September 2015

raincloud_in_a_jarRaincloud in a Jar (9/2/15)

MATERIALS:

  • A clear container (mixing bowls or larger glasses work best)
  • Shaving cream
  • Food coloring (color of your choice)
  • Plenty of water! (To fill the container up with)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Fill your bowl or glass with water almost completely to the top, leaving just an inch or so left between the rim and the water
  2. Spray your shaving cream “cloud” onto the top of your water. Make sure that you fully cover the water’s surface with the shaving cream – you don’t want any gaps in your cloud! Let the shaving cream settle for a minute or two.
  3. Now here comes the fun part! Once your “cloud” is floating in the sky, take your choice of food coloring and slowly begin to drop the food coloring at different places over the surface of the shaving cream. To experiment, try to saturate some areas with food coloring, and leave others with only a drop or two. (Note: Make sure you do this step slowly! You don’t want to over-saturate your cloud and not be able to take in the full effect of your drizzle turning into a downpour!)
  4. Watch the rain fall down!

HOW DOES IT WORK?

First, a little bit on clouds: A cloud is comprised of a lot of water droplets or ice crystals (depending on the temperature). Clouds form when water vapor, (water molecules floating in the air), rises into the atmosphere and condenses onto tiny particles such as dust, or dirt…or even sea salt! In this particular experiment, we are seeing how a cloud turns into a raincloud – when the cloud is formed by those tiny particles and gets so full of water (or mass), the extra water has to go somewhere…so down to Earth it falls! (There is much, much more to discuss with clouds, so encourage further exploration into how they form, why they are white, the difference between a regular cloud and a storm cloud, etc.).