Program: Wacky Weather

Ever wondered where rain comes from? Do you know how rainbows form? Find out all about the science of water at this program just for kids going into grades 1-6. We’ll play games, do experiments, and have tons of fun!

June 30th, 2010 from 2-3 p.m.

Ages: Grades 1-6

Budget: $0

Materials (for me): Glass jar with lid, flashlight, clear glass cup, hot water, ice

Materials (for them): Water wheels photocopied on card stock, water cycle name tags, brads, paper, watercolors

Learning about the water cycle

Forms of water: Liquid, solid, gas. What is water in solid form? When is water a gas (boiling water on the stove)?

Water cycle stages: Evaporation, condensation, precipitation

Demonstration: Boil water and pour into a glass jar. Put the lid on and place ice on top of the lid. Watch it rain!

Color and put together water cycle wheels from summer reading book

Water cycle tag: Each kid is assigned to a group (evaporation, condensation, precipitation) and gets a name tag. Decorate and color name tags. Explain that kids can only tag kids in the next group (i.e. if you are condensation, you can only tag precipitation kids). Pick one “It” and have them close their eyes for ten seconds. Then set them free! Last one standing gets a piece of candy.

Learning about rainbows

Explain how rainbows work, and ask about times when kids have seen them.

Demonstration: Fill a clear glass with water, and place on the edge of a table. Hold a white piece of paper below. Shine a flashlight through the glass and move it around until a rainbow appears on the paper. Pull the flashlight further away to make the rainbow bigger.

Hand out paper and have kids paint a rainbow with water colors.

Books for display or killing extra time

A Cool Drink of Water by Barbara Kerley / J-E 363.6 KER

A Drop of Water by Gordon Morrison / J 508 MOR

A Drop of Water: A Book of Science and Wonder by Walter Wick / J 546.22 WIC

The Water Cycle by Rebecca Olien / J-E 551.48 OLI

How’d it go?

Way better than I expected. The kids seemed to really enjoy the parts of the program where I taught some of these basic concepts – I think that sort of thing goes over better during the summer, when they aren’t already sitting in classrooms for eight hours a day. The demonstrations were fun – they were really impressed with the rainbow. If I did this program again, I might give everyone a clear plastic cup and let them make their own rainbows. Yes, there is a risk of water spilling everywhere, but getting messy is an occupational hazard for us.

The crowd was a little younger than I anticipated, so I shared a little bit of A Cool Drink of Water. They loved the pictures of kids from around the world. The age of the group also meant that water cycle tag was difficult for some of them, so I ended up cutting the game a little short. Any suggestions for a more little-kid-friendly water game would be appreciated.

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