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Watery Planet Unit
Mystery 3 of 4
Can we make it rain?
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DISCUSS:

Imagine you lived in the same town as Pat’s brother. What could the town do to solve the problem of running out of fresh water? Do you have any ideas?

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THINK & DRAW:

What makes it rain? How does rain get up into clouds?

Draw a picture of your ideas. Label your picture with words describing what you think happens.

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DISCUSS (1 of 2):

Have you ever noticed a situation where water droplets formed on something?

Go to the next slide to see examples we thought about.

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Example (1 of 3): The bathroom mirror after a shower

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Example (2 of 3): The outside of a cold glass

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Example (3 of 3): Blades of grass first thing in the morning

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DISCUSS (2 of 2):

Where do you think the water droplets came from? Why do you think they formed in these places?

Hint...

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Beginning Complete!

You've completed the Exploration & Activity!

If you have more time, view the assessment, reading, and extension activity in the optional extras.

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Optional Extras

Below are ideas for extending this topic beyond the activity and exploration you just completed.
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Activity: My Life as a Drip

Can you imagine what your life would be like as a drop of water? With the help of this creative writing activity from Kinetic City , you certainly can!

Students roll a die to choose a first sentence — then roll again to choose an ending.

  • Do you start underground and end up in an elementary school drinking fountain?
  • Do you begin in a puddle and end up in an iceberg?

So many possibilities and never the same story twice.

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Video

“The Great Aqua Adventure” (4:28) reviews the basics of evaporation, condensation, and precipitation.

This is one of many videos from Crash Course Kids, a YouTube channel focusing on 5th-grade science topics. Crash Course Kids offers friendly hosted videos on many different subjects. Subscribe to free biweekly shows, or check out their extensive library of videos, all aligned with Next Generation Science Standards.

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Readings

These readings are free with registration on Newsela. Readings can be adjusted for reading level. A writing prompt and a quiz questions is available for each reading.

  • How does water move through Earth's land, oceans, and atmosphere? Find out in “The water cycle.” (Grade 5)

  • Clouds are made of water, but sometimes that water doesn't fall as rain. Scientists have figured out how make clouds drop their water. Discover how in this reading.(Grade 5)

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Online Resource: The Water Cycle

This interactive diagram from the U.S. Geological Survey lets you explore the parts of the water cycle online. Choose from three levels: Beginning, Intermediate or Advanced.

The same information is available as a poster that’s free to download and print. Choose from 24 different languages.

A simpler version of the poster is available as a water-cycle placemat. (A print-friendly link is at the bottom of the page.)

Whatever form you choose, these are great for reinforcing or reviewing concepts presented in this Mystery.

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Discuss

Water is always evaporating, making clouds, then raining down to fill lakes and oceans. That means the earth’s water gets used over and over again. Think about what that means for the water you drink.

  • What does that mean for people today? Are we using the same water that dinosaurs used?

  • What does that mean for people in the future? Will they use the same water you’re using?

  • Are there things we should all do to save and protect water for the future?

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Overview
Grade 5th
Topic Water Cycle & Earth's Systems
Focus Water Cycle
Print
Activity Prep

In this Mystery, students develop a model to explain how water cycles from the Earth’s surface to the atmosphere and back again. In the activity, Make It Rain, students create simple models of the ocean and sky to see how these two systems interact. Students compare how the temperature of the ocean and the temperature of the sky affect evaporation and condensation.

Preview activity

Number of students:
Clean-up Supplies (Eg. Paper Towels)
1 roll
Coolers
One for the hot water bottles and one for the cold water bottles. You can line 2 cardboard boxes with bath towels to create homemade coolers.
Details
2 coolers
Blue Food Coloring
(about 40 drops)
Details
2 milliliters
Clear Plastic Cups (10 oz)
Frosted cups won’t work. Cup must be tall enough to extend at least an inch above the Dixie Cup.
Details
32 cups
Dixie Cups (3 oz)
32 cups
Plastic Bottles (8oz)
Each group needs four bottles. We suggest having a few extras on-hand. We encourage you to use recycled bottles.
Details
32 bottles
Red Food Coloring
(about 40 drops)
Details
2 milliliters
Thick Paper Plates
The thick paper acts as insulation.
Details
32 plates
Rainmaker Experiments printout Print 30 copies
Prep Instructions

You will need access to a refrigerator and microwave for this activity.

We recommend students work in groups of four, which works well because there are four experimental set-ups. Homeschool students can work on their own, but will need all four experimental set-ups so that they can make comparisons.

You will need several small plastic bottles for this activity (4 bottles for every group of four students, plus a few extras to have on-hand). We encourage you to use recycled bottles when possible.

Prepare the Water Bottles

You’ll need to start preparing for class the night before by refrigerating the cold bottles overnight. You can prepare the hot bottles in a microwave an hour before class.

First, if you are using recycled bottles, fill all the bottles with tap water. Then divide your bottles evenly. Half of these will be your cold water bottles and half will be your hot water bottles.

To prepare the cold water bottles:

  • Open each bottle, drip in a few drops of blue food coloring, and close them back up.
  • Place them in the refrigerator for at least a few hours to cool them down.
  • If you’re in a rush, you can chill them faster in the freezer. You don’t want them to freeze, just be really cold.

To prepare the hot water bottles:

  • Open each bottle and drip in a few drops of red food coloring.
  • Leave the bottles open. (This is important! If you don’t, they may burst.)
  • In our microwave, we heat 6 to 8 bottles at a time. We heat on high for one minute, check the temperature, then repeat until the water is hot. You will have to determine the best power setting, time, and number of bottles for your microwave. We suggest erring on the side of less power and time, to avoid overheating the bottles.
  • When the water is hot, carefully remove the bottles (you may want to wear oven mitts!) and screw the tops back on.

Store hot and cold bottles in separate coolers until class. In our experience, they’ll stay warm or cool for at least an hour in a cooler.

Separate Materials for Easy Distribution

You may want to separate supplies for easier classroom distribution. Each group of four students needs the following:

Make it Rain Supplies

Overview
Grade 5th
Topic Water Cycle & Earth's Systems
Focus Water Cycle