Weather: A Dud and a Success

Today Joe and I did a couple of experiments. It has been too long since we last did one so he was very excited. The first experiment we did was a dud. I don’t know if we didn’t do it quite right or if the water bottle we used had a hole in it. The experiment was to make a cloud in a bottle using rubbing alcohol.

Fill the bottom of the bottle about 1/4 way up with rubbing alchohol (I did this part), seal tightly and shake to coat sides of bottle with the rubbing alchohol.

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Next, about 1/4 way up from the bottom of the bottle, start twisting tightly until you cannot twist anymore and the top of the bottle feels solid. Slowly unscrew the cap. The cap should pop off so make sure you are pointing the bottle in a safe direction away from anyone standing in the way. I let Joe twist for a little bit and then I took over.

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I twisted and twisted until I couldn’t twist anymore and then unscrewed the cap exactly as the directions said. I was expecting a pop and a cloud. Nothing happened. No snap, crackle or pop. I kept trying until the bottle cracked. I was disappointed but Joe had moved on to something else.

So we sang the cloud song below to the tune of the Farmer in the Dell. Well, I sang it to him while he stirred water in a measuring bowl.

The Cloud Song
by Cynthia Sherwood

The puffy, flat, white clouds
We call them cumulus
Hi-ho-a-cloud-e-oh
The puffy, flat, white clouds

The feathery, thin, white clouds
Are cirrus high in the sky
Hi-ho-a-cloud-e-oh
The feathery, thin, white clouds

The gray and foggy clouds
Are stratus low in the sky
Hi-ho-a-cloud-e-oh
The gray and foggy clouds

The dark and stormy clouds
Watch out for nimbus rain
Hi-ho-a-cloud-e-oh
The dark and stormy clouds

Since the cloud experiment was a dud, we did a rain experiment next. We took a glass and filled it with water, almost to the top. We squirted shaving in a spiral on top of the water to look like a cloud. Joe really enjoyed that part and made an absolute mess, but he was laughing the whole time.

After the shaving cream I got the food coloring out. Yes, the food coloring. I was leary of doing this because Joe always, ALWAYS makes a huge mess with food coloring and this time was no exception. I showed him how to squirt it on top of the shaving cream.

It took a few minutes but we finally saw red raindrops falling into the glass of water. It was so cool! We of course had to put all the different colors in the glass. I had to Magic Eraser my counter after we were done.

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I sang the cloud song again, mainly because it was stuck in my head and probably will be all week, and we cleaned up. Joe helped by playing in the sink and getting water all over the floor.

We’ve been so busy with gardening and gatherings and outings that we have not had time to do an experiment in weeks so I am glad we took the time out to get a couple done today. Joe so enjoys them and now knows how to say experiment (spare-ment) so he will keep me on track so that we do them more often from now on.

Sources
Cloud Experiment: http://weirdsciencekids.com/Cloudinawaterbottle.html
Rain Experiment: http://www.readingconfetti.com/2012/03/preschool-cloud-experiment-weather-blog.html

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