Sunday, 13 October 2013

Our Rain and Cloud Inquiry!

Our inquiry all started when B. S. brought in a root from a plant he found in the playground.  The root led us to have a big discussion about whether or not the clouds would ever run out of rain that is needed for plants to grow?  We also wondered how the water actually gets into clouds?  We had many theories and hypotheses!

"If the water is splashed, it bounces back up to the clouds." A. P.

"When we splash the water, it goes up into the clouds and starts raining." K. W.

"I had a sprinkler at home and water was going into the sky." R. W.

"The water from the lake rises into the clouds and then when the clouds get to heaven the drops will come down as rain." A. M.

"The water from the lake turns into air and rises to the clouds." G. B.

"The clouds are making it rain.  The water is in the clouds and they keep making it over and over again."
C. M.

"When the clouds are dark, it's about to rain." O. S.

"God has a wand and he makes it rain.  He sends down rain for the grass and flowers to grow." G. M.

We had many ideas about how the water got into the clouds, but we wanted to create an experiment to help guide us with our theories.

"We could dig a hole and fill it with water, put signs around it and come back in the afternoon to see if the water rises to the clouds!" B. S.

"If we don't use a bucket, the water will sink to the ground." M. P.

"If the bucket water is gone, it means it rised into the clouds." A. M.

"How will we know if the water went up into the clouds?" Mrs. Ralph

"Draw a line on the jar so we know where the water started." A. P.

We voted to do our experiment in Sydney's Playground.  But because we share the playground with others, the students decided to make some signs to protect our experiment from being touched.  In the end we had to move our experiment, but it was a great attempt!

When we got to the playground, we searched for the perfect spot.  We then dug a hole in the mud and poured some water into it to see what would happen.  We noticed that the water sunk into the ground. Having noticed what happened, many students explained that the plants and earth drank it up!

Next we took a jar and put some water into it.  The students thought that since the jar had no holes, the water wouldn't be able to sink into the ground.  We measured the water level with a ruler.  On our first day, we recorded the water level at 6.  The students decided that we should come out once a day and measure the water level in the jar to see what was happening to the water.

After 10 days of checking our experiment and recording our daily findings, we noticed a pattern forming!

"When it rains, the water goes up in the jar, and when it's sunny, the water goes down!"
E. H.

"When the water turns into vapour, then it rises and makes a cloud.  Then when the cloud gets too heavy, it turns into water and rains." R. W.

"Vapour is like air but harder.  When the water rises, it goes into the clouds and then the clouds get heavy and then it rains." E. S.

To test what we learned, we performed an experiment in class.  We put some water in a kettle and plugged it in so that the water would get hot.  As we waited for the water to get hot, Mrs. Ralph held a glass jar a bit away from the opening to the kettle.  Once the water became hot, we noticed the water changing to vapour and rising!  As the vapour went into our cool jar, water droplets started to form in the glass jar which resembled rain!

"Do all clouds make it rain?" D. S.

This wonder question got us thinking!  We went on investigating various clouds during our exploration walk, as well as reading multiple books about clouds.  We learned that big puffy dark clouds are rain makers, called Nimbus clouds.  We also saw other clouds! Ones that looked like lines (Cirrus), wisps (Stratus), and cotton ball or marshmallows (Cumulus)!

Our interest in clouds evolved into painting creations using water colours and vivid images from books, that inspired us further.

One day, Mrs. Ralph and Ms. Powell pulled out some chicken wire and various fabrics and beads and asked the students to think about what they could create as a group out of these materials to decorate our classroom?

"Put ribbons on it so it looks like rain!" K. W.

"We can make a cloud!" H. S.

"Beautiful stuff.  Make some cloud things, a rain cloud!" W. E.

"Paint raindrops!" C. M.

"We can make flying birds!" G. B.

"Make a rainbow or lightening cloud!" E. E.

"We can make a sun to go with the clouds!" M. P.

"We can hang it with wire so we can move it." A. P.

"Make zig zag raindrops hanging from it." A. M.

Our final display!!!

*Also initially created by Jocelyn Schmidt and Heidi Theis (

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