Science Time program “make it rain” | Local


The area may not have seen much rain lately, but Stewart C. Meyer Harker Heights Public Library worker Heather Heilman showed viewers of her Science Time virtual program how to make it rain — thanks to an easy-to-reproduce experiment to show how rain occurs.

“Today we’re going to look at rain and exactly what causes it to fall to the ground,” Heilman said when opening the program.

The materials needed were few and easy to find: shaving cream; two glass jars, one small and one large; a little food coloring; and a dropper.

Water was added to both jars; the large jar was about three quarters full. Heilman started by adding blue food coloring to the small jar and stirring it well; this would represent the rain in the experiment.

She then sprayed a layer of shaving cream over the water in the large jar. “It will actually be my cloud,” she explained. The clear water under the “cloud” represented the air.

Heilman explained that for rain to occur, “water builds up in the cloud until it gets too heavy and falls.” Then, using the dropper, she slowly added drops of blue water to the “cloud”. It took about 30 drops before the cloud of shaving cream ‘rained’ the blue water into the clear, providing an effective visual of the process.

(Using undiluted food coloring makes for an even more striking visual – food coloring is denser than water, so it sinks to the bottom of the container faster and with a brighter color.)

She explained that water evaporates and goes into the clouds. When this water, in the form of droplets, becomes too heavy for the clouds to continue to hold, these droplets fall back to earth as precipitation or rain. She further explained that this includes the water cycle: evaporation, condensation and precipitation.

Although we may not be able to actually see the water cycle happening around us, Heilman said this experience allows us to see it, “a little closer and understand it better. “.


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