Measuring Rain With a Rain Catcher

Suggested Grades



Students will make a rain catcher and examine and graph rain levels within one month to calculate the average precipitation at their home.


  • marbles or rocks for bottom of rain catcher
  • ruler
  • plastic bottle
  • scissors
  • extra fine point marker
  • tape
  • water
  • graphing paper


  • Have students cut the top off the bottle so that the width is the same as the base.
  • Tape a ruler on the side of the bottle and using an extra point permanent marker, mark off each centimetre (millimetre if your class can handle it).
  • Put some marbles or rocks at the bottom of the bottle (this will prevent the rain catcher from tipping or blowing away). Turn the top upside down and tape it inside the bottle.
  • Pour some water into the bottle to the first marking, so that everyone starts at the same level.
  • Tell children to place their rain catcher in a not so busy area in their yard at home. Ask them to check their rain catcher every morning. When there is some water in it, record the level and bring it to school. (dump the water out so a new recording can be made the next morning). At school, have the children record their rain level with the day’s date on their own graph.
  • After a month of recording, add up all of the rain levels and figure out the average precipitation.
  • Extension: Compare the average precipitations with those around the world (use the internet or look in climate atlases).