Lesson 4: Precipitation

Getting Started

Questions to Explore

  • How does the environment affect living things?
  • How does the weather in the environment affect people, plants, and animals?

Facts and Definitions

  • Precipitation is rain, snow, hail, sleet, or any form of water that falls from the sky.
  • A rain gauge measures the amount of rainfall.
  • Rain, snow, hail, and sleet are all forms of precipitation.


  • Describe weather using quantitative measures of temperature, wind direction, wind speed, and precipitation. (S)
  • Identify and use common tools to measure weather: wind vane (wind direction), anemometer (wind velocity), thermometer, and rain gauge. (S)
  • Give examples of ways living organisms depend on their environments. (S)


  • The Kids' Book of Weather Forecasting by Mark Breen and Kathleen Friestad
  • chalk* (optional)
  • fabric scraps
  • felt-tip pens
  • journal
  • marshmallows
  • pan with metal lid* (optional)
  • small twigs
  • toothpicks

* - denotes an optional material that may or may not be needed


Ask your child to describe what he has seen falling from the sky — rain, snow, sleet (tiny ice pellets), hail (lumps of ice that fall during some warm-weather thunderstorms). Explain that these are examples of precipitation.

  1. Fill out your weather log each day as outlined in Lesson 1.
  2. Take four temperature readings during the day for the daily temperature experiment outlined in Lesson 2.
  3. Record the speed and direction of wind as outlined in Lesson 3.