Clouds in a Jar

We are loving our Weather Unit so far!  This week we’ve had a visit from our local meteorologist, shadow experiments, and lots of water cycle fun {which I blogged in detail about last year, so I won’t reblog this year.}  Then, Friday, we ended the week with a science experiment: Cloud in a Jar.
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This one was on taps last year, but my baby decided to get Croup….*major frowny face* and I just never did get a chance to add it back into the plans!  But on the plus side, I didn’t even have to make copies of the lab handout this year because I had saved it from last year!  I LOVE it when that happens!!

Let’s back up for a sec…. earlier in the week we’ve been learning about the water cycle and charting our learning about clouds {condensation} and rain and snow {precipitation}.

One thing I love about the weather unit is that instead of one or two bigger projects for the unit, we have at least one project or experiment planned each week.  The kids are *SO* engaged during these science based units.  Here are the materials:
*shaving cream
*clear jar or cup (I’d suggest these plastic cups)…2 for each group, 1 for rainwater, and one for the cloud
*food coloring
*droppers …these can be tricky to find locally, but you can grab them here easily!

First, I told them what we would do and they predicted how many drops it would take before the cloud would rain.  And despite my referring to what we learned earlier in the week about it taking millions of drops of rain before a cloud gets heavy enough to rain, I still had predictions of 14 drops to rain, 6 drops to rain, and…2 drops….  Gotta love it!  After our predictions, I had them record them on their paper and then they worked as a group to get their materials.  I had died the rainwater cups before hand, but they were in charge of filling the other cup 2/3 full, getting a dropper, and carrying their rainwater cup to their table.

Yes, I did the shaving cream myself once they had their materials ready.  Easiest decision of the day! LOL!!

One of my precious teammates let me use her left over shaving cream from last year to save me a trip to the store…and this is how my first cloud turned out…

Not exactly Hollywood worthy, huh??

It didn’t feel like it was terribly empty, so I just thought maybe it was lame-o because it was a year old.  But when I finally decided to use the second, unopened can, BAM!  A puffy cloud!  Just the puffy cloud alone got some pretty amazing “Oooohs” and “Ahhhhhs” from my firsties.

After all the clouds were formed sprayed on, they started dropping rain drop by drop.  They used tally marks to record how many drops of rain they had in their results box of the lab sheet.

….and at least 38 drops later…

…we had rain!

This is honestly one of the most engaging labs I’ve done in a long time.  They were absolutely glued to their cloud and very particular in making sure everyone had the same size drops.  And the stretching of the heads to see underneath the clouds was hilarious!

Once everyone had rain, they drew, colored and labeled their observations and then we recorded our learning together.

This lab along with several other weather labs are included in my Weather Unit

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