…make rain gauges! Or go puddle jumping, ripple counting, and grass smelling.
∞ Peek inside for a separate clip on how to make the rain gauge you see in this video ∞
Last week, our town turned into a bottomless bucket and rain was in the forecast for eight straight days with no end in sight!
We have two “all-weather” children. They are outside no matter what: the temps, the weather, how hot, how cold. The rules are to be safe and have fun (i.e.: sunscreen, boots, snow gear, weather-related rules).
After a day of rain, they noticed that the creek had more water and started an interesting conversation around how much rain we got over that period of time. Their estimations and metric units ranged from ten gallons to ten feet (well, we get a lot of snow where we are and they often hear us talking about one or two feet of snow…).
We looked at several weather reporting charts and saw words like “precipitation,” “inches,” “accumulated.” The boys decided that they would make their own weather station – one rain gauge at a time! They used the funnel-mouth type and a simple bottle to find out which one would be more accurate. A visit to our local science museum and a few books helped us clear some misconceptions.
After five days of rain, they realized that the funnel-mouth gauge gave us results that were close to the “official” numbers from the weather report centers that we usually use in the morning dress for the weather. The reports told us that we had an accumulation of 3.23″ and our gauge said it was a little over 2 3/4″. Close enough!
The sense of accomplishment was indescribable and they saved the gauge for future rainy weather. We are keeping a chart to see how much rain we will get between May 2011 and August 2011 this summer. This will enable them to follow patterns, and learn to use another way of reading information. Stay tuned!
Set-Up for Episode #22:
- Recycled plastic bottle (preferably transparent)
- Marbles, or rocks to keep the bottle from being blown away
- File for sanding the edge of the bottle – it can produce deep cuts!
- Rainy Day!!
- How to make an easy homemade rain gauge:
When the sun came out we used the rain water to feed a plant. A great way to start developing awareness as well as creative ways to use water without wasting it.
I asked them a question at the end of this first try at using a homemade rain gauge: “I wonder what we will do to measure snow.” Yes, we will measure snowfall this winter as well…
It’s great to use this experience to make predictions and test them after the rain stops. Hopefully, you will see a sign of improvement in the approximation of their estimations. Another way to stretch this would be to have rain gauges in several points around the house. Do they still get the same results? Which places produce more accurate reading? Why?
Of course, there was much conversation about the “water bubbles” and how evaporation really happens, water cycles, etc.
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Thanks for the inspiration – we have been talking a lot about rain, and conserving water at preschool so making our own rain gauge is perfect 🙂
Thank you, Jenny. Not to mention that this is a permanent addition to your classroom and kids learn to enjoy making tools that are functional, too : D