Skip to main content

RAFT member’s innovative repurposing creates a fun filled take home activity

Here is a creative idea from Arlene Brown, a science teacher at St. Mary's School in Los Gatos:

"Each year I teach my first-graders about weather, and this year I decided to have them build their own rain gauges. I came to RAFT in search of rain gauges, and what I found were giant syringes (with no needles) that turned out to be perfect for this project!  At 17 cents apiece, I was able to have all 36 students create rain gauges for less than 7 dollars.

In class, the students took one look at my sample and knew exactly what to do.  They were very excited about this project! They put a pointed stick in the small end of the syringe to plug the hole and keep the gauge vertical. Now all we needed was rain... thankfully, Mother Nature cooperated by providing a rare rainstorm at just the right time! That night, parents had a great time helping their children set up their rain gauges.  The students could not wait to go out in the morning to see how much water they collected! They eagerly compared their rain readings when they came to school. 

There were many opportunities for learning in this project - the students learned about weather, about measurement, and about how to creatively use everyday objects for a different purposes. The first-graders were curious why rain is measured in "inches" and not by volume.  They learned that we want to know how much rain falls over a large area, and that's why we use inches. If this same project were done with older students, they could determine how many marks on the side of the syringe equal one inch - a practical application of fractions!"

Thanks for sharing your great story, Arlene. You demonstrated what happens so often at RAFT - educators come in with specific needs, and leave with creative, low-cost solutions that make learning fun and memorable.

RAFT invites all teachers to share their stories with us!  Add your comments below:

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Putting the E in STEAM

By Amanda Amburgey M.A, Maker Science Teacher, Bulldog Tech 


What is going on in this classroom? There are kids everywhere excitedly making, testing, remaking, retesting, hot gluing, hammering, there is so much duct tape!  This is what engineering looks like in a middle school science class.   This is excited, meaningful learning.  How did I get to this place where I feel comfortable facilitating such an active engineering process with my classes?  As a science teacher I have had practice with hands on, inquiry based labs, technology and math makes their way into those labs easily.  But, engineering had me stumped.  How was I going to be an effective engineering teacher as required with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) when I knew so little about engineering?  
This is where RAFT and their STEM workshops really saved me and gave me the courage to start engineering projects.  I started with a somewhat common misconception of what engineers do.  I thought engineering was going…

CUSD Shares Possible STEAM Projects by Grade

Twelve STEAM Innovation Leaders from the Campbell Unified School District (CUSD) came to RAFT earlier this month to create new motivational activities for the start of the school year!  They met in grade-level teams with our RAFT Education staff to generate new ideas using RAFT materials that will motivate, challenge, and inspire their students. Each team was given a RAFT Makerspace-in-a-Box containing a wide variety of upcycled materials. They were asked to create a Design Challenge that directed students to solve the instructor’s challenge with the materials from the box. The Design Challenges addressed an engineering standard appropriate for each grade level and could include standards from other subjects. Here are some of their exciting back-to-school ideas:
************************************************************************************* Grades TK – 2 Engineering Standard: K-2-ETS1-1:  Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to chan…

The "RAFTy" Teacher Checklist - 5 Things to do to Prepare for Back to School