Dear Brancher families,

Did you know that pinecones can predict the weather? Ask your Brancher how! 

What a fun and fast-paced month it has been! April has been full of science experiments, art, reading, and writing—all circling around one thing…the WEATHER! That’s right, our Branchers became little meteorologists over the course of the month. These Branchers continue to amaze us with how bright, attentive, and capable they are!

We started the month by learning about CLOUDS. We discussed and discovered what clouds were made of and how they work, but most importantly (according to the Branchers), they were fascinated with the names of the four most common clouds. You may have heard your Brancher talking about these different types of clouds, as did we! These clouds would be the Cirrus, Cumulus, Cumulonimbus, and Stratus clouds. We learned that when you look up at the sky and see white, fluffy, happy cotton ball clouds, you are looking at what is called a Cumulus cloud. On the other side of the spectrum, if we see a dark and stormy cloud, we are looking at a Cumulonimbus cloud…run for cover because there will soon be a thunderstorm! The highest clouds we see are Cirrus, which are light, feathery, wispy, and often cold clouds. The lowest clouds are our Stratus clouds, also known as fog. These clouds blanket the ground with their density. It has been so fun listening to each Brancher pronounce and stretch out each cloud type as they expand their vocabulary! 

We can’t learn about clouds without knowing about the WATER CYCLE. So, off to work, we explore this critical series of events. We investigated evaporation, condensation, and precipitation with the help of a few informative books, videos, and, of course, songs! To get our imaginations going and incorporate some visual aspects, we created our own ‘Water Cycle’ in a bag as a whole group! Using a Ziploc bag and some permanent markers, the Branchers could assist a teacher as she made an ocean landscape. We had water, sunshine, clouds, and even trees. Once the bag was decorated accordingly, we discussed the water cycle steps and incorporated them into our landscape. The Branchers discovered that when the sunshine heats the water, it evaporates the water and creates water vapor. The water vapor goes high into the sky and pools together to make clouds. Once the clouds become too full of vapor, it releases the water, begins to rain, and the cycle begins again. Once the bag and discussion were over, we filled it with H20 and hung it in the window to witness the science for our own eyes! By the end of the first day, the Branchers noticed condensation building up through the side of the bag and watched in awe as the water trickled down the inside.

Another tremendous visual activity we did was the ‘Rain Cloud’ in a jar. This activity showed the kids how it rains and was simple, too! All that was needed was a jar, H20, shaving cream, and some blue food coloring. Start by filling the jar with warm water and topping it with a shaving cream cloud. Then, add some food coloring drops and imagine it is water vapor. Once the vapor in the cloud became too heavy, it traveled through the cloud and began raining through the water. This would be a great activity to do at home as well; have your Brancher assist and or lead the demonstration! 

That was one of many things we did in a jar this month. We also created a…’ Tornado’ in a jar! Using H20 and glitter, we could replicate an actual tornado (“Tormato,” according to the Branchers). We used our imaginations to pretend that the glitter was dirt and dust that flies and swirls through the air during a tornado. Place a stir stick into the water and make quick circular motions, causing the glitter to form the ‘eye of the storm.’ Simple science=amazing results!

The month was complete with making some beautiful and quite impressive art. Using cotton balls, the Branchers were able to create replicas of a few of the clouds we discussed throughout the month. Not only was this activity fun, but it also helped them further their learning about clouds and solidified their knowledge! One of our other favorite art projects was our ‘Textured Lightning Storm.’ Each Brancher painted a dark stormy night sky using black and blue liquid watercolors. They then pinched and sprinkled salt all over the wet surface to create a textured appearance on the paper. To add a little flare, the Branchers added cotton balls and spritzed them with black-colored water to make a Cumulonimbus cloud. No lightning storm would be complete without a lightning bolt, so that’s what we added. The final product was electrifyingly awesome! 

As you can see, we have had a busy month, and it will only get busier in May! You know what they say…”April showers bring May flowers!” Get your green thumb on…we’re gardening! 

-Ms. Heather & Ms. Gracen

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