Rain & Umbrellas
Math and Science
Rain gauges are wonderful learning tools to discuss measurement at any age. Predictions about how many open umbrellas will fill a certain size space. Proving the predictions is hilarious fun. Each child brings his/her umbrella assortment from home and we do all sorts of activities with them leading up to fill the space we have chosen. ex: a Volkswagen, a closet, etc. Let the children use the items from the water table to pour over the umbrellas and catch as much water in the original containers as possible to compare with the amount poured, letting friends stand around with extra containers to catch the "precipitation" and then pouring all of what has been collected into the original container and measuring how much was lost. We also discuss the different sizes, shapes, methods, and materials used in construction. We make our own from paper and have a hallway display. Sometimes we have asked other classes to vote on their favorite design.
Collect tap water, soda water, mineral water, and distilled water. Pour the different types of water into paper cups and let children taste them. Discuss the differences. Graph the differences.
Tape-record different sounds of rain and identify various kinds of rain: drizzling, sprinkling, pouring, misting, raining, thundering, lightning, etc.
Have available rain gear ... galoshes, raincoats, umbrellas, etc. Have a volunteer get "dressed" as you explain the need for each item. This can also be used to dress a bear or a doll.
Act out the different sounds of rain and have children guess what they are...lightly tapping for drizzle, clapping hands hard for thundering, etc.
Make a rain cloud - Set up a crock-pot half full of water and set on high with lid on (away from kids reach). After the water has condensed on the lid show kids how the lid is like a cloud full of water droplets. Pick lid up and explain that as the water droplets form together they get too heavy to stay in the cloud and (turn lid on the side) then it rains. After the lid is off, turn off lights and shine a flashlight over crock-pot so children can see the "cloud" of evaporation.
Build a rain gauge by cutting off the top third of the plastic bottle and inverting the top inside the bottom to form a funnel. Use a permanent marker to record inches on the side of the bottle. Explain that people who report on the weather need to know how much it rains each day. Introduce your rain gauge and have children brainstorm ways the class can use the tool to learn about rainfall. Demonstrate how a rain gauge works: Set the gauge in a pan and use a watering can to simulate a rainstorm over the pan. After the "storm", have a child study the rain gauge and report on the rainfall. Ask "Did all the rain fall into the gauge? How will the rain gauge help gather information about the weather?" Empty the gauge and vary the demonstration so that the children can report on light rain, heavy rain, and a day with no rain at all.
Show pictures and discuss the difference between how people in the different "rainy" areas live. Asian countries often have Junks. Stilt houses are common in Bali and Indonesia. Show pictures of housing in the Amazon. etc.
Weather instruments - thermometers, weather vanes, and rain gauges.
Set a bowl in the rain and time how long it takes to fill up. Measure the amount of rain collected.
Collect raindrops in 2 different containers...1 with no cover, 1 with a paper filter like a coffee filter covering it. Compare the two bowls. What happened to the filtered water? Show the dirtiness of the air and how the rain filters it...and why we shouldn't drink the raindrops until it is boiled or cleaned.
To demonstrate the relationship between thunder and lightning, recreate the scene in the classroom. Explain that thunder is the sound given off by lightning. Have one student stand by the classroom light switches and turn them on and off to represent a bolt of lightning. At the same time, trap a giant breath of air inside a paper lunch bag, hold the top, and hit the bottom of the air-filled bag to sound a BOOM! Repeat the demonstration several times. Have the remaining students count the seconds between the "lightning bolt" and the boom of "thunder" with tallies on a piece of paper (one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three...). Group the number of seconds into groups of five. This number is how many miles away the lightning struck. Explain how thunder and lightning occur at the same time, but light travels much faster than sound. As a class determine how far away the lightning struck.
Make and laminate several umbrella shapes. Print a number on each umbrella. Next laminate several raindrops. Let the children place the appropriate number of raindrops on each umbrella.
Build a shelter from the rain-use boxes, tarps, wood, etc. Add gutters to show how the water can be routed away from the doors.
Go for a walk on a rainy day. Take advantage of gentle rain to explore water flow, puddles and the sound of rain. Talk about how the rain changes the way things like soil and plants look and feel. Ask if the air smells different too.
In The Kitchen
Slice orange into 1/4" thick round slices. Cut each round slice in half to form a half round umbrella shape. Place each orange umbrella on a small plate. Let each child choose an umbrella handle garnish from a selection of thinly sliced cheese, pretzel sticks, thin celery sticks, or thin apple slices
1-1/2 cups flour
3 Tbs. cocoa
1/2 tsp. salt
1-cup brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
6 Tbs. oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbs. Vinegar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour baking pan.
What You Do:
Talk with your child about what happens outside when it rains. Tell your child that you would like him to help you make a special kind of cake -- a puddle cake -- and ask him to think about why the cake might have this name. Help your child measure and sift the following dry ingredients into the baking pan: flour, cocoa, salt, brown sugar, and baking soda. Make a well in the center. Together, measure and pour the following wet ingredients into the well: oil, vanilla, and vinegar.
Talk about why and how this makes a puddle. Invite your child to dip his finger into the puddle to check how deep it is. Then let him pour water into the well to make an even bigger puddle. Help him stir everything together.
Bake the cake for 15-20 minutes. As the puddle cake bakes experiment with other ways to make puddles. Pour water onto a flat surface, into an egg carton, or into different-sized bowls. Discuss how these puddles are similar and different. Then enjoy your tasty snack!
~Submitted by Jessica T.
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