||Building a Rain Gauge
Rain gauges measure rainfall over short or long periods of time.
Short-term gauges are checked after each rainfall. They can simply be
open jars left outside to collect rain and measured each day. A more
complex rain gauge has oil in it to keep rain water from evaporating
over long periods of time.
- Sharp scissors
- fine mesh screen
- nail file
- 2 two-liter bottles (tops removed)
- permanent marker
- duct tape
- vegetable oil
- bleach (optional)
Read allPrecautionsbefore beginning this activity.
It is important that you not come in contact with the water as it may
- Carefully cut a two-liter bottle in half to make a funnel. File
any sharp edges.
- Place the cut bottle on the uncut bottle so that spouts are
touching and in line.
- Tightly tape the bottle spouts together. Place the screen over
the funnel opening and press it slightly inward. Tape it in place.
- Mark the rain gauge up the side in 1/4-inch (or 1/2-cm)
graduations with the permanent marker. For more accurate readings,
tape a ruler to the side of the bottle.
- Pour in enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of the rain gauge
in a thin layer. Put the screen in place over the gauge.
- Place the rain gauge outside, preferably in a shady, but not
- Decide on a time period to wait before collecting data.
Periodically check the gauge and put a few drops of bleach in it to
retard critter growth.
- Keep a record of rainfall totals for each day and the average
amount of rainfall over the time period you specify.
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