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Lesson #3 Rainscaping (K-2nd)
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Rainscaping (K-2nd) | Series 2, Lesson #3 | Earth Genius

Rainscaping (Low Impact Development (LID) Design Challenge) 

Key Topics/Vocabulary: Human Impact, Stormwater, Runoff, Erosion, Rain (Tank/Capture), Drought, Native Habitat, Rain Garden - Slow it, Spread it, Sink it

Grade Level: K-2nd

Click here for #2 Series Description

Spanish Lesson Plan 

Science Framework

Lesson Bridge:

Connect this lesson (3) to Invasive and Native Plants (2) by discussing how by encouraging native plant growth, we can reduce water usage and have less wasted water. Close the loop by helping students to make the discovery that native plant establishment on campus and at home can help to remediate drought effects (1).

Lesson Overview:

In this lesson, students learn about stormwater runoff, identify challenge areas on the school site, and design solutions!

Suggested Activities and Learning Objectives by Grade Level:

Essential Question(s) that Connect CCCs and SEPs:


Human Impact - Activities that humans do that cause harm to nature.

Stormwater- Water that rains down from the clouds and falls onto streets and sidewalks

Runoff- When there is too much rainwater and the ground floods the water that flows off the land is called runoff

Erosion- When rock or soil is moved or worn down by means of wind, water, or ice.

Rain Tank/Capture - A container to capture rainwater that runs off of roofs

Drought- Dry weather with no rain for a long time

Native Habitat- A place in the world that has a specific environment and where specific animals and plants live

Rain Garden- Gardens planted to encourage rainwater to stay in the ground and not become runoff

Slow it, Spread it, Sink it- A tool we use to remember how to better capture rainwater! Slow it down to let it spread out so it can sink into the ground.



Activity Procedure:


Who knows what the word landscaping means? (Changing the land in an area by planting flowers, and designing paths to make these areas more usable and beautiful!) Can any of you point to areas on the campus that have landscaping?


Today we are going to be talking about Rainscaping. It’s a type of landscaping that helps us save rainwater, prepare for drought, and reduce pollution! Let’s take a moment to see how water flows over the land. Pour a bucket of water on a slope and let students observe. You can also walk around to different places in the garden and pour buckets/cups of water on the ground and observe what happens. Some can pour water on pavement others on the dirt. What happens? Does water carry things with it? Does it soak into the ground or flow? Why might we want the water to soak into the ground?


When a large amount of water falls  onto a steep slope, most of that water will not sink into the ground. Instead it will flow down it!  Also, if water lands on a hard surface like the sidewalk, the water will flow off of it or it makes a puddle. Who here has ever jumped in a puddle on the sidewalk before?

We want to slow, spread, and sink water so that it goes back into the soil instead of getting polluted on streets and sidewalks. Let’s say that altogether (Slow it, Spread it, Sink it). Little kids will enjoy adding some movements with each phrase. Slow it: Put up your palms. Spread it: spread out your hands. Sink it: Wiggle your fingertips down to the ground in a forward fold. Any ideas on how we can do this?

Growing plants is a great way to slow, spread, and sink water! Doing this also helps to stop erosion. Does anyone here know what erosion is? It is when water and wind and gravity move rocks and breaks down the earth. Erosion can damage roads, houses, and even animals! Growing a rain garden can help stop erosion!

Another thing that helps soil sink into the ground is having surfaces that water goes through, gravel and wood chips are a good way to make paths in a rain garden.

Action: Rain Garden Tour

  1. Review your Garden Agreements
  2. Invite students to form a line.
  3. Take a tour throughout the school garden or any spot in the school where there are examples of permeable paths (where the water can still get down into the soil). Point out features that help slow water and prevent erosion like terraces and hillside plantings of established, hardy plants. Also point out areas that could benefit from a rain garden.
  4. Loop around back to your outdoor learning area.


Raise your hand to share one thing you remember from our rain garden tour with the class? What are some ways to help water soak into the ground? Does anyone remember what erosion means? What do we want to do with the water that falls on our garden (Slow it, spread it, sink it!). You can do the chant with the movements again especially if you have a TK or K class.

Extension/Filer Activities:

This lesson was prepared by One Cool Earth under award

NA20NOS4290033 from the Bay Watershed Education and Training Program

of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S.

Department of Commerce. The statements, findings, conclusions, and

recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect

the views of NOAA or the U.S. Department of Commerce.

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