​The Rain Stick (Grade 4)

Grade: Four

Topic: Understanding Matter and Energy: Light and Sound

Introduction/Context: This is an open-ended project where students use technological problem-solving skills to design, build, and test a creative form of artistic design - a rain stick that makes use of the properties of sound. The activity begins with an investigation of the origins of the traditional rain stick, the natural plant materials from which they were made and the cultures that surround it. After an audio introduction of a variety of sounds, students explore the variety of materials used in rain sticks and create experiments to demonstrate the basic properties of sound; (sound travels, sound can be absorbed or reflected, that sound can be modified [pitch, volume], that there is a relationship between vibrations)

OCTE Conference 2010

Tools and Materials:

  • Cardboard Tubes in a variety of sizes; paper towel rolls, gift wrapping, mailing or carpet tubes.
  • Plastic Rolls in a variety of sizes
  • Cardstock
  • Dowel
  • Fastening materials; tape (electric, or masking), hot glue or white glue
  • Nails/Tacks/Toothpicks
  • Objects to put inside the rain stick (rice, corn kernels, sunflower seeds beads, beans etc.)
  • Hammer
  • Scissors
  • Acrylic paint or poster paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Decorations to glue on the rain stick (fabric, feathers, leaves, jute, twine, shells, yarn, sand etc.)