Making rainfall features fun: scientific activities for teaching children aged 5–12 years
- 1HMCo, École des Ponts, UPE, Champs-sur-Marne, France
- 2Royal Meteorological Society, Oxford Road, Reading, RG1 7LL, UK
- 3Editions le Pommier, Paris, France
- 4School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK
Abstract. Research projects now rely on an array of different channels to increase impact, including high-level scientific output, tools, and equipment, but also communication, outreach, and educational activities. This paper focuses on education for children aged 5–12 years and presents activities that aim to help them (and their teachers) grasp some of the complex underlying issues in environmental science. More generally, it helps children to become familiarized with science and scientists, with the aim to enhance scientific culture and promote careers in this field. The activities developed are focused on rainfall: (a) designing and using a disdrometer to observe the variety of drop sizes; (b) careful recording of successive dry and rainy days and reproducing patterns using a simple model based on fractal random multiplicative cascades; and (c) collaboratively writing a children's book about rainfall. These activities are discussed in the context of current state-of-the-art pedagogical practices and goals set by project funders, especially in a European Union framework.