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On a rainy day, pour some flour through a sifter into a pie
pan until the flour in the pan is 1/2 inch deep. Cover the
pan with a large plate, and take it outdoors. Hold it in the
rain, uncover it, and let the rain fall into the flour for
three seconds. Cover the pan with the plate, and go back
indoors. When the pan is uncovered again, you will see wet
round lumps where the raindrops fell.

Let the lumps dry for about three hours, then use the sifter
to separate the lumps from the rest of the flour. Measure
the lumps with a ruler, or seriate them by size to learn
something about the relative size of raindrops.

(Note: The lumps will be slightly larger than the actual

If records are kept, the sizes of raindrops can be compared
during different parts of a storm or between different

Another way to measure the size of raindrops is to prepare
hoop screens by stretching pieces of discarded nylon
stockings over embroidery hoops. When each screen is
stretched tightly, staple or tack it in place, then trim away
the excess stocking. On a rainy day, press the screens into
a large pan with powdered sugar sprinkled in it. Tap off any
excess sugar, cover the screens, take them outdoors, and hold
them horizontally in the rain. Uncover the screens, and
allow raindrops to fall on them for a timed period such as 30
seconds. Cover the screens again, and take them back to the

If the screens are held up against a dark background, you
will see darkened spots where each raindrop removed the sugar
as it fell through the screen.

Diameters can be compared with a ruler. Samples taken in
different locales or at different times during the rainfall
can also be compared.

If you are outside before rain begins to fall, you can see
the diameter of the first drops as they hit the sidewalk and
spread laterally. If you're quick, you can catch just one
drop in a small container, and measure it. Mom would surely
allow you to use a measuring spoon. In summer when it's hot
outside, the raindrops appear huge, and very wet. Summer
rains often last only a few minutes, and the moisture will
evaporate shortly afterward.

Rain is fun. Sometimes it seems to fall from the sky, almost
lazily. Other times, it comes down as though it were forced.
Maybe the wind forces it to fall hard and fast. Maybe you
should search for more information on the subject of rainfall
so as to find out why it comes down at different speeds.

On warm summer days when it rains, it is fun to go swimming.
When I lived on Lake Oswego in Oregon, I would run down my
back yard and jump in the lake when the rain began. I don't
know why it is so fun, but it is! I guess if one is warm and
not dressed in street clothes, it is okay to get wet. The
rain water is frequently warmer than the lake water, and the
feeling of being cool and wet contrasted with the warm water
coming down is interesting.

It is interesting also, to watch raindrops striking leaves of
plants. Hard rain bends the leaves more than gentle rains.
If your eyes can follow the drops, you can see if the leaf
below the one that the rain just hit was hit as hard as the
top leaf. If the rain isn't hard enough to bend the leaves,
some of the water runs down the stem to the trunk, and thence
to the plant's roots. That's pretty good.

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