Rainfall Gauge

A. Wills
Multiple Subject Teacher

This lesson will allow students to learn about the rain amounts in their area as well as offer a hands-on science experiment that could lead to discussions about the water cycle.

Grade Level: 3 - 5th

Subject: Environmental

Length of Time: 20 - 30 Minutes

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Objectives & Outcomes

The learners will create a rain gauge used to catch rain in the area for a given amount of time. The students can use this information for a range of activities such as average rainfall over time, graphing skills, or discussions about water conservation or the rain cycle.

Materials Needed

  • Handful of gravel for each child
  • Scissors
  • Two liter bottle per child
  • Masking tape
  • Ruler
  • Permanent marker


Opening to Lesson

  • Begin by asking students how someone could figure out how much rain the area gets in a year.
  • Allow students to come up with several options.


Body of Lesson

  • Explain to students that one way to gauge how much rain an area gets is to catch the rain and keep track of the daily changes.
  • The changes can easily be graphed and an average can be found. Work with students or small groups to create a rain gauge (directions to follow).
  • Have gauges set in a safe place where rain can be collected for a set amount of time. Have students record water level changes daily.
  • Cut the two liter bottle just under the wide part where the bottle begins to narrow.
  • Place a handful of small gravel in the bottom of the bottle. This is simply to keep it from falling over while outside.
  • Turn the part that was cut off upside down and place it in the larger part of the bottle. This will act as a funnel. Line up and then tape the cut sections together.
  • Put a long vertical piece of tape down the bottle to use as a measuring tool. Use a marker to draw a line on the bottom of the tape, just above the top of the pebbles. This will be 0. Use a ruler to measure and mark every quarter inch up the tape (or cm. if desired.)
  • Pour water into your gauge until it reaches the zero on your line. Set the gauges outside to collect rain for an established amount of time. Make sure the bottles are on a level surface.
  • Make sure to check the water levels daily. If it has not rained, make sure water has not evaporated and the level is still at zero.


  • Have students chart or graph the daily changes in the rain levels.
  • This can then be used to determine averages or as an opening to the water cycle.
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Assessment & Evaluation

Students will follow directions to create a rain gauge out of a soda bottle. Students will collect rain over a given period of time and graph the daily results as well as write predictions about overall amounts. Evaluation will be based on participation, logical predictions, and proper graphing.

Modification & Differentiation

Allow students extra time or to work in a group as needed.

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