The Monday before Thanksgiving Break students in Mrs. Babson’s third grade had an opportunity to get hands-on with the weather during a S.T.E.A.M. Day she designed just for them. After reviewing the water cycle, students created and observed the water cycle in a zipper sealed bag hung in the window. They read the book Tornadoes! by Gail Gibbons and discussed the way a tornado is formed and why certain places experience tornadoes often and other places see them less frequently. They then got to watch debris in a simulated ‘tornado’ made with soda bottles, water, and glitter. Students made connections about how the spin sucked the glitter into the ‘air tunnel’ where it wasn’t floating in the water anymore and the glitter just ‘fell’ into the lower bottle; people and other things in the yard could also be dropped and damaged just as quickly.
After checking the water cycle bags in the window, students looked at saturation and humidity with an experiment: how many capfuls of water can a sponge hold? They made a hypothesis about the number then tested their idea by counting and recording the number of capfuls of water twice. They saw that the number of capfuls a sponge could hold before water leaked out onto the plastic plate was related to the humidity and the saturation in clouds before precipitation happened.