Today's Forecast: Precipitation

Contributor: Roxann Penny. Lesson ID: 12764

Do you dance in the rain or hail or build snow castles or slide in sleet in the street? You are participating in precipitation! Learn how water falls from the sky and have fun while doing it!


Earth Science

learning style
Kinesthetic, Visual
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

Audio: Image - Button Play
Image - Lession Started Image - Button Start

What do you like to do on a rainy day? Does water falling from the sky seem odd to you?

What is precipitation (pree-sip-puh-tay-shon)?

"Precipitation" is the term used to describe water that falls from clouds to Earth's surface. This water is sometimes in a liquid form like rain, and sometimes in a solid form like sleet or snow.

Take a look at the images below. They show four different forms of precipitation. Which form or forms have you experienced? Briefly describe what you think each form feels like. Can you guess which form of precipitation is most common? Share your ideas with your parent or teacher:

Image - Video

How does precipitation occur?

Precipitation occurs when water droplets and ice crystals in Earth's atmosphere stick together and become so heavy that they fall to the surface. The most common type of precipitation is rain. Take a look at the following video presentation by meteorologist Kenton Gewecke, Four Types of Precipitation Explained, describing four types of precipitation. As you view the video, make note of each type of precipitation mentioned and how it is formed. You may record your notes in a journal or notebook. When you are finished viewing Four Types of Precipitation, discuss your notes with your parent or teacher:

Image - Video


Next, consider the following discussion questions:

  • Why is precipitation important to living things?
  • What would happen if precipitation did not occur?
  • What do you think would happen if there were too much precipitation in an area?
  • Why is it important to study the different forms of precipitation?
  • What main factor determines the type of precipitation?

Aside from planning your next outdoor activity, being able to predict the type and amount of precipitation expected at a certain time is useful in many ways. Can you think about other ways in which this information may be useful?

Share your thoughts with your parent or instructor, and when you are done, continue to the Got It? section of this lesson to dig deeper into this topic by completing a few activities, including a fun game!

Image - Button Next