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The planet Earth presents diverse types of ecosystems that are the result of the combination of the geographical conditions with the specific wildlife conditions for that habitat, this means that each ecosystem presents its own traits. In terrestrial ecosystems, apart from sunlight, plants need water to survive, grow and develop, they obtain it through rain (Importancia, 2010).
According to Peña (2016), rainfall is the precipitation of liquid particles of water, greater than 0.5 mm in diameter, towards the ground. It depends on three factors: atmospheric pressure, temperature, and solar radiation. This is of utmost importance for animal and plant life, and even for economic activities such as agriculture, because its absence causes dehydration.
Rain comes to us thanks to the hydrological cycle, which starts when the sun heats the water of the oceans, which evaporates into the air as water vapor, then condenses and forms the clouds. The air currents move the clouds causing the water particles to collide, grow and fall on the oceans and on the earth, where it runs on the surface as runoff that is then absorbed by the roots of the plants or is transferred to rivers, seas, among others (USGS, 2018).
The experiment you want to perform explains in a didactic and simple way how the rain process works, so when teaching it to the students of the San Luis Salesian School you will be able to understand the basic concepts, described above, much better.
It will be recreating how clouds absorb water vapor and how it is precipitated using different sized containers, water, dye and shaving foam, which has soapy and moisturizing properties that are ideal for our purpose.
Next, the general objective of this experimental type research is presented, as well as the specific objectives that will guide the work, the methodology used, the results obtained when conducting the experiment, an analysis about said results, the conclusions to which it has arrived and recommendations for future replicas of the experiment.
- Demonstrate the phenomenon of rain by using food coloring and shaving foam.
- Acquire knowledge about the water cycle and how rain occurs.
- Prepare an affordable and transportable model for the representation of precipitation.
- Describe the analogy of the rain phenomenon between the model and nature.
- 1 can of shaving foam
- 3 food colors of different shades
- 3 glasses or 250 ml containers
- 1 glass container, or transparent, of more than 250 ml
- 3 liters of water
- 1 spoon
Three 250 ml glasses were taken, to which different volumes of water were added, then, to each one, five drops of dye were added and mixed, to represent the condensed water vapor.
The larger container was taken and water was placed until it reached ¾ of its capacity, representing the atmosphere. On the water, the shaving foam was applied both on the walls and in the center of the container, symbolizing the clouds.
To finish, little by little, with the help of the spoon, the different mixtures of water with dye were added to the large container with water and shaving foam. The effect produced recreates the phenomenon of rain.
Below is a table showing the different densities of "water vapor:"
Table 1: Density of the containers.
- Water amount
- Amount of colorant
- 10 ml
- 5 drops of red coloring
- It has higher density
- 50 ml
- 5 drops of blue dye
- It has average density
- 100 ml
- 5 drops of yellow dye
- It has lower density
In nature, the different densities of water vapor condense, causing the water droplets, with which the clouds are formed, to become larger and precipitate, depending on their density, in strong, mild or almost nil rains ( Peña, 2016). In the experiment, it was observed that in a short time the water with yellow dye, which had the lowest density, surpassed the clouds faster than the other colors. While, the water with red color and the water with blue dye, they needed more time to precipitate, especially the red color.
In this sense, it is important to take into account the water cycle, which begins with evaporation, when the sun heats the water of rivers, seas, lakes, lagoons, and oceans, then condensation comes and it happens when the water vapor that has climbed into the atmosphere due to evaporation is concentrated in droplets that form clouds and mists.
Then, precipitation occurs, which is what we wanted to represent with this experiment. When the water falls to the ground infiltration occurs, here the water penetrates the soil, it is used by plants and living beings. Finally, the runoff occurs, in which the water is displaced through the surface by the slopes and land accidents, to be able to enter again the rivers, lakes, lagoons, seas, and oceans, which allows the beginning of the cycle again (Pérez, 2013).
As mentioned by Peña (2016), you can also find other types of rain, acid for example, which is formed when the environment is polluted, but rain does not always precipitate in liquid form when the environment is very cold, precipitation occurs. of snow or hail.
According to what has been examined it can be said that rain is a natural phenomenon, very important for life on Earth because, when passing through the hydrological cycle, water is purified and used by soils, plants, animals, and plants. people. Without the rain the hydrological cycle would be interrupted, so life on earth would change negatively, due to this, taking care of the planet is of the utmost importance, so as not to break its balance.
The elaboration of this experiment allows responding to the curiosity of the human being to know how things are formed, in a simple and economical way, since the materials can be easily found or have at home. In addition, none of the materials imply danger, so this is an ideal didactic activity for the learning of preschool, primary and high school children, with which it can be explained, in a funny way, how the rain occurs. Another advantage it has is the ease of transportation and realization.
In the model made, each component represents an element of the nature present in the process that generates rain, for example, the shaving foam represents the clouds, the water of the largest container represents the atmosphere and the water of the vessels with different dyes represent the condensed water vapor.
It is recommended to carry out this experiment for the learning of the children in the schools so that they can have knowledge about how the rain occurs and what the hydrological cycle is, doing it with multiple colors, trying different densities of water or even only the dye. It would also be interesting to apply this experiment in containers with atypical shapes to have a much more didactic and fun experience, explaining what each material used in the process that happens in nature represents.