An incredible and essential function of the Earth is something many of us take for granted everyday: rain. Rain gives plants life, provides electricity to humans (hydropower) and gives us fresh water to drink. Although rain and “bad” weather can be disappointing at times, rain is an important and crucial component to life!
A way for you to further study rainfall in your own area or garden is to create your own rain gauge. Rain gauges are used to measure the amount of rainfall over a specific period of time, allowing you to understand how much rain your yard, garden, farm or town is receiving. Rain gauges are especially interesting for young children, as they can discover how much rain a storm or shower actually generates. Below are instructions to create your own rain gauge out of items you probably have around your home! One fun activity to do with children and a rain gauge is to ask them to guess how much water came from the storm. Then, have them go out and check their rain gauge. Another activity is to ask how much rain your gauge will collect during a short, heavy storm and during a long, light rainfall. Use your rain gauge to measure your results. Other thought-provoking questions to ask children are:
-What do you think happens to the rain after it hits the ground?
-How much rain do you think we get in a week? A month? A summer? A year?
-Why is rain important for the planet? Why is rain important for you and me?
-What changes do you notice outside after it rains?
-What do you like to do in the rain? (If they answer “stay inside and watch movies” suggest building a mud castle, splashing in puddles, or dancing and singing in the rain!)
To make a rain gauge yourself, all you need is an empty, plastic soda bottle, scissors, tape, labels (follow the link at the end of the post for more information).
- First, cut the top off of your soda bottle (the top, funnel-like part)
- Flip the top over and tape it upside down to the opening (this is a funnel for your rain!)
- Print the scale labels (see link below) and tape it to the side of your gauge.
- Fill the gauge with water up to the 0” mark, which will keep the gauge from tipping over.
- Collect your rain and discuss your results!
For more detailed instructions and images, follow the link: