How to make rain in a jar

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My oldest daughter had her friend over a couple weeks ago and she requested that I do something fun like when we did our egg in a bottle experiment.  I did not have any experiments planned for the day, so I had to come up with a fun science experiment quick.  That is when I thought about making it rain in a jar.

This one was easy for me since I already had everything on hand and it is a quick project to put together last minute.  I guess my daughters friends are starting to expect to do fun stuff every time they come over now so I better start being more prepared!  This would be a great experiment to do with the kids on a rainy day, that way they can make their own rain inside.

All the girls had fun watching the rain form in the jar, the older two wanted to know how it did that.  So I explained about warm air meeting the cold air at the top of the jar and then it forming condensation.  We talked about how the windows get all fogged up in the car during winter because it is so warm in the car and cold outside.  I like to try and make things simple for the kids to understand, and give them some examples of things that they see happening around them.

What is happening with this experiment?

The warm air in the jar (caused by adding the hot water) rises to the top of the jar where the ice cools it.  The water vapor then condenses and forms precipitation (water droplets).  In our jar you can see the precipitation on the sides of the jar, outside the precipitation falls to the ground as rain/water droplets.

This is the same process that causes rain outside.  Warm air rises and meets the cooler air in the atmosphere and then condenses to form precipitation and then falls back to earth as rain.

Supplies

  • Jar
  • Plate
  • Hot Water
  • Ice

Directions

How to make rain in a jarFill your jar about 1/4 full with hot water

How to make rain in a jarFill your plate with ice and set it on top of your jar

How to make rain in a jarNow watch as condensation forms in your jar, essentially making it rain!

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How to make rain in a jar