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A Hands-On Activity Teaching About Condensation
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Science Area:  Earth Science
Concept:  Condensation 

 The water cycle includes the processes of evaporation, condensation and precipitation

 

STATE GOALS: 

11.A.1a:  Describe an observed event.

12.C.2b   Describe and explain the properties of solids, liquids and gases.

12.E.2a.   Identify and explain natural cycles of the Earth’s land, water and atmospheric     systems.

 

Safety Considerations: 

Use caution with ice (it can melt or stick to your skin)

 

Science Process Skills:

Observing, communication and touch

 

Materials:

Clear plastic cups

Ice cubes

 

Procedure:

Distribute plastic cups.

Before you put the ice in, feel the outside of the cup.

Place ice cubes in plastic cups and wait. 

In a few minutes wipe your fingers across the outside of the cup.

What do you feel?

 

 

Explanation: 

At first the outside is dry, but then tiny droplets of water appear and form small beads of water that cling to the outside of the cup.  As we previously learned, air contains water vapors as a result of the evaporation process. In this case, the air surrounding the outside of the glass became cooler once the ice was added.  Cool air can not hold as much water vapor as warm air can.  The water vapor from the cold air surrounding the cup transformed from a gas to a liquid.  This process is called condensation.

 

When the water vapor in the air cools, tiny droplets of water are formed.  These water droplets collect and then form clouds. As clouds move, the water droplets bump into each other and form larger droplets of water.  When the air becomes too heavy with water droplets, the clouds get heavy and gravity pushes the water back to earth and the in the form of precipitation.   

 

 

Source: Schaumburg School District 54. Weather or Not Science Unit.