Make a Rain Gauge to Measure Rainfall

Rain clouds are made of droplets of water so small there are billions of them in a single cloud. How much rain falls during a shower, or during a day, week, or month? You can find out by measuring it with a rain gauge.

List of Materials:

  • a straight-sided glass container, such as a bottle for olives
  • scissors
  • tape
  • rainy day
  • rain graph
  • paper
  • ruler


  • Using the ruler and paper, make markings on the paper so that it becomes a ruler.
    • You can make it in whatever increments you wish. Divide it up by inch, and then
      in quarters, and even smaller if you want to. The National Weather Service measures rainfall in 0.01 inch amounts.
  • Once you have the ruler made, cut it out.
  • Cover the ruler with clear cellophane, front and back.
    • This will protect it from the rain, and make it sturdy so that the ruler can stand straight.
  • Next, stand the ruler inside the glass container so that the ruler rests on the bottom of the container. Tape it at the top, to the inside of the jar, so that the ruler does not fall.
  • Now, place your rain gauge outside, and measure the amount of rainfall that occurs each day.
    • Place the rain gauge in a place away from trees and buildings, as this may effect the amounts.
    • Also, you may wish to glue the jar to a block or platform of wood, so that it does not tip over if it is windy.

A few things to consider:

  • If an inch of rain falls, how much total rain falls over a football field?
  • If your rain gauge has a funnel shape, the funnel needs to be 10x's bigger than the cylinder underneath it to get an accurate measurement. If that is the case, what scale do you need to have on your ruler?


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