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Rain Gardens and Rain Gauges: Students get hands on with data while evaluating green infrastructure at their school

The Science Teacher—May/June 2024 (Volume 91, Issue 3)

By Lauren Brase, Robert Ford, Amy Parker, Heather Mayfield, Adam Lehmann, and Sarah Meadows

Two modules were designed for high school science students to investigate the performance of a rain garden installed on school property. The rain garden, a green infrastructure system which allows soil infiltration, was installed to reduce impacts to urban streams and can increase the community’s resilience to flooding. Scientists actively conducting research at the rain garden involved students in assessing the rain garden's performance, where students learned new technical skills, gained varied experiences in collecting and analyzing data, were exposed to new STEM careers, and learned about local issues that impact their community. In the first module, students conducted a land survey and calculated the volumetric capacity of the rain garden. In the second module, students collected rainfall data using rain gauges and analyzed various aspects of rainfall collection. Although these modules were focused on a rain garden already installed on school property and were done in conjunction with ongoing scientific research, they can be implemented at schools without this mitigation strategy present and without official research being conducted. The surveying module can easily be applied to measure any land surface feature, and the rain gauge module can be implemented anywhere as it is focused on rainfall collection.

Climate Science Earth & Space Science Environmental Science Inquiry

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