What is rain?

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It rains quite a lot in Scotland but what is rain and where does it come from? Let's find out.

In this article you can find out:

  • Where rain comes from
  • How a cloud forms
  • How to measure rainfall
  • How much rain different places get around the world

This resource is suitable for Weather topics for P2, P3, P4, P5, P6, P7 (First and Second Level Curriculum for Excellence).

Watch this video to learn all about rain.

Where does rain come from?

  1. The air is full of .
  2. When air cools down the water vapour condenses from a gas into a liquid and forms tiny water droplets.
  3. Water droplets gather to form clouds.
  4. The water droplets get bigger and heavier. The air can't hold them up any longer.
  5. The water droplets fall down to the ground as rain.

Rain is part of the water cycle.

Rain around the world

Find out how we can measure rain and compare rainfall in different parts of the world.

Rain gauge

Rain gauge

A rain gauge is an instrument which measures the amount of rainfall there is.

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How to measure rainfall

With help from BBC Weather's Kawser Quamer, let's find out:

  • Why it is important to measure rainfall
  • How rain is measured at weather stations
  • How to make your own rain gauge

  • rain - Liquid water that falls from the sky.
  • precipitation - Any water that falls from the sky. Precipitation can be rain, snow, hail or sleet.
  • water vapour - Water when it is an invisible gas.
  • condense - When water turns from a gas into a liquid.
  • meteorologist - A scientist who studies the weather and climate.
  • rain gauge - An instrument used to measure the rain.
  • desert - A place which receives very little or no rain.

Test your knowledge of rain with this short multiple choice quiz

Make your own rain gauge.

You can measure rain at home or at school with your own rain gauge.

  1. Carefully cut the top off a plastic bottle.
  2. Use the top of the bottle as a . It should be the same width at the bottle.
  3. Add jelly to the bottle to give the base a level surface.
  4. Attach a ruler to your bottle. The 0cm mark should line up with the level top of the jelly.
  5. Dig a hole for your rain gauge (away from buildings and trees) and wait and see how much rain it catches!
  6. Record your results every day with a daily chart.
How to make a rain gauge