Precipitation Mattersby: Thomas McDuffie

Journal ArticleDigital resources are stored online in your NSTA Library.

Although weather, including its role in the water cycle, is included in most elementary science programs, any further examination of raindrops and snowflakes is rare. Together rain and snow make up most of the precipitation that replenishes Earth’s life-sustaining fresh water supply. When viewed individually, raindrops and snowflakes are quite varied either in size or shape and provide surprising hints about the atmospheric conditions in which they formed.

  • Elementary
Publication Date

Community ActivitySaved in 483 Libraries

Reviews (4)
  • on Wed Nov 20, 2013 10:25 AM

This article is about showing students that raindrops and snowflakes are very interesting and much more complicated that most people realize. The author has given several activities for teachers to do with raindrops and snowflakes. Collecting raindrops in flour was very interesting as I had never heard of this method to study the shapes of raindrops. Take a look at the article to make some interesting discoveries.

Betty Paulsell  (Kansas City, MO)
Betty Paulsell (Kansas City, MO)

  • on Sat May 14, 2011 5:54 PM

The author presents activities where students observe, classify, infer, and predict information gained from rain drops and snow. What a wonderful way to get students thinking about how water acts in the atmosphere. The author suggests using this as a part of a unit on the water cycle and weather. I agree with the author and feel that the activity could actually be extended to middle school as well, with additional student questions and investigations.

Tina Harris  (Fairmount, IN)
Tina Harris (Fairmount, IN)

  • on Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:16 AM

Students in grades three through six learn about snowflake shapes and raindrop sizes through virtual and real life observations. Three lessons are shared in this article. In the first activity students try to estimate the shape, size and distance a raindrop travels. Students working in small groups collect data during a rainfall event. In the second activity students use paper and scissors to create snowflakes. The third activity has them explore a website to learn about the shapes of snowflakes and how they are classified. All three activities are described in full and easy to implement in a classroom. If I were using this information I would introduce activity three before activity two in an effort to make their snowflakes more like real snowflakes and then to possibly classify those they created using the system provided on the website.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Thu May 26, 2011 8:53 AM

I think this article has great potential for teaching observation skills using raindrops and snowflakes. I am concerned about students younger than 6th grade with some of the higher level concepts that are part of the water cycle. After teaching grades 4-6 for many years, I know that many misconceptions are formed when the water cycle is introduced too ealry, or at least that has been my expereince.

Kathy Renfrew  (Barnet, VT)
Kathy Renfrew (Barnet, VT)

Free - NSTA Members

$1.29 - Nonmembers

Login or Create a Free Account to add this resource to your library.