Science Spotlight

Rain Clouds

Vermont is blessed to have some pretty spectacular weather in the summertime. However, not everyday can be perfect and we are sometimes stuck with a rain storm. The clouds in the sky form from water or ice that has evaporated from Earth’s surface. When water evaporates – rises from the Earth’s surface into the atmosphere – it is in its gaseous state, water vapor. When water vapor cools and condenses, turns back into a liquid or ice, it helps form the cloud. To do this, there needs to be a little speck of dust or pollen for the water to condense around. This is what forms the cloud! Within the cloud, water vapor continues to condense into droplets, which causes the cloud to grow and get heavier. Once the cloud gets too heavy with water droplets, some of that water falls back to Earth as rain. Use the materials below to make your own rain clouds at home!

Materials: Shaving cream, 2 glasses, water, food coloring.

Directions: Fill a large glass with ¾ water. Add shaving cream to the top of the glass, creating what looks like a puffy cloud! Add a couple drops of food coloring to the second glass of water and mix together. Slowly pour the food coloring water onto the shaving cream and wait to see what happens as the “cloud” fills with water!

How It Works: The shaving cream cloud gets heavier as you add the food coloring. This allows for the food coloring to sink through the cloud and release into the water, depicting what happens with rain outside! When the cloud is too heavy, some of the water falls back down to Earth.

Want more? Research it! We know how water falls from the sky as rain, but how does it work when it snows?