Rooftop Rain Harvesting

Name of Activity

Rooftop Rain Harvesting


Eleanor Richard and Eva Philip


Rain, Drought, Roof, Civil, Environmental, Engineering Design Process


Building/EDP, Earth Science

Grade Level

4, 5, 6, 7


2-3 Hours

Brief Description

Students will learn link environmental and civil engineering to design houses that use own rooftop rain harvesting to collect rain water.

This activity is designed to be tested multiple times and let students work there way through the Engineering Design Process many times, in order to allow them to gain understanding and mastery of a complicated challenge.

Learning Goals:

– Understand how humans effect the natural water cycle, what harm that can cause, and generating ways to mitigate it

– Combine multiple ideas into one project

– Understand how to build a sturdy structure

– How to design and perform the best test for a specific design

– How to gather useful data from a test

– How to use data from a test to improve a design

– Understand how a prototype connects to real-world application


Small glass beads to use as water for tests


– tape (duck, masking, scotch) – string

– straws (paper or plastic)

– tooth picks

– Popsicle sticks – glue

– spaghetti

– pipe clears

– cardboard

– paperclips

– paper

– foam core (poster board) – wooden dowels

– plastic utensils – coffee filters

– yarn

– q-tips

– paper cups

– plastic cups

– styrofoam cups – felt fabric

– cotton balls

– scissors


Prepare Video

Knowledge Background

Information on rooftop rain harvest:

Engineering Design Process:



Watch a youtube video about water conservation and lead a conversation about how replenishing ground water supplies.

  • This conversation should allow students to imagine themselves as agents of change, and empower them to make their own prototype of how to best collect water from the roof of a house.

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