Within the first few weeks of school, one of our students began talking about some of the big summer thunder storms that had rolled through recently. He drew a picture of a large cloud on our chalkboard and called it the “thunder factory.” That got me thinking about what the children already knew about storms and rain clouds. We had a large group discussion about the weather and each child had thoughts about the rain and big thunder storms. Everyone in the class has previous experience or specific stories to go with this topic. I thought it would be great to explore it further!
I found a series of science experiments and art projects online that correlated with learning about rain, rain clouds, and different types of weather. We started our discussions with rain, since that is where the idea began. First we made a large scale rain cloud. I filled a large mixing bowl with water and then topped it with shaving cream. We put drops of blue liquid watercolors into the shaving cream and watched it “rain” before our eyes!
We painted our own rain clouds using cloud cut outs and a mixture of shaving cream and glue for the puffy paint.
Then they each got a chance to make their own mini rain clouds!
For the first time we did the Ivory Soap Experiment in the microwave upstairs. The children went upstairs with Ms. Lori two at a time. First they drew a picture of a normal bar of Ivory soap. Then they heated the soap up in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes and watched it expand. Afterwards they drew a picture of the changed soap in their journals. Lastly, we had to feel it and explore it once it had cooled!
Another science experiment we tried was to make it “rain” in a bowl. Ms. Lori filled a glass bowl with steaming water. Then we covered the top of the bowl with a plate and lots of ice. The effect was condensation inside and outside of the bowl. This was a little more of an abstract experiment, but some of the group was really interested in watching the changes take place in the bowl.
A wonderful rain sensory activity we did was with an old aquarium. I found this idea from the Teach Preschool website. She has so many wonderful and easy ideas to implement. I place a large tub filled with cotton balls and tweezers. The aquarium was filled with plain water that I tinted blue. Children could use their hands to move the cotton balls or the tweezers. They enjoyed bringing up large collections of the cotton balls and watching it rain over and over again. The series of photos below are some of my favorite pictures from this whole weather study. Such hands on learning, and focused play!
We also set up a rain station outside in the sensory tub. Thank you parents for all of the clear lids. I used one of Chris’ tools to hammer in lots and lots of small holes in the plastic lids. The children loved experimenting with the tubs, making lots and lots of rain.
L and L had a lot of discussions about large rain clouds, and if you had one cloud on top of another cloud how much rain will fall. Love their thinking!
I didn’t capture a lot of pictures, but I had the class sort picture cards into different weather categories: stormy, foggy, windy, cloudy, and sunny.
We also made a beautiful rainy weather art project. First the children painted with watercolors onto a outline of an umbrella. After the picture’s dried I made a mixture of water, glue, and blue coloring to create a rain effect over the umbrella. Each child dropped the blue glue on the top of their umbrella and then held the paper upright to cause the glue to drip down the front of their picture.
We also did wind paintings with straws and watered down paint.
One of our last provocations was a clay prompt. I gave each child a small amount of clay, wire, beads, gems, and pictures of clouds and storms. The results were fabulous. I had each child describe what they created after they were finished with the clay.