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Exploring weather in first grade through hands on activities
Our First Grade Weather Inquiry – Part Two: Exploring Rain!
12 Sep, 2018. 2 Comments. A Day In First Grade, First Grade, First Grade Science, Kindergarten, Kindergarten Science, Science, STEM. Posted By: Kristen Smith

Hello Friends! After our week studying clouds (you can click here in case you missed that blog post) we dove into learning about the different types of weather.

We started with rain and read a variety of fiction and non-fiction books. Our favorites were:

-Singing In The Rain

 -Come On Rain!

-The Rain Came Down

and Rain!

Throughout the day we completed a variety of activities such as polling the class on whether or not we like that rain and writing about what we could do on a rainy day. We also completed the ever popular rain in a jar science experiment. As we had just studied the water cycle, this was a great experiment to expand and solidify the terms condensation and precipitation.

Our First Grade Weather Inquiry – Part Two: Exploring Rain!

My students loved watching the rain trickle through the cloud and into the water. It truly is a beautiful science experiment.

Our First Grade Weather Inquiry – Part Two: Exploring Rain! Our First Grade Weather Inquiry – Part Two: Exploring Rain!

The next day, we read one of my favorite rain books: In The Rain With Baby Duck. (affiliate link) When I finished reading the story to my students I asked them, “Why do you think baby duck was so bothered by the rain?”

They brainstormed and talked with their partners about why baby duck was so upset.

“I think she doesn’t like the water,” one child proclaimed.

“I think the rain is getting in her eyes,” said another.

I pressed a little farther. “But why are mommy and daddy duck okay in the rain?”

They continued talking.

“The parents are okay because they are older.”

“The rain doesn’t bother them.”

At this point, we had to go to specials which was perfect because I wanted to set up an investigation for my students. (available here) I set up a tray for each of my students that included an “adult” feather, a “baby” feather, a Q-tip, an eye dropper, a scoop of Vaseline, and a little bowl of water.

Our First Grade Weather Inquiry – Part Two: Exploring Rain!

When my students came back from specials, I had them meet me on the carpet and reminded them of the discussion that we were having. I asked them, “Do you think that the ducks’ feathers had anything to do with them liking the rain?”

I passed around some adult feathers and baby feathers and told them to keep their observations in their mind until everyone had a chance to explore them.

Our First Grade Weather Inquiry – Part Two: Exploring Rain! Students explore how adult feathers and baby feathers react in the rain during a weather unit

My students then shared their thoughts.

“The baby feather is so tickly!” “It is soft and delicate!” “I bet it holds a lot of water!!”

My students then tried running the feathers under our faucet to see what would happen.

Sure enough, the baby feather got drenched and the adult feather was fine! I explained to my students that adult ducks have an oil gland that produces oil that coats their feathers. The oil makes water run right off of their feathers.

Students explore how duck adult and baby feathers react in the rain during a weather unit

I then told my students that waiting at their tables was an activity that explained how the oil worked. I showed them how to coat baby duck with Vaseline using their Q-tip and instructed them to drop water on their duck once she was coated with oil!

Students explore how duck adult and baby feathers react in the rain during a weather unit Students explore how duck adult and baby feathers react in the rain during a weather unit

To their amazement, the water dripped right off!

Students explore how duck adult and baby feathers react in the rain during a weather unit

Students explore how duck adult and baby feathers react in the rain during a weather unit Students explore how duck adult and baby feathers react in the rain during a weather unit

They LOVED this activity and were so excited to tell their parents the newly acquired schematic connections they grew that day! Come back tomorrow to read about our WIND investigation!

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