When you live in the B.C.'s Fraser Valley, you know that the fall means rain. And not just a few drops here and there. Not a large cloudburst and then some blue sky. But day after day of deep grey skies, filled with clouds loaded up with moisture, moisture that never seems to stop falling from the sky. This seemingly endless precipitation provides the perfect opportunity for a water study. Therefore, Emmett is studying water. When we are outside going for walk/rolls or bike rides, we study the rain. For example, yesterday we discussed how rain flows downhill. We saw and studied how the fall leaves got stuck at drain grates and caused the water to build up and find a way around the leaf dam. We laughed together when we broke the dam and then watched the flood dissipate and heard the water crashing down into the sewer. We would have lifted the grate and looked down it, but only a city worker can lift the grate and Gerry, our friend the city worker, wasn't available. (**Please do not tell Emmett that anyone can lift a sewer grate. He already has gone through phases where he requests every sewer grate be lifted, and our response is that only city workers can do that. Fortunately, Gerry the city worker has slightly appeased Emmett's curiosity by lifting the sewer grate for him.)
At the Great Blue Heron Reserve we participated throughout October and early November in a weekly morning outdoor educational session in which our guide, Michael, taught us about water bugs, showed us the many different types of fish that live in the local streams and rivers, discussed all of the birds that depended upon the wetlands for food and shelter, and how animals like the beaver both enhanced the wetland yet perhaps caused issues by blocking pathways used by salmon as they returned to their home stream. With his mom and dad earlier in the fall we played on the beach of a lovely lake that had been created by hydro-electric dams and we discussed how these massive dams created electricity that powered his food pump, bi-pap, oximeter, his dad's coffee maker, and so much more. As a result we have been learning about water and the importance of water for all of us for several weeks. Also, I'm pretty sure that I used one of Emmett's syringe's to spray him with water a few times. Of course, we have to tell you that Emmett loves bath time and 'swimming' in the bathtub.
So with this focus on water and these deep grey clouds overhead, it only made sense to study the water cycle. To do so we went to the recycle bin and resurrected the pop bottle rocket. While it makes sense to do a rocket launch comparison in sunny weather versus rainy weather and see what type of weather is most conducive to rocket launching, that is not what we did. The pop bottle rocket has been retired after several launches and isn't going back into action. We saved most of the customizations for flight that Emmett had done (that is, stickers) but that was all that was left of the rocket. We then used a sharp knife to cut the top off of the bottle. This top part needs to be large enough that, when you invert it, the top friction fits into the bottom of the bottle. Like a funnel. Then we used a ruler and a permanent marker to put a measuring gauge on the side. We did centimetres. This took not much more than 5 to 10 minutes and it was the easy part. The hard part was getting Emmett to select a location for this rain gauge. He quickly discounted the front yard, as he knew that something as valuable as a pop bottle rocket converted to a rain gauge would be at high risk for theft. While he liked the idea of putting it on the back porch because he could get to it easily, he also knew that this would not get much rain because the back porch has a roof. So then he settled on the roof. That's right, he wanted his frail and elderly grandpa to put this rain gauge up on the roof. Meaning that every time it needed to be checked, his wobbly and fragile grandpa would have to climb up the ladder and go onto the roof. Well, I refused that option. Emmett laughed and then we settled on the backyard, right where Emmett could easily see it. Within the first three hours our rain gauge gathered about 1 centimetre of water. After 24 hours it registered 2.2 centimetres of water. As there has been nearly 22 centimetres of rain recorded in Abbotsford for the month of November, our rain gauge is fairly accurate.
While we were collecting rain outside, Emmett and I decided to make it rain inside the house! Emmett's first plan was to take the roof off of the house, but his mommy and daddy said, "NO WAY!" so we couldn't do that. Instead to see how the water cycle works we filled the electric kettle with water and turned it on. Then we filled a bag full of ice. Then when the kettle was close to boiling a grownup held the bag over the boiling hot kettle spout. The kettle was like the heated up earth and the water vapour going up was real. When it hit the bag of ice, that was like being high in the atmosphere and hitting cold air, so the water vapour turned to condensation. When the condensation got heavy it turned to rain! And we made it rain in the house without taking off the roof! We didn't even need rain coats.
This last part has nothing to do with water and rain. It is a reader's theatre that Emmett created with grandma and grandpa. One of our critics pointed out that Emmett wasn't reading everything and that is true. He had a bit of stage fright and anticipated his lines, but I still think that he did a spectacular job. So without further ado, here it is and we hope that you enjoy it. Mo Willems, let us know what you think!