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HomeworkSpot > Why It Rains

Why does it rain?

Warm air turns the water from rivers, lakes, and oceans into water vapor that rises into the air. That water vapor forms clouds, which contain small drops of water or ice crystals (depending on how high the cloud is and how cold it is).

As clouds rise higher and higher, the air gets colder and colder. When the water vapor in the cloud becomes too heavy, it falls back to the ground as rain or snow.

To learn more about the water cycle, visit these sites:

  • Sesame Workshop: Weather
    This explanation was written for parents, who often get asked "Why is the sky blue?" or "Why does it rain?" But it's great for kids, too. Be sure to ask a parent for help with the experiment.

  • Passport to Knowledge: Precipitation
    Learn what "precipitation" means and why water vapor needs a "condensation nucleus" to form rain.

Rain Experiment

Ask your mom, dad or teacher to help you with this experiment. (Do not try it by yourself!)

  1. Boil water until steam rises.

  2. Hold a tray of ice about 5 inches above the steam. Use potholders to protect your hands from the hot steam.

  3. Continue holding the tray until drops form on the bottom, get heavy and fall like rain!


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