10 Sep STEM Challenge – Build a Colorful Rain Cloud in a Jar
Over the next few weeks, you will be learning about scientists and the role they play in our community. One type of scientist is a meteorologist: a meteorologist is a type of scientist that studies the atmosphere to predict and understand the earth’s weather. They help us prepare for each day’s temperatures and let us know when to expect rain, snow, or sun.
This week we want you to use your science skills and build a colorful rain cloud in a jar. During our Summer Program, some of you may have seen the effects of creating a cloud of condensation in a jar using hairspray and ice cubes – this new colorful take on the experiment uses food coloring and shaving cream to show you how the rain and clouds interact!
Visit our blog every Thursday to see our latest STEM challenge and share your creations on social media using #CMMSSTEMChallenge or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to submit your photos to us by Monday, September 14!
- A couple of clear glasses, vases, or bowls (it’s fun to switch up the shapes and sizes!)
- Food coloring
- Shaving cream
- Small bowls or containers that hold 1 to 2 ounces
- An eyedropper, syringe, or 1/4 teaspoon measuring spoon
- Start by filling the small containers with 1 to 2 ounces of water.
- Add different colors of food coloring to each of the small containers to change the color of the water.
- Fill your larger clear/glass vase or bowl with clear water about 2/3 full.
- Top it with a generous amount of shaving cream.
- Use the eyedropper (or syringe, or 1/4 tsp measuring spoon) to drop the different colors of water from your small container onto the shaving cream cloud. The closer you squirt to the edges, the faster it will go through the shaving cream and come down as rain.
The clear water in this experiment is like the air, and the shaving cream is like clouds. And as the clouds get saturated with water, they produce rain.
How do clouds work? Clouds are formed when water vapor rises into the air. When the vapor hits cold air, it turns back into droplets of water. Those tiny drops of water floating in the air collect and “stick” together to form clouds. When clouds get so full of water that they can’t hold any more, the water falls back to the ground as rain.