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NASA S'COOL Lesson: Comparing Rainfall

Verna Jones, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

This lesson has students measure, track, and compare rainfall amounts at their home, at their school, and local area over a period of time by constructing their own rain gauges. Instructor plots their collected data on a community map, and students graph and compare data between different locations.

This learning activity takes two 30-50 minute class periods with additional time during the week.

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Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Requires that the teacher print out a large map of the school and community, or display on a white board/smart board so that the teacher can add rain fall amounts to the map.
  • This lesson measures rainfall (or could be adapted to other precipitation), so teacher will need to consider the local weather forecast for that period of time.
  • A student data spreadsheet and rubric are included as links in the lesson.

About the Science

  • Students will collect and graph precipitation data, specifically the amount of rainfall at a locality, then compare their findings with other students' data.
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

About the Pedagogy

  • This lesson engages students in structured inquiry through the scientific process of data collection.
  • It provides a place-based community context for their learning.
  • It would work well as a science and math lesson, and opens up the opportunity to have students do more open-ended inquiry to try to understand why they may have seen different amounts of rainfall in different areas.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Links not working: Vocabulary, S'COOL website, Miami Science Museum activity; The developer has indicated to CLEAN they are updating the resource.
  • Student record sheet and rubric is included, however the lesson is missing detailed instructions on how to make a rain gauge, as the link is broken. The general instructions in the lesson should be sufficient to understand how to construct one, however you can also use this activity from NASA that details how students can build their own rain gauge.

Related URLs These related sites were noted by our reviewers but have not been reviewed by CLEAN

  • Teachers and students may be interested in participating in the CoCoRaHS citizen science precipitation monitoring project. Schools can participate or students can ask their parents to participate - all they need is a $30 plastic rain gauge approved by the National Weather Service (who uses the CoCoRaHS data). Some rain gauges for schools may be provided by contacting the CoCoRaHS education coordinator.

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