Types of Precipitation

This Storyboard That activity is part of the lesson plans for Weather and Climate


Precipitation Types

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Activity Overview


All types of precipitation are made of mainly water (H2O), but can contain other substances. An example of precipitation that is not pure water is acid rain, which can be caused when sulfur dioxide is released after burning coal. The sulfur dioxide can dissolve in clouds, turning the water acidic. This then causes the pH of the rainwater to decrease. The state (solid or liquid) in which the precipitation falls depends on atmospheric conditions such as temperature and pressure.

In this activity, students will identify and describe different types of precipitation. They should focus on the main four, but may also describe acid rain and diamond dust, which is another form of precipitation which occurs sometimes in locations that are very cold. Diamond dust is composed of very small ice crystals that reflect light as they fall through the air, appearing like specks of diamond.

Types of Precipitation

  • Hail
  • Sleet and Freezing Rain
  • Snow
  • Rain

To further your students’ understanding about how water moves on our planet, check out our resources on the Water Cycle.


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Template and Class Instructions

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Student Instructions

Create a spider map that shows examples of the different types of precipitation.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Identify four different types of precipitation and write them as the titles of the cells
  3. Create a visualization or find an image on Photos for Class to illustrate your idea.
  4. Write a description under each cell.
  5. Save and submit the assignment.
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