I have always been fascinated by how marvelously the water cycle works for us on earth. Even the Lord recycles! He takes water that has rained on to the earth and given life to the plants and trees (and us too!), then He lets it collect and evaporate into the air, where it is condensed in clouds and once again falls as rain. I decided to revisit the concepts learned in the water cycle by making our own kitchen water cycle. We condensed water and made it “rain” over our stove in a rain water cycle demonstration.
My third grade son, Raisin, has understood the water cycle for years, so that was not new to him. But when I asked him why the water condenses in the sky and gathers into clouds, he could not answer.
“Well, it evaporates because it is hot and dry. But then, when it gets in the sky. . . . Hmm, I’m not sure,” he finally said.
We discussed what was different between the ground and the high sky, and how matter changes between the various states, from liquid to gas and back to liquid again. Finally, he could answer.
“It gets cold!”
For our mini-lab, we need a pot of water, a stove to warm it, and a cold metal spoon. We boiled the water. Raisin and Strawberry were eager to watch for the water to boil. While we waited, we kept the metal spoon in the freezer.
Once the water was boiling, we could see the steam (water vapor) rising from the pot. Raisin explains, “The pot and the water in the pot represents a lake. The steam is the water evaporating.”
Then we got the spoon out of the freezer and held it over the pot. When the steam hit the spoon, we could see droplets of water forming on it. Raisin says, “When the steam hits the cold spoon, the water condenses on the spoon!”
Finally drops of water fell from the spoon! I could not get a photo of the droplets in action, but even in the still pictures, you can see how heavy the droplet is as it is beginning to fall. Raisin says, “The water condensed on the spoon then falls down to ‘earth’ (or in our case, the pot-pond) because they were heavy together.”
Raisin and I thought our rain water cycle kitchen activity was pretty fun. It was “raining” in the kitchen! On the other hand, I guess I should have been clearer with Strawberry about what to expect. With her four-year-old expectations, she was waiting for rain to fall from the ceiling!
That said, our rain water cycle activity would be great for anyone from preschool through elementary and even into middle school or high school. The littlest ones cannot boil the water themselves, but understanding the concepts can be appreciated at every age!
See more weather related learning activities for early elementary school students at the blogs below.
Free Printable Weather Chart at Life Over C’s
How to Make a Thermometer at Parenting Chaos
Puff Paint Clouds at Schooling a Monkey
Tornado in a Jar at Planet Smarty Pants
Fine Motor Weather Writing Prompts at Sugar Aunts
Weather Science Experiment: Warm & Cold Fronts Model at Preschool Powol Packets