Monday, April 28, 2014

Mad Science Monday: "Where does rain come from?"

    This past weekend had us pretty busy and for the better part of Saturday, we were dealing with rain and cold.  BLAH!
   Sometime on Saturday, while we were at the Autism Awareness Walk, the little munchkin asked me: "Why is there so much rain?"  I asked her, "Well, do you know were rain comes from?" And she, like many kids, stated, "From the sky."...
    Now this isn't exactly the wrong answer and most kids will give this answer, however, it prompted me to give her a very elementary explanation of the water cycle so she could learn that yes, rain does come from the sky, but more specifically, it comes from the clouds.
   I didn't use too much elaborate wording with her though. I simply told her that water vapor is found in the rivers, lakes, oceans and on the ground, and when there is warm air around, the water vapor rises up into the sky as little drops of water and those little droplets form clouds. When the clouds get full of water droplets, it falls back to the ground as rain!
   I read the book "Down Comes The Rain" by Franklyn M. Branley & James Graham Hale. And for a more simple and visual explanation of this whole process,  I took a bag of cottonballs to serve as "clouds" and filled a small vase with water.
   I put one cottonball in the water to show her how it absorbed some water, and then squeezed the water out to show her how much was absorbed inside of the cottonball.
    I asked her to guess how many cottonballs we would need to absorb all the water. She estimated that it would take 22 cottonballs to get rid of all the water in the vase.
    Then she was off to test her guess.
    She found out that it took 74  cottonballs to gather and absorb all of the water out of the vase! That's a whole lot of cottonballs... but they were fairly small ones. I am sure those jumbo ones can hold much more water.
And then the fun part: 
Making Rain!
    I told her that the "clouds" were now full of water and when that happens, the water comes out of the clouds in the form of rain drops!
   I gave her the go ahead to SQUEEZE all the water out of the "clouds" and make rain... which was what she was waiting to do!
And of course, some cottonball and water play followed!
    So, if your munchkins ask you where rain comes from, try out this quick little experiment to give them a visual and very basic understanding of the water cycle and how rain forms!

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