle, cover with plastic wrap, put a heavy coin on top, and wait for two hours.
Well, after two hours, nothing has still happened. There were supposed to be salty, colored water droplets in the small bowl, showing that evaporation and condensation have transpired. The experiment was a failure! But experiments are like that, right? Learning happens in both failure and success.
It just amazed me, though, that when we told Wonderful G about our problem, he took one look around the kitchen and immediately came up with a fast, easy, and successful demonstration! When he saw steam rising from the pressure cooker, he grabbed a small dish and put it in the freezer for about two minutes. He then dried it, and held it over the pressure cooker like a cloud. In a few minutes, we saw steam from the ocean rise up (evaporation in the pressure cooker) to the cloud (small dish), form drops of water (condensation), and then fall down (precipitation or rain)!
2. Different Kinds of Clouds
We love all of Tomie de Paola’s books: his cute nursery rhymes, his funny picture books, his poignant autobiographical chapter books, and his entertaining fact books. For our week about the weather, we read The Cloud Book, which is an interesting and light-hearted introduction to the different types of clouds. We used it to identify the type of clouds outside and also made a few notebook pages that I downloaded.
3. Materials for Umbrella
Since it was raining so hard last week, we wondered what would make a good material for an umbrella. We got four glasses and covered each with a different material: table napkin, glossy paper, plastic wrap, and foil. As expected, plastic was water resistant and there weren’t any drops of water in the plastic-covered glass. However, the foil-topped glass was also dry, though it got torn easily. So, the winner in our little experiment was…. plastic!
4. Tornado in a Bottle
There was an image of a tornado in the book Three Names. We immediately remembered Dorothy and the tornado that brought her to the wonderful Land of Oz. I tried to think how I could demonstrate a tornado to Little T, and thought of showing her the whirlpool formed when releasing water from the sink. I researched for a better way, though, and came across “Tornado in a Bottle.” Basically, you get a large bottle (we used a Coke bottle), put water in it, cover, and then shake it vigorously. You will then see a “tornado” inside.
Resources For You
- How To Make A Tornado In A Bottle
- An Example of a Cloud Lapbook
- Oh Say Can You Say What’s The Weather Today?
- Wild Weather
- DK Eyewitness Books: Weather
- Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs
- Weather/Cloud Books for Toddlers/Preschoolers