When the rain comes down we often say things like, “It is sprinkling,” or “It’s raining cats and dogs!” These terms relate not only to the rate the rain is falling but also the size of the drops themselves. Last week we decided to see if we could get a better handle on the size of raindrops with this super simple and fun way to catch and measure raindrops!
What you need:
What you do:
Add about an inch worth of flour to the pan and shake a bit to even it out. (You don’t need to sift it as the clumps will brake up when you put through the strainer.)
Gear up and head outside on a rainy day to catch some raindrops falling from the sky.
The kids also enjoyed catching drops falling off the roof because those drops were much larger than the actual raindrops.
Bring the pan inside and scoop some of the raindrops out of the flour and into a strainer. Move it around to let the loose flour fall through and reveal your raindrops.
Turn them out onto a sheet of dark paper and take note of the different sizes. These are technically a bit larger than the actual drops as the flour has added some mass but it gives a good representation of the variation in drop size.
The clumps made by the drops falling from the roof were quite different than the drops falling directly from the sky.
This is a great time to talk about how rain is made and share a bit about the water cycle.
If you would like to add some math to the activity you can get the ruler out for some measuring.
To extend this activity further, take some notes about the size of the drops and general weather information for the day in your nature journal, then try this again on multiple rainy days to note the variations in size depending on the type of rain falling.
If your house is anything like my house, there will be flour play to follow! What started out as smashing drops to make little round disks turned into quite a messy and fun play session!
This is a nice 6 min review of the water cycle.
Rain talk naturally leads to clouds. If you are looking for a book about clouds, we really like the Cloud Book by Tomie dePaloa.
Do you know where the saying “raining cats and dogs” came from? Folks are not totally sure, but here is a little history if you are interested.
If you have little people keen on weather you can still get our Weather Watcher’s Handbook. (It will not available for much longer, as we will be taking it down when we get closer to our book launch date in the spring.)
Please let us know if you do this activity. It would be fun to see your flour raindrops! You can come back here to share a link in the comments or tag us by using the hashtag #mudtometeors!
Happy Raindrop Collecting!
~ Dawn & Annie