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Rainwater Harvesting Activities

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Passive Rainwater Harvesting

These activities engage youth in passive rainwater harvesting, which uses contours in landscapes to capture and store rainwater.

Note: To download a PDF file, please Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac) on its link, then choose Save.


Soak or Splash?Soak or Splash?

Youth experiment with different materials to determine whether they are pervious or impervious.

Water Zig Zag RaceKeep the Rain!

Youth explore passive rainwater harvesting techniques that can be used to capture water in a landscape.

Water Zig Zag RaceWater Zig Zag Race

Youth team up to create race courses where the winning team's water moves the slowest through a designed course.

Rock RipRapRock RipRap

Youth explore ways that rocks can influence the movement of water, learn songs about the water cycle and conservation, and write their own conservation songs, raps, or poems to highlight rainwater harvesting concepts.


Youth create two tools to measure slope and use them in a landscape to determine the direction that water will naturally flow in order to design a passive water harvesting system.

Please note that both the PDF Activity file and the Appendix link below are needed to complete the activity.

Living SpongeLiving Sponge

Youth experiment to determine if a sponge's capacity to hold water is sufficient to grow a plant.

Rain Barrel Cactus

Youth create a model of a cactus that demonstrates its adaptation to low-water environments through its ability to store rainwater for dry periods.

Waffle GardenWaffle Garden

Youth explore the water saving benefits of a traditional farming method used by the Zuni Nation and still practiced today. Youth investigate how a waffle structure holds water and plant their own waffle gardens.

Water HarvestWater Harvest

Youth experiment with different water needs of plants and determine what plants grow best in an arid environment.

Please note that the PDF Activity file and both Article links below are needed to complete the activity.

Plant sponge

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Get it in Print

Purchase a print copy of the Catch the Rain Curriculum Guide for $15.00 plus $5.00 shipping. Please search the term rainwater after clicking the image below.

Note: The images and photos in the print version will be in black and white.

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