As you know, JaNee is a curious puppet, always full of questions. What’s interesting about her queries is that they often resonate with the very questions children have. In fact, she’s picked up some of these questions directly from kids. They linger in her mind because she’s eager to know the answers, too.
One such question she had was, “How can I tell how much rain has fallen?” She posed this after spotting an empty paint bucket outside, filled with rainwater. Was that the result of a single day’s rain, or did it accumulate over several days?
It’s a pretty insightful question, isn’t it? It made me ponder because I don’t own a rain gauge, so how could I give her a clearer picture?
That’s when the paint bucket came to the rescue. If I were to mark levels on it, JaNee could gauge how much rain had fallen. While it might not be accurate to the last millimeter, and I’m unsure how it would compare to official measurements from the KNMI (Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute), the essence is what counts here. Not everything has to be precise. This solution was straightforward, easily implementable, and JaNee was on board with it. So, I went ahead with the plan.
Here’s what came out of it:
This became our rain gauge, and JaNee actively engaged with it for weeks. After she could ‘read’ the rainfall, she wanted to record it in some way. So, we devised a grid where she could color in squares each day. This way, she could track the amount of rain that had fallen throughout the week or even the entire month.
Such an exploration usually lasts as long as JaNee finds it enjoyable and feels like keeping up with it. Her interest in a topic can fade as quickly as it emerged, and that’s perfectly okay. She has learned from it and now understands that it doesn’t rain every day and that the amount of rainfall can vary. She’s found a way to document this, and in doing so, she continually learns. She shares her enthusiasm with the children in her class, and they express interest in doing the same. So, we then set up a rain gauge in the classroom and track the rainfall there as well.
That is, until something else piques their interest and the focus on rain recedes into the background.
Would you like to do this with your class? Let me know, I’m happy to share our rain chart with you.