Project: Make it rain

Project: Make it rain

“Take chances, make mistakes, and get messy.” Miss Frizzle, the adventurous teacher from “The Magic School Bus,” said it best with these words. As a mom of two young children, I see firsthand how children naturally want to take chances, make mistakes, and get messy. It’s important for us adults to encourage their exploration and not caution against it because it might make a mess. These projects don’t have to be complicated—they only require our excitement, attention, and a good dose of curiosity. 

All summer long, we’ve been reading “The Magic School Bus” books and enjoying some of the episodes on Netflix. These books, which are colorful and well-written explanations of topics ranging from how hurricanes form to how we fight infections, are an inspiration for simple at-home science projects. Below is a fun project that you can do with items you have readily available at home.

Ingredients

  • Ice
  • Tin can (from canned food)
  • Tongs
  • Oven mitt
  • Tea kettle
  • Stove
  • Bowl to catch “rain”

Instructions

  1. Boil water in tea kettle
  2. Add several ice cubes to tin can
  3. When water is boiling, hold tin can over steam that is coming from kettle with tongs and oven mitt
  4. Place bowl on counter under tin can
  5. As tin can heats and ice melts, watch rain droplets form on the bottom of tin can and catch them in the bowl

What’s happening?

As the water in the kettle is heated, it evaporates into vapor. The vapor (steam) escapes from the kettle and hits the cold ice-filled tin can held above it. This cools the steam causing the vapor to condense into water droplets, which then drip off the can into the bowl.