Project on Rainfall

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Project on Rainfall

Postby kape123 » Tue Sep 27, 2011 7:08 pm

My son is in 2nd grade. He wants to do some project on rain. Is this too much for his grade. How should I even start him on this. I am in seattle so we have lot of rain. We he thought about this. How should we collect data. Please give me some starting point.
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Re: Project on Rainfall

Postby MattAW » Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:22 pm

Hi, we are neighbors; I live in Portland.

For a project like this, where your son has started to identify an area of interest but hasn't yet developed a research question, you may want to start by thinking about what variables you might be able observe. Brainstorm with your son ways you can observe or measure rain.

Here are some ideas:
*Use a rain gauge to measure the amount of rainfall.
*Use data from weather stations to quantify other variables related to rainfall. For example, here in the Northwest, we have cloudy conditions with some rainfall for a lot of time, while the rainfall totals might be less than in other regions. Your son might come up with other questions about how his region compares to other regions.
*Use litmus paper or a digital pH sensor to measure the pH of rainwater.

You'll probably think of other things you can measure that are related to rain. Once you have some ideas, it may become easier to think of a question to investigate.
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Re: Project on Rainfall

Postby drowningfish » Tue Oct 04, 2011 5:32 pm

Hello,

If this project is not due any time soon (I am assuming your son is doing this for fun), you can do a long-term experiment with the amount of rainfall. For example, you can measure the amount of rain once every week or every month, record and see which month of the year it rains the most in Seattle. It would be more accurate to measure everyday, but your son might lose interest after the first month. Measuring once every month, on the other hand, is less preferable because you might measure on a day when it just happens to not rain.

Since your son is only in second grade, it would probably be easier to use a cup to capture rain, and then measure and record the volume. Just make sure your measurements are consistent--leave the cups out for the same amount of time, measure at the same day of week or month, etc.

Hope this helps...
Your Buddy in Science :shock:
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Re: Project on Rainfall

Postby ktsshao » Sat Oct 08, 2011 9:28 am

Hi there!
I'd like to expand a bit on the litmus paper test. Testing the pH of rainwater is a great way to tell how much pollution is cycled in your environment, and it can make for a great project if you compare the acidity in Seattle to, say, California. This website explains in detail the process of using litmus paper http://www.epa.gov/acidrain/education/experiments.html. Since your son is in 2nd grade, I recommend starting with measuring a cupful of rainwater with litmus paper, then comparing that to common household chemicals. Some to try which will give you different results are:
1. ammonia water
2. apple juice
3. baking soda
4. distilled water
5. drinking water
6. tap water
7. eggs
8. any citric juice
9. saliva
10. milk
11. tomato juice
12. cooking vinegar

All of these items (save for ammonia) are very safe to use and would not require any protection. These items make up a pH gradient so it would be interesting to pick 3 or 4 that are spread out across the gradient, and see where your rainwater falls. You can go to this page to see their approximate pHs http://wiki.answers.com/Q/PH_table_for_household_items.

Good luck!
Anymore questions, feel free to post back or PM me.


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Re: Project on Rainfall

Postby ktsshao » Sat Oct 08, 2011 9:30 am

The "comparing Seattle to California" rainwater test would be much simpler: you can test the pH of rainwater over the course of 1-2 weeks, and look up California's rain-acidity online to compare.
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Re: Project on Rainfall

Postby kape123 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:31 am

I like all the ideas. Thank you. But comparing pH tests.. what is the hypothesis for this project. If I explain him about pH at this level is it going to be too much for 2nd grade.

My son came up with these questions:
1) Is rain water safe to drink?
2) How does it rain everyday and is it same evryday?

I like the pH idea.. but could not come up with good hypothesis... Please let me know
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Re: Project on Rainfall

Postby heatherL » Sat Dec 24, 2011 1:28 am

Hi there,

I love that your son is interested in these things already. He has great questions!

You do not necessarily have to teach him all of the details of pH for him to be able to look at rain acidity. Most kids have heard about "acid rain," and understand that acid can be harmful. A look at rain pH would help him answer the question about whether rainwater is safe to drink.

A hypothesis could be that rainwater is more acidic in California than Seattle (or vice versa, depending on your prediction). It is easily testable, as the other experts have suggested.

Please let us know if you have more questions.

Best,
Heather
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Re: Project on Rainfall

Postby kape123 » Tue Dec 27, 2011 11:05 am

Thank you for the reply. Where can I get the ph measuring strips? I tried a little bit but there are different varities. Some are good only for 2 -10 pH.. some say they are specifically for something..

WHat kind do I need exactly and where?
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Re: Project on Rainfall

Postby heatherL » Tue Dec 27, 2011 11:21 am

Hi,

There is no one best type of pH strip, especially for your son's level. For cost-effectiveness and maximum range of measurement, I recommend the pHydrion brand. Here is a link to a cheap roll (pH 1-12) on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Micro-Essential-L ... -3-catcorr

Here is one that measures 0-13:
http://www.amazon.com/Hydrion-paper-Dis ... 981&sr=1-7

Keep in mind that pH paper measuring a wide range may not detect much difference in the rainwater because it's not very precise. If you expect an acidic value, you could purchase a roll that deteccts pH to the nearest 0.1 in a lower range. Here is one that measures to the nearest 0.5:
http://www.amazon.com/Hydrion-Dispenser ... 28&sr=1-11

Let me know if you have any more questions!

Heather
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Re: Project on Rainfall

Postby kape123 » Tue Dec 27, 2011 11:54 am

Thank you very much.. Do you know any local stores that I can try so I can avoaid shipping charges from Amazon. BTW, what kind of rain gauage should I buy?
Any ideas please?
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Re: Project on Rainfall

Postby kape123 » Tue Dec 27, 2011 4:29 pm

Hello, I found this from ebay. This is a pH meter rather than a strip. Is this okay?
Digital pH Meter Tester Pocket Pen Aquarium Pool Water
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Digital-pH-Mete ... 3cb9968d90
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Re: Project on Rainfall

Postby heatherL » Tue Dec 27, 2011 4:31 pm

The pH meter should work just fine! :)
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Re: Project on Rainfall

Postby kape123 » Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:37 pm

Is there a webiste somehere that can show the rainwater ph for differnet cities/states.. so we can complare the ph of different cities
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Re: Project on Rainfall

Postby heatherL » Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:17 pm

Great question!

The US Geological Survey (USGS) has a site with basic information about acid rain: http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/acidrain.html
It looks like the East coast has much more acid rain than the West coast of the U.S.

You might try this site for more city-specific information:
http://nadp.sws.uiuc.edu/

Honestly, I did not find specific details with a quick Google search, but there might be something out there. Try searching yourself, and please post back if you find a good site!

Best,
Heather
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