ITEEA The Elementary STEM Journal, Vol. 23, Issue 4
PublisherInternational Technology and Engineering Educators Association, Reston
ReleasedMay 1, 2019
The Elementary STEM Journal, Volume 23, Issue 4 - May, 2019

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Activity – STEM Children's Rhymes: STEM It's Raining, It's Pouring

STEM Children's Rhymes

STEM It’s Raining, It’s Pouringraining5-150.png

Emily Yoshikawa Ruesch and Scott R. Bartholomew


It’s raining, it’s pouring, 
The old man is snoring. 
He went to bed and bumped his head, 
And he couldn’t get up in the morning.


This activity allows students to use a familiar
children’s rhyme to learn and incorporate principles of integrated STEM. Students practice recognizing words, identifying a problem (we want to be able to help the Old Man avoid bumping his head).

This activity is designed to take approximately 90 minutes. The progression includes: reviewing the rhyme, completing a cut-out and fill-in activity, and producing a STEM portfolio. Once the students have worked through the portfolio, they will work to build a prototype of their solution. While prototyping, the students will use “tails” in the classroom to test and improve their designs.


  • "Bed” (could be just an improvised headboard or a taped out area in the classroom)
  • Handouts (Cut-out/Fill-in activity, STEM design portfolio packet) Note: The It's Raining, It's Pouring Portfolio can be accessed at,
    and the It's Raining, It's Pouring Fill-In can be accessed at
  • Building materials (e.g., construction/tissue/printer paper, cardboard, pipe cleaners, straws, toothpicks, Styrofoam, tinfoil, etc.)

suggestions for adapting to older grades

  • Use a scaled room set and have the students design solutions to scale.
  • Have students provide a write-up with reasons and rationale for product.


“It’s Raining, It’s Pouring” does not have specified origins.

It is suggested that the song originated in England because of its infamous rainy weather. This rhyme is often sung by children on rainy days when they cannot go out to play.

The first copyright of the rhyme was by Freda Selicoff from Indiana in 1944. There are segments of the rhyme found in newspapers from 1909, but there are no references to the rhyme between 1909 and 1939.

The tune had appeared previous to this by composer Charles Ives but is thought to have existed beforehand.


It's Raining, It's Pouring lesson plan

Level: Kindergarten

Duration: 1.5 hours

lesson objectives

K.CCSSI_ELA.RR.1. With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

K.CCSSI_ELA.RR.2. With prompting and support, identify the main topic and retell key details of a text.

K.CCSSI_ELA.RR.3. With prompting and support, describe the connection between two individuals, events, ideas, or pieces of information in a text.

K.CCSSI_ELA.CC.2. Confirm understanding of a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media by asking and answering questions about key details and requesting clarification if something is not understood.

phase oneRainingPouringFill-in.jpg

Gather the class together and go over “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring” together. Use the cutout sheets to allow the students to fill in the blanks.

Once you have said the children’s rhyme together, hand out the planning sheets and go over the key details of the rhyme.

  • What happened to the man when he went to bed?
  • Do you think this could have been prevented? What does "prevented" mean?
  • What might the old man have bumped his head on?

identify the problem

Explain to the students that we don’t want the old man to bump his head, so we need to create some device or a way to stop this from happening to him.


The students will participate in a design challenge where they have to design a way to stop the old man from bumping his head when he goes to bed. There will be teacher sign-offs so that students work through the design process.

On the worksheet, have the students list three things that they could make to stop the old man from bumping his head. When they are done with this, have them get a teacher sign-off.

Once the teacher has reviewed the three ideas, have the students look at materials. Once they know what materials are on the table, have them list three things that they could build with the supplies that are available to stop the old man from bumping his head.

Have the students pick their favorite idea and do a more detailed drawing of it. Once the drawing is complete, have the students find the teacher to explain their product. The teacher can then write down the description of their product.


build, improve, and share

From their drawn designs, have the students build. Allow the students to come up and test the design on the “bed” brought into class. As they see what works and what needs improvement, encourage the students to go back and improve and make further iterations of their design.

The students can then come together and, as a class, explain their products, share what they chose, and discuss improvements or questions peers may have.

Emily Yoshikawa Ruesch is a Project Lead the Way teacher at the Weber Innovation Center. She currently teaches digital electronics, engineering design, and physics with technology. She can be reached at

Scott R. Bartholomew is an assistant professor of Engineering/Technology Teacher Education at Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN.


Correspondence concerning this manuscript should be addressed to Emily Yoshikawa Ruesch at