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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 20, issue 5 | Copyright

Special issue: Effective Science Communication and Education in Hydrology...

Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 1751-1763, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-20-1751-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Education and communication 09 May 2016

Education and communication | 09 May 2016

Making rainfall features fun: scientific activities for teaching children aged 5–12 years

Auguste Gires1, Catherine L. Muller2,4, Marie-Agathe le Gueut3, and Daniel Schertzer1 Auguste Gires et al.
  • 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.

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Educational activities are now a common channel to increase impact of research projects. Here, we present innovative activities for young children that aim to help them (and their teachers) grasp some of the complex underlying scientific issues in environmental fields. The activities developed are focused on rainfall: observation and modeling of rain drop size and the succession of dry and rainy days, and writing of a scientific book. All activities were implemented in classrooms.
Educational activities are now a common channel to increase impact of research projects. Here,...
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