What do kids like better than a hot chocolate mug on these cold nights, bundled under the covers, while watching the rain fall outside? Most children find rain fun and aesthetically pleasing, but how many understand the science behind it?
First and foremost, one must be familiar with the states of matter to understand how rain works. Take a look at what states of matter article to get more acquainted with solids, liquids, and gasses, and the processes in which matter can change from one of these states to the other.
As we all know, rain is made up of water. When subjected to different temperatures, water has the ability to change between all three states of matter. It can be water for liquid, in low temperatures it turns into a solid called ice, and in high temperatures it turns into gas as vapor or steam. When heat from sunlight hits bodies of water on Earth (e.g. lakes, rivers, oceans), it causes the water to undergo a process called evaporation, in which it transforms from liquid state to gas state in the form of water vapor. When the temperature of the water vapor goes down as it rises in the air, it undergoes a second process called condensation where it reverses back into its liquid state in the form of water droplets that settle around dust and other particles. To learn more about these processes, follow this useful educational video about changing states of matter.
As more and more droplets are formed in the air, the big fluffy things we see in the sky that we know as clouds are formed. The droplets in these clouds start merging together, forming bigger droplets that become too heavy to stay in the air so they fall down as rain. Sometimes, when temperatures are too low, the droplets freeze up in the air and fall as snow.
Rain falls down and fills up the bodies of water, which in turn will evaporate and create more rain, and the cycle goes on. This is what is known as the water cycle, it’s an endless cycle which occurs on Earth and we get to witness its beauty. To get the kids more interested in this phenomenon, you can follow this explanation with this science worksheet for G-1 – Rainy Maze.
Precipitation worksheet below is a good way for your kid to practice the understanding of solid and liquid state of matter.
You can also perform exciting activities surrounding the topic of states of matter. You can find some cool ideas here.