Tag Archives: weather

STEM Activities: Experimenting with Weather and Lightning!

STEM has become such an important part of science in classrooms around the country. It is not only a very important part of our current lifestyle, we use science and technology in nearly every major job now, it is also such an important part of our daily lives. This moths fun STEM activity deals with weather and lightning. Since everyone has to live in the weather, why not take a moment to get better acquainted with how it works and why its important?

This months STEM activity is from Learn Play Imagine, a great blog written and created by Mom Allison. Her little weather experiment is so much fun your kids will want to do this everyday. Not only does he teach us how lightning is made, with her instructions you and your kids can actually CREATE lightning at home.

STEM - Weather and lightning

Allison and Learn Play Imagine shares some incredibly cool insight in to lightning and weather with this experiment. We highly recommend heading over to her page to fully understand the experiment and to see step-by-step tutorial with a Youtube video to give you guidance to complete the experiment in full.

Don’t forget to check out some of Allison’s other great experiments and blogs while you are there.

Check out these 10 myths about lightning for you to share with your kids while you work:

MYTH 1 – LIGHTNING NEVER STRIKES THE SAME PLACE TWICE 
Fact: Lightning often strikes the same place repeatedly, especially if it’s a tall, pointy, isolated object. The Empire State Building was once used as a lightning laboratory, because it’s hit nearly 25 times per year, and has been known to have been hit up to a dozen times during a single storm.
MYTH 2 – LIGHTNING ONLY STRIKES THE TALLEST OBJECTS 
Fact: Lightning is indiscriminate and it can find you anywhere. Lightning hits the ground instead of trees, cars instead of nearby telephone poles, and parking lots instead of buildings.
MYTH 3 – IN A THUNDERSTORM, IT’S OK TO GO UNDER A TREE TO STAY DRY
Fact: Sheltering under a tree is just about the worst thing you can do. If lightning does hit the tree, there’s the chance that a “ground charge” will spread out from the tree in all directions. Being underneath a tree is the second leading cause of lightning casualties.
MYTH 4 – IF YOU DON’T SEE CLOUDS OR RAIN, YOU’RE SAFE 
Fact: Lightning can often strike more than three miles from the thunderstorm, far outside the rain or even the thunderstorm cloud. “Bolts from the Blue,” though infrequent, can strike 10?15 miles from the thunderstorm. Anvil lightning can strike the ground over 50 miles from the thunderstorm, under extreme conditions.
MYTH 5 – A CAR WITH RUBBER TIRES WILL PROTECT YOU FROM LIGHTNING 
Fact: Most vehicles are safe because the metal roof and sides divert lightning around you. The rubber tires have little to do with protecting you. Keep in mind that convertibles, motorcycles, bikes, open shelled outdoor recreation vehicles, and cars with plastic or fiberglass shells offer no lightning protection at all.
MYTH 6 – IF YOU’RE OUTSIDE IN A STORM, LIE FLAT ON THE GROUND
Fact: Lying flat on the ground makes you more vulnerable to electrocution, not less. Lightning generates potentially deadly electrical currents along the ground in all directions, which are more likely to reach you if you’re lying down.
MYTH 7 – IF YOU TOUCH A LIGHTNING VICTIM, YOU’LL BE ELECTROCUTED
Fact: The human body doesn’t store electricity. It is perfectly safe to touch a lightning victim to give them first aid.
MYTH 8 – WEARING METAL ON YOUR BODY ATTRACTS LIGHTNING
Fact: The presence of metal makes virtually no difference in determining where lightning will strike; height, pointy shape and isolation are the dominant factors. However, touching or being near long metal objects, such as a fence, can be unsafe when thunderstorms are nearby. If lightning does happen to hit one area of the fence. For example, the metal can conduct the electricity and electrocute you, even at a fairly long distance
MYTH 9 – A HOUSE WILL ALWAYS KEEP YOU SAFE FROM LIGHTNING
Fact: While a house is the safest place you can be during a storm, just going inside isn’t enough. You must avoid any conducting path leading outside, such as corded telephones, electrical appliances, wires, TV cables, plumbing, metal doors or window frames, etc. Don’t stand near a window to watch the lightning. An inside room is generally safe, but a home equipped with a professionally installed lightning protection system is the safest shelter available.
MYTH 10 – SURGE SUPPRESSORS CAN PROTECT A HOME AGAINST LIGHTNING 
Fact: Surge arresters and suppressors are important components of a complete lightning protection system, but can do nothing to protect a structure against a direct lightning strike. These items must be installed in conjunction with a lightning protection system to provide whole house protection.

 

Science At Home: How to Make a Cloud

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It has been raining a lot at our house this past month, and I keep hearing the same questions and remarks from my kids. What is rain? The clouds crying. The sky peeing (yes one of the boys said this!) What are clouds made of? The clouds are made of cotton candy. The clouds are pillows. The clouds are whipped cream! Well after all of this debate I decided it was important to find a way to teach them all the truth about clouds. But meteorology can be a very boring subject for young kids, it features a lot of big words that make no sense to most adults let alone kids under the age of 4. So I had to look hard to find some fun and interesting ways to explain the clouds and weather systems to my kiddos. But guess what, I found it!

I found a great blog written by mom of two Tracey. Tracey loves to do super fabulous crafts and experiments with her two young kids and loves sharing them on her blog We Made That. She features an incredible blog that helps to explain the way the weather system works. Since the clouds in huge sky are made up of moisture particles why couldn’t there be a way to create a similar effect here? Well she did, a cloud in a jar. This is the perfect experiment to show your kids how clouds work.

So what exactly are clouds anyway? Clouds are made up of very, very small water and ice crystals. They are so small and light that they can float way up high in the sky. All air contains water, usually invisible water in gas form called vapor. When it is warm this air rises and begins to expand or grow bigger and then cools. This cooler air cannot hold as much water vapor as the warmer air can so it begins to condense into tiny pieces of floating dust particles. These combine and form little tiny droplets round the dust particles creating little clouds.

The kind of clouds that we have been having all month bringing us rainy wet days and stormy nights are called Nimbostratus Clouds. These are dark grey clouds with a wet looking layer that brings great rain or snow. The clouds you can make at home in a jar won’t bring rain, but they will show you how incredibly cool clouds are. So enjoy making those puffy clouds!!

What You Will You Need:

Jar with lid
Warm water
Ice
Match

Now head on over to We Made That and follow the easy-to-read instructions on creating a cloud, don’t forget this is a parent and child activity, children should not use matches alone!