Friday, July 17, 2009

Homemade Rain Gauge

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This week we've been doing a few weather related things while we enjoy a unit study based on Nim's Island. The boys have been eager to make a weather station for a while and this seemed like a great opportunity. Mind you, this is only phase one of their weather station, but we've had such a huge amount of rain I thought I'd go ahead and get this one set up. Of course, it hasn't rained a wink since. Supposedly it's coming on Saturday, and I suspect I'll have two little boys running out the door in gumboots and umbrellas to check the stats. They've all ready checked them each morning when they wake up and were rather disappointed to "not see even a single drop!" These were very easy to make and all you need is a couple of rubber bands, a stake (we used a bamboo pole from our tomatoes), and a 2 liter bottle (ours were 1.5 liters). You'll also need a sharp pair of scissors or a craft knife, a marker (water proof), and a couple of very excited helpers who can't wait to go outside and use the bamboo stakes as kung-fu fighting sticks.

Take your 2 liter bottle and cut the top off about 1/3 of the way down. Ours had those nifty little ribs and we cut off two ribs:


Decide which form of measurement you'll be measuring your rain water in and mark it upon your bottle. We went for milliliters and marked them out. Then we noted the 5 & 10 marks on the bottle. Next place the top of the bottle upside down inside the bottom of the bottle:

Exactness won't matter, or so the science wizard told me.. I figure I'll give him the benefit of the doubt since he was nearly a meteorologist once upon a time. Plus, if his fancy pants weather machine can take "imperfection" so can our recycled one! Next take your two rubberbands and slip one around the top part of the bottle, and one around the bottom part of the bottle:

Then allow your overly excited helper to freak out all the neighbors, and yourself, and pound the former kung-fu fighting stick.. I mean the bamboo stake into the ground:


After it's firmly in the ground slip the rubber bands over the pole as well so that they can hold the bottle on. We made two of these, and opted to put them in different places in the yard to see if each area got as much rain:

The boys will most likely record their finding in their nature journals.. Needless to say the boys are eagerly anticipating rain for a change. I'm pretty sure some of you will get regular updates on exactly how much they collect!

3 comments:

SC said...

This is great, we'll have to do this once we are blessed with the start of our nine months of rain:)

Wendy Orr said...

This is a great project, and I love how clearly you've described it. I'm in the middle of preparing a Nim's Island e-Activity book, with all funds going to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. I'd like to add the link to this post, but would also love it if I could include one of the pictures above the link. Would you be happy for me to do this? You can read more about the project on my blog, and I'd be happy to send you a copy of the ebook when it's complete.
best
Wendy

Sophia Pitter said...

Thanks so much for the details on how to make a rain gauge and also for the image. We are in Kingston,Jamaica and my 9 year old son has an assignment to make one, so thanks again.