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Weather Science Experiments for Kids

Instructor: Shelby Golden
Kids can have fun learning about weather science with these experiments. Use this article to get step-by-step directions for these activities and to learn more about additional educational opportunities.

Cloud Jar

Your students or children can take their first steps towards creating some weather of their own with this experiment.

Supplies

Gather these supplies, increasing the amounts to make sure you have enough for all the kids participating:

  • Black paper
  • Gallon jar
  • Warm water (colored with food coloring)
  • Matches
  • Gallon bag of ice

Instructions

The kids should begin by taping the paper to the back of the jar. Next they need to fill about 1/3rd of the jar with the water. They can then light the match and hold it over the jar opening for a few seconds before dropping the match into the jar and covering the mouth of the jar with the bag of ice. Did they make a cloud?

Results and Resources

This experiment demonstrates on a small scale the effects of rising moist warm air coming into contact with colder air and condensing around condensation nuclei (in this case the smoke from the match). Your students or children can learn more about different types of clouds and other weather formations with this series of video lessons on weather for elementary school.

It's Raining, It's Pouring

This experiment allows kids to see the process of condensation close up.

Supplies

Collect these supplies to get ready:

  • Empty mayonnaise jar
  • Hot water
  • Ice cubes
  • Small plate

Instructions

Have your students begin by pouring about two inches of the hot water into the jar and then cover the mouth of the jar with the plate. Allow this to stand for a couple of minutes and then ask a student to put the ice cubes on top of the plate. All they need to do next is watch to see what happens!

Results and Resources

Once the ice is on the plate, condensation will start to form in the jar. Students should be able to see water droplets (or rain) sliding down the inside of the jar as the warm water rises and comes in contact with the colder air above.

Encourage your children or students to learn more about rain with these lessons on precipitation types and precipitation causes.

Tornado Creator

Kids don't have to chase tornadoes to see them with this experiment.

Supplies

You'll need these supplies to get started:

  • 10x12 inch piece of wood
  • Glue gun
  • 2 9x10 inch vinyl sheets
  • A hand-held fan
  • Cup
  • Clear plastic saucer that measures 7 inches across
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • Dry ice

Instructions

First have your students or children cut a 2-inch hole in the middle of their plastic saucer. Next have them glue the cup to the center of the wood. After the glue is dry, ask them to glue the end of one vinyl sheet to the side of the cup and then glue the rest of it to the wood in a half-circle that surrounds the cup without touching it. Repeat this process with the other sheet on the opposite side of the cup. It should look like an S from above, with the cup sitting in the middle on the letter.

Next add the water and a few pieces of dry ice to the cup. Be sure to have your students or children use gloves when handling the dry ice. Have them put the saucer upside down over the pieces of vinyl and then turn on the fan, face it towards the ceiling, and put it over the hole in the saucer. Is there a twister in the room?

Resources

This series of video lessons can help your students or children keep learning more about weather and storms, including the causes of tornadoes. Reinforce their understanding of air movement with these lessons and quizzes.

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