Have you ever heard the saying “April showers bring May flowers” before? It is true! In our class about plants germinating, Ms Carleen shared that seeds need water in order to germinate. April weather is often filled with many days of rain and… all of the seeds need that water! May flowers are the result of all that rain in April!
In the water cycle, the rain (or other precipitation) that falls gets collected into pools of water. Eventually, when the sun warms it up, the water evaporates into the air where… it condenses and gathers with other water molecules into clouds! The clouds rise where the air is cooler and the molecules of water are closer together and become heavy. The heavy water starts to fall as precipitation!
You can experiment with a simple version of the water cycle just like Ms Carleen did by following the experiment below (you can print out the water cycle poster for a reference while experimenting!)
Recognizing the importance of water for flower germination, use the concept of capillary action to create flowers and butterflies to decorate your space!
The Water Cycle
- Cotton Ball
- Fill a bowl with a little bit of water.
- Dip the cotton ball into the water.
- Raise the cotton ball up above the water and squeeze it to watch it rain!
In this experiment, we are using a little bit of imagination. We can’t wait for the water molecules to evaporate (spread out) and then condense (come back together) then get too heavy and precipitate (fall back down) then to collect (gather together in a group) to see the whole water cycle, so instead, we are going to imagine that’s what happens.
As you dip the cotton ball in the water, pretend the water is evaporating. As you pick the saturated cotton ball up above the bowl, imagine it is getting cooler “up there” in the atmosphere and the molecules are coming back together and condensing to form a cloud. As you squeeze the cotton ball, you can see that the water is coming out – that is like the precipitation we see when it rains, sleets, snows, or hails! When the water falls into the bowl, it is collecting again, just like it does in the lakes, rivers, streams and oceans, only to start the process all over again!
Capillary Action Flowers and Butterflies
- Bowl or shallow basin with a little bit of water on the bottom
- Large round coffee filters, or ¼ sheets of paper towels
- Washable markers
- Chenille sticks – or whatever pipe cleaners are called these days
- Paper plate
- Place the coffee filter or paper towel on the paper plate.
- Make dots all over the paper.
- Fold the filter or paper towel into a pizza slice (triangle) so the pointy edge is in the center.
- Dip JUST THE CENTER EDGE into the water in the bowl. (if you can hold it there with your hand, great, or you can use a binder clip, or clothes pin to hold it in the water just at the tip.)
- Allow the water to travel up the paper almost to the top.
- Remove the paper and open it up to view the beautiful colors.
- To make a butterfly, pinch the paper in the middle creating two wings, then wrap the pipe cleaner around it and create two antennae.
- To create a flower, wrap the pipe cleaner around the base of the triangle, then fluff out the flower on the top. Be creative, don’t be afraid to cut into your paper to give your flower more depth.
Paper is made up of small tubes that draw in water and liquids. That’s what makes paper so great at cleaning up spills!
Different types of paper have different sized tubes – depending on how absorbent they are. By using the washable markers, we know that the color will move through the tubes in the paper, spreading the colors through capillary action!