Rain: A Complete Unit Study
- Wednesday, April 18, 2007
The air is still and heavy--a heaviness never noticed before. There is a strange new smell that causes men near the gates to inhale deeply. Children stop playing and their giggling chatter ceases. Women's busy hands become silent. Not a leaf flutters or a blade of grass quivers. The sheep on the hillside move restlessly, as if they can sense a change about to take place.
Then suddenly, a gust of wind swirls clouds of dust across the street. Dogs bark and a cow moos from the pen. People look at each other with unspoken questions and the children hurry to their mothers' sides. Then, they hear it. A low, deep rumble that stretches across the heavens and causes the ground to shake.
A man shouts. He is holding his hand out and showing everyone something. There is a drop of water on his hand. A drop of water that come out of nowhere. A little boy shouts too. He felt something small hit his head. Suddenly everyone is talking at once. Small droplets of water are falling out of the sky. First one here and one there, and then suddenly the water is falling so fast they can hardly see the person standing next to them. What is going on?
It's rain. Something we are so used to seeing and hearing that we hardly even pause when it happens. But what was it like for the people who'd never seen rain before? The people in Noah's time had never seen rain until the flood, and their sin was the reason God sent it. Read Genesis 6-9.
When God sent the flood, it rained for forty days.
And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth. And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters. And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered. (Genesis 7:17–20)
Can you figure out how tall fifteen cubits is? That's a lot of water, and it covered the whole earth. Did you know that if one inch of rain fell on one acre, it would equal 27,154 gallons of water? How many gallons of water covered the earth at the flood? How many gallons of water would cover your yard or property?
Experiment with rain by using a rain gauge this spring. For two months measure the amount of rain that falls each day. Make a chart to show your measurements. What were the weather conditions on each of these days? What time of day did it rain? How long did it rain? Were the raindrops small or large?
Read about rain in the Bible. Did you know that the word rain is mentioned in the Bible 96 times? Find some of them and write the verses. The word rainbow (or, in some cases, just bow) is only mentioned 6 times, and three of them are in Genesis. Do you know where the other verses are?
There are also several other books about rain.
- Rain by Marion Dane Bauer. This is a fact filled book about rain for beginning readers ages 4-8
- Weather (DK Eyewitness Books) by DK Publishing
- All the Colors of the Rainbow by Allen Fowler explains how rainbows are formed.
- Men of Science, Men of God by Henry M. Morris. Learn about Sir Isaac Newton who discovered the seven distinct colors of the rainbow.
Raindrops are formed when tiny droplets of water in the clouds are enlarged by moisture in the air. They fall to the ground and can sometimes evaporate before they even get here. Do all clouds form rain? Does it always thunder and lightening when it rains? How does temperature and wind affect rainfall? Are there certain regions that receive more rain than others? Why?
There are many different kinds of rain and they each affect us differently. What is acid rain? How is it formed? Why is it dangerous? Are lakes and streams affected by it? How does it affect animal and plant life? Which is better, a hard rain or a soft drizzle? What are the benefits of each? What causes a flash flood?
One of the wonderful things about rain is that it is often followed by a rainbow, reminding us of God's promise never to flood the whole earth again. How are rainbows formed? Does the angle of light make a difference in what we see? What two things are needed for a rainbow to appear? Can you make a rainbow yourself? How many colors are there in a rainbow? Why does a rainbow arch? Are raindrops really tear drop shaped? Do they come in different sizes?
Make a few stops on the Internet (or read in an Encyclopedia) to learn about rain in various parts of the world. Make a chart showing the average rainfall certain cities receive in a year or a month. Who holds the world record for rain? How about a record for lack of rain? One great website is http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/earthrain.html
Study these vocabulary words. How many of them do you know without looking them up? Precipitation, spectrum, sphere, arch, refracted, angle, reflection, vapor, condensation, rainfall, meteorologist, drought, virga, hydrological cycle.
Do you like to write? Write a story about a day in the rainforest. What happens when the sun comes up? What animals and insects do you see during the day and how does the rain affect each of them? What are the smells, sounds, and humidity deep in the tropical undergrowth? What do the plants and animals do as night falls? How much rain fell today?
God has created a wonderful system to water plants, fill streams and oceans, and give us water to drink. The next time it rains take a few minutes to contemplate that not a single raindrop falls without Him knowing and planning exactly where it lands. What an awesome God we serve!
Paula Miller is a children's author, freelance writer, and homeschooling mom. She and her husband Travis live in south central Minnesota with their 3 sons. You can read more about Paula's Faces in History Series for children 7 and up by visiting www.paulajmiller.com
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