Weather Forecast * Rain

Tuesday Home school fun is a science project : April Rain as we celebrate Earth Day this week:

How much rain is really falling when you watch a heavy shower through the window of your home? How about on other days when it’s just a light shower?

Find out by making your own rain gauge, recording the results and studying your findings.

Homemade Rain Gage: Earth Science Project to make with your ki

  • Straight-sided glass or plastic container, with a diameter of about two inches or less (such as an olive jar or mason jar)
  • Coat hanger or wire bent to make a holding rack
  • Measuring spoons: 1 teaspoon and 1/4 teaspoon
  • Hammer and nails to secure the rack
  • Felt tip marker for marking.

Procedure

  1. Rain gauges measure the amount of rainfall in cubic inches. So your first task is to make a scale for your container that shows how many cubic inches of water are in the container. One cubic inch of water is about 3 1/4 teaspoons, so you can draw the scale on your container by pouring 3 1/4 teaspoons of water into your container, then drawing a short line at the level of the water. If you look closely, the top of the water will seem to be slightly curved and thickened. Draw your line so that it matches the bottom of the curved surface (which is called a meniscus). This line corresponds to a rainfall of one inch.
  2. Add another 3 1/4 teaspoons of water to the container and draw another line. The second line corresponds to a rainfall of two inches.
  3. Repeat Step 2 until you have at least five marks on the container. This will be enough for most rain events, but you may want to add another line or two – just in case!
  4. Find a location for your rain gauge where there is nothing overhead (such as trees or a building roof) that could direct water into or away from your gauge. The edge of a fence away from buildings is often a good spot. Another possibility is to attach your rain gauge to a broomstick driven into the ground in an open area. Be sure to record rainfall soon after a rain event to avoid false readings caused by evaporation.
  5. Get outside and empty your gauge after each reading, and you are ready for the next rain event!
Mason Jar on Mom fence

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