Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Students will experiment with making rain by holding a tray of ice over a pan of boiling water.

These Snappy Science resources have been created to boost science education in primary schools across Australia. Each lesson is designed to support teachers with the scientific knowledge, ideas and resources to stimulate a sense of wonder and curiosity in their students. Many of the big issues that Australian society will face in the future are around technology, energy, resources and climate change. All of these require students to engage with science – but most of all to enjoy science!

Science at Home: Many of these Snappy Science resources can also be used to engage families in fun science and learning for life. Although we wouldn’t recommend students doing this particular activity at home, you can find plenty more student friendly versions of our Snappy Science resources in our Snappy Science Digital Library.

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking.

Australian Curriculum content description: This activity is relevant to Science Inquiry Skills across all primary year levels of the Australian Curriculum.

Year 1 Science

  • Observable changes occur in the sky and landscape (ACSSU019)

Year 2 Science

  • Earth’s resources, including water, are used in a variety of ways (ACSSU032)

Year 3 Science

  • A change of state between solid and liquid can be caused by adding or removing heat (ACSSU046)

Syllabus OutcomesST1-8ES, ST1-9ES, ST2-12MW.

Time required: 5 – 10 minutes.

Resources required: Saucepan, water, tray of ice cubes, oven mitt.

Safety advice: This activity requires boiling water – depending on student age and ability this activity may be either a student-led experiment or a teacher-led demonstration.

Keywords: Water, boiling, rain, ice.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

Teacher preparation: 

Brief summary:

Students will experiment with making rain by holding a tray of ice over a pan of boiling water.

Students can use the Predict, Observe, Explain table on the Student Worksheet to describe and reflect upon this experiment.

You will need:

  • Saucepan
  • Water
  • Ice cubes
  • Oven mitt

What to do:

Step 1. Boil some water in a saucepan.

Step 2. Using oven mitts, hold a tray of ice above the steam.

Step 3. Drops will begin to fall like rain from the ice tray!

How does it work?

The cold surface of the ice-cube tray cool the steam from the boiling water, changing it back into water in the form of rain drops.

Take it further:

Want to know whether hot or cold water freezes the fastest? Have a look at our Which freezes first: cold water or hot water? experiment to find out!

Lines of inquiry for student learning:

  • Why does our environment need water?
  • What does the water cycle look like?
  • What is a drought?
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Student Worksheet

In this experiment you will make rain!


Explain what you think will happen:


Explain what happened:


Explain why you think this happened:

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