Ask your student to draw her interpretation of the water cycle. Where does water come from, and where does it go? Review her guesses, and compare them to the descriptions found online. For example, an educational cartoon on the water cycle is available on the United States Environmental Protection Agency's website.
It could be sprinkling, showering or pouring, but to know how much it really rained, someone must measure the precipitation. Set up a rain gauge to measure how much rain you receive at your home. You can even let your child guess how much there will be before you check your udometer (the formal term for "rain gauge").
Go outside, lie on your back and look at the clouds with your student. Then, check out the work of artist Berndnaut Smilde, who takes indoor cloud photographs. Talk to your student about what she thinks clouds would look or feel like, and see if she has any ideas on how to make one appear. After brainstorming, follow an online tutorial to make a cloud in a jar or bottle; there are different variations, but the experiments work by placing a cold lid on a container of heated water.
Utilize the rain water landing on your roof to help your child understand precipitation and water collection systems. Explain what rain barrels do, how they can help the surrounding area and what the water is used for before setting up your own barrel. After the first rain, use the collected water to tend to your garden or lawn together. In addition to discussing precipitation, setting up a rain barrel gives you the opportunity to discuss the preservation of natural resources and the act of recycling.
Have your student brainstorm ways that she can create a rainbow. Where has she seen rainbows before? What factors were present? Test out these theories together, and see what works and what doesn't. If you're short on ideas, try using a prism or a garden hose.
What types of storms or natural disasters exist? Which involve rain? Use an afternoon inside to do some online research about hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms, floods and tsunamis as a way to introduce your child to earth science.
You've seen earthworms on the sidewalk after a rain storm, but do you know why they leave the ground then? Or which earthworm end is which, and what they eat? Do a little digging online, and find out more about these slippery, squirmy creatures. If your child likes to get messy, you can even grab your galoshes and search for worms after a storm.
For more tips and strategies to help your student succeed in school, visit varsitytutors.com.
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