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  • 8/3/2019 Tennessee; Rain Garden Lesson Plans for School Children - Rain Gardens For Nashville

    1/2 Earth Partnership or Schools University o Wisconsin Madison Arboretum Why Build Rain Gardens 1-3

    BackgroundIn urbanized areas, allen rainwater picks up dirt, leaves and pollutants andows directly to lakes and streams as dirty storm water. We have learnedways to keep water clean so our waterways are healthy or fsh, wildlie, and

    people. One way is by building rain gardens at schools, homes, and business-es. A rain garden is placed where runo is coming o roos, driveways, side-walks, parking lots, and other hard (i.e., impervious) suraces. The principleo a rain garden is to keep rainwater close to where it alls. A rain gardensimply models a natural system, and as a result manages storm water to allowor natural unctions and to restore natural hydrology. Such hydraulic cyclesinclude infltration, evaporation, plant uptake o water, transpiration, andgroundwater recharge. This activity provides students with an opportunityto become amiliar with how rain gardens restore the natural water cycle, re-duce pollution to lakes and rivers, and provide a native landscape with ood

    and nectar or wildlie. Conjunction Function uses everyday items to dem-onstrate ecological and environmental unctions o a rain garden.

    Activity Description1. Prepare sets o objects/props representing the unctions and benefts o

    a rain garden. The number o sets and number o props in each set de-pends on group size. For example, a group o 28 students may divide into7 groups o our. Each group will need one set o our objects or props. Atotal o seven sets o props or objects are needed.

    2. Have the props well mixed, and pass out one item to each person.

    3. Allow everyone to fnd others who have the same prop, and orm a smallgroup. I participants do not know one another, ask them to introducethemselves to the other members in their small group.

    4. Ask groups to come up with a description o what unction and beneftthe object symbolizes.

    5. At this point, have representatives rom each group present their item andwhat it symbolizes in regard to unction in the rain garden.

    6. Once a small group has shared their descriptions, ask the entire groupwhy they think the unction is important or the health o their water-shed.

    Activity objects and the unction/beneft they represent:1. Sponge: Absorbs water

    2. Band aid: Protects and heals the land surace and mends short cuts in thewater cycle

    3. Funnel: Recharges the aquier and replenishes ground water

    4. Coee flter: Traps, treats and cleans pollutants rom surace water

    5. Bag o bird seed: Provides ood sources or birds, butteries and other in-sects

    Conjunction Function

    Activity Overview

    A warm-up activity using observation-al, critical thinking and scientifc skills

    to introduce rain gardens and how theyunction to improve the health o awatershed.

    ObjectivesStudents will:

    Use their observational skills

    Learn how rain gardens contrib-ute to a healthy watershed

    Increase their understanding othe hydrologic cycle

    Understand human impact onthe landscape

    Subjects CoveredScience, Language Arts and SocialStudies

    Grades1 through 12

    Activity Time30-45 minutes


    MaterialsSets o props/objects that may includesponges, band aids, unnels, coee fl-ters, small bags o bird seed, beore andater pictures o rain gardens, wateringcans, small ans, Monopoly houses,certifed organic labels on boxes andat bottomed bowls.

    State StandardsScience: A.4.1, A.8.1, A.12.1, A.12.7,B.8.2, B.8.4, B.8.5, B.12.1, B.12.3,F.8.10, G.8.5, G.12.3, G.12.5, H.4.2,H.12.2, H.12.1

    Language Arts: C.4.2, C.4.3, C.8.1,C.8.2, C.8.3, C.12.1, C.12.2, C.12.3,D.4.1, D.8.1, D.8.2, D.12.1, D.12.2,F.4.1, F.8.1, F.12.1

    Social Studies: A.4.4, A.4.7, A.4.9,A.8.6, A.8.11, A.12.4, A.12.9, A.12.12

  • 8/3/2019 Tennessee; Rain Garden Lesson Plans for School Children - Rain Gardens For Nashville


    Earth Partnership or Schools University o Wisconsin Madison Arboretum Why Build Rain Gardens 1-3

    6. Beore and ater pictures o a rain garden: Oers landscape beauty (aesthetics)

    7. Certifed organic label: Improves soil and increases water absorption by adding organic matter tothe soil. (The plants roots slough o organic matter in the soil.)

    8. Small an: Aerates the soil and increases air and water movement (The long and fbrous root mass-es create channels or oxygen and water movement.)

    9. Flat bottomed bowl: Temporarily holds and stores water (Water drains within 6 -12 hours ater arain.)

    ExtensionsBrainstorm other objects that could symbolize unc-tions and benefts o rain gardens.

    Build a model o a rain garden to demonstrate howrain gardens collect, flter and move water into the


    Additional ResourcesKesselheim, A.S., Slattery, B.E. (1995). WOW! Thewonders of wetlands. St Michaels, MD: EnvironmentalConcern Inc.

    Mitsch, William J., and J.G. Gosselink. (1993). Wet-lands. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

    Nadeau, Isaac. (2003). The water cycle: water under-ground. New York: Rosen Publishing Group, Inc.

    Nadeau, Isaac. (2003). The water cycle: Water in lakesand rivers. New York: Rosen Publishing Group, Inc.

    AssessmentsDescribe why objects in the activity werechosen to represent the dierent unctionso a rain garden.

    Provide three reasons why rain gardens areimportant or contributing to a healthywatershed.

    Conjunction Function (cont.)

    Before and after photos of a rain garden planting at Edgewood College,Madison, WI. Photo: Jim Lorman