Welcome to "Catch the Rain," a collection of interactive, hands-on, rainwater harvesting activities for youth
The activity plans found on this site are designed to engage youth in understanding purposes, uses, applications, and designs of rainwater harvesting systems. Together the activities promote a culture of conservation through the development of rainwater harvesting demonstration and use projects, encouragement of community awareness and action, and optimally the reduction of groundwater and surface water use.
Enjoy exploring the activities. While each stands on its own, the categories provide the option to focus on particular aspects of rainwater harvesting.
Most activities use readily available materials and take an hour or less to complete. They have been created with youth in 5th through 8th grade as the focus age range but many activities can be adapted to those who are younger or older. The activities encourage an inquiry-based teaching style in which youth actively 1) participate in learning activities, 2) share their experiences, 3) discuss processes, 4) generalize concepts, and 5) apply what they learn to real-life situations and projects. The activities support learning objectives in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
Collecting rainwater has been practiced throughout the world for thousands of years. There is a renewed and growing interest in rainwater harvesting in the United States as parts of the country experience periods of drought and municipalities work to manage stormwater. Where legally allowable, rainwater harvesting offers people opportunities to conserve other water resources by using rainwater to water landscapes and gardens, flush toilets, and, with purification, for drinking, cooking, and washing.
Focus on Experiential Learning
The activities in this guide have been developed to actively engage youth in learning by doing. The experiential learning model empowers young people by letting them figure out concepts and processes for themselves.
The format for the activities includes specific action steps that are described in sequence to provide support for leaders and teachers in guiding youth; however, the goal for teachers and leaders is to facilitate the activities so that participants take responsibility for their own learning and to encourage curiosity, exploration, questioning, discussion, and reflection.
Understanding the five stages of the experiential learning model can help leaders and teachers ask youth questions throughout the activities that encourage critical thinking, problem-solving, and reflection.