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Water Cycle Unit Lesson 5, Precipitation


Math, Science, Social Studies  



Title – Water Cycle Unit Lesson 5, Precipitation
By – Kristy Brooten
Primary Subject – Science
Secondary Subjects – Math, Social Studies
Grade Level – 4
The Water Cycle Unit Contents:

Lesson 5

Concept being taught: Precipitation occurs when water droplets in clouds accumulate and fall to the earth.

I. Objectives:
Content: TSWBAT explain and demonstrate the process of precipitation
Skill: TSWBAT observe, experiment and infer how precipitation occurs

II. Materials and Equipment
Damp sponges, dishes of water, salt shakers filled with water, glass or plastic (heat-resistant) jars, metal pie plates, ice, matches

III. Lesson Development
A. Motivation
          I was watching the rain the other day, and I couldn’t help but wonder… How do the clouds known when to rain? What gives the clouds the signal to go ahead and release all the water droplets?

B. Information Getting
          1. With your partner, experiment with your sponges and water (over your dish). How can you cause the water droplets inside the sponge (the “cloud”) to fall into the dish as rain? At what point do the water droplets fall? Why do you think the droplets wait until this point to fall?
           All together: What observations did you make about our cloud? At what point do water droplets fall from the “cloud”? When the cloud has become so full of water droplets that it can no longer hold any more water, the cloud has reached saturation – write term “saturation” on board. Based on our experiment, how would you define saturation in your own words? Record students’ definitions on board. How do you think this looks in real life? With your neighbor, draw on a piece of paper a picture of saturation occurring. Have a few students come up to board and draw picture, explaining it to class.
          2. Does anyone know what we call it when a cloud becomes saturated and water droplets fall to the earth as rain? We call this precipitation – write term and definition on board. We’re going to see if we can make precipitation happen right now in our classroom. Give small groups of students each a jar with hot water in it plus a metal pie plate containing ice. What processes of the water cycle do you see occurring in your jar? What is happening to the hot water? (evaporation) What happens after that? (condensation near ice – cold temperature) Is it raining, or, in other words, precipitating in your jar? Why do you think this is happening? As going around between groups, light a match and drop into hot water, quickly returning lid to jar. What can you observe now? What function does the smoke serve? Think of what smoke really is – tiny particles of dirt! Why do you think we need dirt in the water cycle to bring about precipitation? As your experiment, draw a picture of your jar to explain what’s happening.
           All together: What did we observe about precipitation in our experiment? Write “observations about precipitation” under the definition of precipitation and have one member from each group come up to board and write an observation. Review together. Would anyone like to share their picture of precipitation? Volunteer(s) draw(s) picture next to pictures of saturation from earlier in lesson. What similarities can we see between our pictures of our experiment and the pictures of saturation in nature? Where is saturation occurring in our experiment? Where is precipitation occurring in our picture of nature? What was the significance of dirt in our precipitation experiment?
          3. To answer the question burning in my mind, how do the clouds know when to rain? Does God say, “Okay clouds, now! Rain!”? What did we learn today that will answer that question? How do you think this concept of saturation came about? Did the clouds just decide to do it one day? Who do you think designed this process? Let’s do some reading to see if we can find out.
           Put up rain Scriptures overhead and read Bible verses. Who causes it to rain? Who designed the process of precipitation? What else do you notice from these verses? Why does God give us rain? What does rain do for us? What does this tell us about God and His care for us?

C. Closure
          In your groups, choose a verse from the overhead, rewrite it in your own words as a thank you note to God on a blank sheet of paper (“Thank You, God, for.”), and illustrate the verse using what we learned today about saturation and precipitation. When you’re finished, share your work with the group next to you.

D. Evaluation
          Half-sheet: The other day when it was raining, your friend Rachel said, “I don’t like when it rains; I can’t go outside and play softball with my friends. I don’t get why it’s got to rain in the first place!” Write a friendly letter (on a separate sheet) to Rachel explaining to her how rain (precipitation) happens, who gives us rain, and why we should be thankful for it.

IV. Integration
          Bible verses revealing God’s provision of rain are used to draw the student to a greater appreciation for the God-designed process of precipitation and ultimately to praise of the God who sustains the earth and our lives through the water cycle.

          Students use Language Arts in writing a friendly letter in the Evaluation.

V. Special needs adaptation
Working in cooperative groups, explaining through pictures rather than written words.

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