K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • Gain an understanding of the different types of precipitation through an online precipitation scavenger hunt.
  • Construct a rain gauge.
  • Gather and graph measurements of rainfall.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

3 weeks


Technology resources

  • computer(s)
  • internet access
  • software for creating spreadsheets and graphs


The teacher will initiate a class discussion on the different types of precipitation and their causes. Students will discuss what they know about precipitation, and what they want to learn. The teacher can read one of the books about precipitation or show the video.


Activity 1

(should be completed at the beginning of the unit)
Students will construct a rain gauge following the instructions on the handout.

Activity 2

(should be started at the beginning of the unit and tracked throughout the duration of the unit)

  1. Students will take the rain gauges and home and record the amount of rainfall each day for two weeks. This should be part of their daily homework. The differing amounts could be briefly compared daily.
  2. Students will complete the online precipitation scavenger hunt. Students may print out their completed hunt as a measure of assessment.
  3. At the end of the two week measuring period, students will use the data they collected to create a spreadsheet on the computer. After completing the spreadsheet, the students will then convert the spreadsheet into a graph.


The teacher will use the rubric to assess the students based on the completion of the data collection activity, the spreadsheet/graph, and the completed scavenger hunt.

Supplemental information


The teacher should have a previous knowledge of creating spreadsheets and graphs on the computer.


The spreadsheet activity could be completed in a multi-computer lab or the data could be compiled/totaled to create a single spreadsheet/graph on a single computer.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • Mathematics (2010)
      • Grade 2

        • Measurement & Data
          • 2.MD.9 Generate measurement data by measuring lengths of several objects to the nearest whole unit, or by making repeated measurements of the same object. Show the measurements by making a line plot, where the horizontal scale is marked off in whole-number...

    • North Carolina Essential Standards
      • Science (2010)
        • 2.E.1 Understand patterns of weather and factors that affect weather. 2.E.1.1 Summarize how energy from the sun serves as a source of light that warms the land, air and water. 2.E.1.2 Summarize weather conditions using qualitative and quantitative measures...
      • Grade 5

        • 5.E.1 Understand weather patterns and phenomena, making connections to the weather in a particular place and time. 5.E.1.1 Compare daily and seasonal changes in weather conditions (including wind speed and direction, precipitation, and temperature) and patterns....

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Science (2005)

Grade 2

  • Goal 2: The learner will conduct investigations and use appropriate tools to build an understanding of the changes in weather.
    • Objective 2.03: Describe weather using quantitative measures of:
      • Temperature.
      • Wind direction.
      • Wind speed.
      • Precipitation.
    • Objective 2.04: Identify and use common tools to measure weather:
      • Wind vane and anemometer.
      • Thermometer.
      • Rain gauge.

Grade 5

  • Goal 3: The learner will conduct investigations and use appropriate technology to build an understanding of weather and climate.
    • Objective 3.01: Investigate the water cycle including the processes of:
      • Evaporation.
      • Condensation.
      • Precipitation.
      • Run-off.