It’s the “Rain,” Man

Activity Source: 

People find inspiration in many different places and things. Among them is taking joy in sensing the Earth around you. Feel the breeze on your face. Take in the fresh smell of the air after a spring rain. Use your hands to build something. Wherever you live you can get outside, savor your surroundings and observe what makes up the rhythms of the place you live.

Weather is easy to observe, but changes constantly across time and space. It is rarely the same across a large — or even small — area. You may be surprised how different temperature, sunshine or rain can be just a short distance apart. 

In this activity, you will build a rain gauge, collect data about the amount of precipitation, and compare your measurements from home or around your school to those of your classmates.


  • A straight sided glass container
  • Scissors
  • Paper
  • Ruler
  • Clear tape
  • Chart for recording rain measurements (see JetStream link below)
  • Map of the area around your location for plotting the students' reports


1. Create a classroom network of rain stations:Weather forecasting includes many steps including using models, collecting data, and interpreting data. The first step in forecasting for many scientists begins with measuring the current weather around us. One measurement that has been around a long time is the amount of rain a location has received. You will build a rain gauge and when rain occurs, you will collect measurements and compare your data to your classmates’.

Visit JetStream – An Online School for Weather for instructions on how to construct your rain gauge and observe rain in your neighborhood.

2. Citizen science opportunity:Now, if you are inspired to broaden your horizons, you can collect precipitation and weather data and share it with a nationwide network of rain, hail and snow observers! The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) is a community-based network of volunteers of all ages and backgrounds working together to measure and map precipitation (rain, hail and snow) by using low-cost measurement tools.

 CoCoRaHS is a community project.  Everyone can help, young, old, and in-between.  The only requirements are an enthusiasm for watching and reporting weather conditions and a desire to learn more about how weather can affect and impact our lives.

 The data you collect is important! It can contribute to severe storm warnings, water resource analysis, and regional drought monitoring. Visit

NGSS Connections

Crosscutting Concepts- Patterns

Science and Engineering Practices- Planning and carrying out investigations; Analyzing and interpreting data; Obtaining, evaluating and communicating information

Disciplinary Core Ideas- Weather and climate