Grandma Bird / After Reading / /

Measuring Rainfall

Making and using a rain gauge

Lesson length: 1 session

Lesson from Grandma Bird series

Text potential

  • Wider learning opportunities: Science: weather and seasons


  • Science


Grandma Bird lives on an island surrounded by sea.  Areas near the ocean tend to receive more rain on average than inland areas because the wind picks up moisture over the water and dries out the further inland it travels. Measuring rainfall is essential for farmers, as it helps them to make predictions that help with the cultivation of crops. It also helps us predict areas that will be prone to drought. This lesson provides an introduction to measuring rainfall.


  • View the Met Office  instructions for making a rain gauge (see link below)
  • Prepare the materials to make the rain gauge


Make a rain gauge

Explain to the children that they are going to work in small groups to create their rain gauges to measure rainfall. Some prompts to support their designs are:

  • What would be a good material to choose? (e.g., waterproof, durable, will stand up without being blown over)
  • How big will it need to be?
  • How will you know how much rain has fallen?

Alternatively, you may want to make a rain gauge following the Met Office instructions in the video link provided below.

Measure and record the rainfall over a period of time.


Final reflection

Review your rain measuring records.

Consider why it might be useful to measure rainfall?

some of the reasons scientists measure rainfall are to anticipate which areas could be affected by drought or to prevent environmental disasters

Key vocabulary


Additional vocabulary

precipitation, rain gauge


Met Office Instructions for making a rain gauge

Sarah Grintzevitch explains how to make your own rain gauge using objects from around the house.

Visit resource

How the Met Office measures rain

Background information for teachers rather than for direct use in the KS1 classroom.

Visit resource


Nikki Gamble

Nikki Gamble
Director, Just Imagine
Nikki has worked extensively in schools across the UK and internationally. She is the author of Exploring Children’s Literature (4th edit) (2019) and co-author of Guiding Readers (2016) which was awarded the UKLA Academic Book of the Year Award 2017. Nikki is KS2 reading advisor and series consultant for Oxford University Press and content creator for the Oxford School Improvement and Oxford Owl websites. Nikki is Associate Consultant at the University of London, Institute of Education and Honorary Fellow at the University of Winchester

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Sam Keeley

Formerly a teacher and local authority advisory teacher, Sam now works with Just Imagine as an English consultant and manager of the year 6 Reading Gladiators programme.

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