I had made the larger one in the last picture at a science professional development program at Roper Mountain Science Center in Greenville, SC. One of the teachers in the class said that she made them on a smaller scale with empty soda/water bottles so I thought I would give it a shot.
- Have students bring in the bottles. Collect until you have enough. Kids love doing contributing to a project and mine always asked if we had enough yet.
- I took all of the bottles home in a large trash bag and precut all the tops while watching tv (and made the drainage holes). I kept the top and base together by using small cut pieces of packaging tape so that students had a matching top and bottom (they would just take off the tape when we started the project).
- I modeled what I did at home in front of the students in case they wanted to make one on their own at home.
- Make extras of EVERYTHING (bottles and cut pieces of duct tape).
- Pour aquarium gravel into a shoe box and have students use a dixie cup to scoop out (aquarium gravel can usually be found in one of the life science kits).
- I like the red duct tape but at Micheals you can buy all different colors.
- Start the zero point on the ruler just above the gravel. The intent is for students to fill the bottle up with water to the zero line. They would then put it outside and after a rain record how much rain fell (they they would tip over the rain gauge and drain out all the water and then refill water up to the zero line again)
- It helps to have another adult (parent volunteer or adminstrator) help with this project.