Earth Science Unit StudyWeek 13: We learned about deserts, measured the diameter of rain drops and did a project to demonstrate how rain drops form around specks of dust in the atmosphere.
In addition, David Attenborough describes how several desert plants and animals have adapted to survive in the harsh environment. Animals such as rabbits and foxes have extra long ears which act as cooling fins. Birds learn to breath in a special way which helps them keep cool. Squirrels use their tails as umbrellas to shield them from the sun. Some plants coat their leaves with salt to reflect heat. Others, such as American cactus, have turned their leaves into thorns and use the stem for photosynthesis.
Since rain is scarce in the desert, both projects centered on rain. In the first project, the diameter of different types of rain was determined. In the second, rain droplets were formed around crystals of salt. Both activities came from the book Janice VanCleave's A+ Projects in Earth Science: Winning Experiments for Science Fairs and Extra Credit.
Thundershowers, mist, and drizzle all describe different types of rain, and each type has unique characteristics. One trait scientists use to distinguish between types of rain is the diameter of the droplets.
High in the atmosphere, rain drops form by condensing onto specks of dust. To simulate this process, a few grains of salt were placed in a humid environment and observed to see if drops of water condensed onto them.
Kids learn in so many different ways - reading, visually and hands-on projects used in combination allow kids to gather similar information presented in various formats and make sense of it in their own way. To see more of our Earth Science Projects please visit our Science Page.