Monday, January 26, 2015

Success! Rainmaking

Last week we wrapped up the section of the KotU album titled "The Protection of the Atmosphere and rains."  You may recall that my presentation on radiant heat was a bit of a flop.  There was nothing wrong with the album, I gave a bad presentation.  When I gave the following presentation on "The Rains" I once again failed to follow the instructions to the letter but got away with it this time.  The presentation was a huge success.

Montessori, evaporation, warm air holds moisture

First I demonstrated that hot air can hold a lot of moisture.  I sprinkled some water in a cake pan and Me Too manned the hair dryer.  We observed that the water quickly evaporated or was carried away by the hot air.  Then we looked at the ETC chart for evaporation.

warm air rises evaporation

Montessori, condensation and precipitation, cold air cannot hold as much moisture

Next I needed to show them that as the hot air cools as it rises. This cool air will drop its moisture because it can't hold as much moisture as the hot air can.

I was such a dummy when I was preparing for this part of the presentation.  I was all frazzled because the instructions said to put a clear glass bowl with a lip on top (probably Pyrex) of a saucepan holding about a half an inch of boiling water.  The circumference of the lip is supposed to be slightly larger than that of the saucepan.  I quickly realized that ALL of my glass bowls are Anchor Hocking and don't have a lip (You can see on on the counter by Kal-El's elbow).  I spent several minutes being irritated that I needed to go buy a glass bowl before it occurred to me that ALL of my saucepans have GLASS LIDS.  I don't know what is wrong with me sometimes.  So, just in case any of your are equally too distracted to think of this substitution right away, I am mentioning it here.

Anyway, we were able to watch the hot air rise, condense against the lid of the saucepan, and eventually see water begin to drip from the lid and trickle down the sides of the pan.

Then we examined the ETC chart for "Condensation."

condensation Montessori

This is a good example of how the ETC charts do not match the KotU albums perfectly, but are entirely usable.  The KotU chart for this lesson looks like this:

It's purpose is not to show evaporation and condensation per se, but rather to show how air  travels over a mountain and the temperature changes involved.

The ETC charts that are more similar in purpose might be the "How the Rains form" charts. The ETC charts that are more similar in purpose might be the "How the Rains form" charts.

Montessori, how the rains form

Finally we looked at a biome map of one of the continents to show that one side of a mountain can be quite dry and the other side very green and lush.  We used the control map from our Waseca South America stencil.

The KotU album states that typical extensions of this work that the child might discover include types of precipitation, types of Clouds, meteorology, and the layers of the atmosphere.  These are all works that we've done, so we'll be moving on to "The Winds" which is something Kal-El has been starting to wonder about lately. 

This might also be a good time to repeat the "Cloud in a Jar" experiment.

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