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Homeschool science: how big is a raindrop?

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Most of Arkansas is snowed in today. This got me thinking about weather. Here is a neat project that takes only a few minutes to prepare but it will bring about a ton of discussion—especially from younger kids. How big is a raindrop? This is the topic for discussion. Before setting out on the actual activity, discuss different ways to measure the size of a raindrop. If you come up with something different than this activity, give it a try and compare the results.

Materials

Glass pie plate, casserole dish, or other non-metallic, oven safe dish.

Flour—enough to fill the dish ¾ from the top.

Cooling rack

Glass or plastic storage container for saving the raindrops.

Paper and pencil to record your findings

Sieve, screen, or sifter to collect the raindrops.

Ruler

Discuss

Talk about rain and other forms of precipitation. Pose the question, “How big is a raindrop?” Record the answers. Discuss ways to measure a raindrop. Talk about rain, weather, and what makes rain.

Activity

Fill the baking dish 3/4 full with flour. Wait for a rainstorm. This activity works best with a heavy rain. Put the dish in the rain for a few minutes. You just need to collect a small amount of rain.

Bring the dish indoors and set the oven to 250 degrees. Place the dish in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, long enough to dry the flour but not so long that the flour starts to burn.

Scoop the raindrops out of the flour with a spoon, taking care not to damage them. Empty the spoon into a sifter and gently tap the sifter until all the excess flour is removed, leaving the raindrops.

Using a ruler, measure the raindrops. Record your results. You can store the raindrops in an airtight container for about a month.

Conclusions

Are all the raindrops the same size? Why? Talk about how the results might differ during a light rain. Decide if this activity gives you an accurate way to measure a raindrop. If the raindrops differ in size, is there a mathematical way to determine what an average sized raindrop would be.

Extend the lesson

Talk about rain: what makes rain, rainbows, other forms of precipitation, weather.

Lynda Altman has homeschooled her 4 children over the last 15 years and has 2 children in homeschool. She believes that homeschooling is a parent’s G-d given right. Lynda writes a blog called Homeschooling When Mom has Cancer. Get notices when this page is updated by clicking on the subscribe link, by email, or contact Lynda @fusgeyer on Twitter.

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