Hail is a dangerous, yet interesting form of severe weather.
Definition: Hail is precipitation in the form of balls or irregular lumps of ice, always produced by convective clouds, nearly always cumulonimbus.
Definition: An updraft is bouyant air that is warmer than the surrounding environment, which rises up in a thunderstorm.
Definition: A downdraft is sinking, cooler air, which contains the precipitation in a thunderstorm.
Watch the video above for an experiment demonstrating how hail forms, including a detailed explanation. Remember to take notes!
Time: 10-15 min
- hair dryer
- ping pong balls (2 or more)
- Turn on hairdryer on a low and cool setting. Orient so air is flowing directly upwards.
- Add one ping pong ball into the air stream. Observe.
- Tilt the hairdryer to a 45 degree angle. Observe.
- Orient hairdryer directly upwards again, and add another ping pong ball. Repeat for as many balls as you want!
Post Experiment Questions:
- How did the ping pong ball behave in the air stream?
- How does this experiment related to hail within a thunderstorm?
- What happened when you added multiple ping pong balls?
- Why do raindrops or hail finally fall to the ground?
Hey kids! Thanks for checking out Taking Science by Storm. Is there a science topic you would like to learn more about? Contact Alex at firstname.lastname@example.org