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Chilean Rainsticks

Listen to rain indoors with these replica rainsticks from Chile. Discover native legends from many cultures in the Americas.

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Students find out how, where, and when rainsticks were discovered. Identify their uses in various indigenous cultures of the Americas. Choose Native American symbols that are especially appropriate to decorate the replica rattle.
    2. Seal the tube. Choose a recycled cardboard tube. Cut it to the desired length with Crayola® Scissors.
    3. On a recycled file folder, trace around an open end of your cardboard tube with Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils. Draw a larger circle around the first one. Cut around the bigger circle. Cut several slits from the outer edge of the larger circle in to the smaller circle. Make two of these double circles, one for each end of the tube.
    4. Fold the slit edges up from the smaller circle. With Crayola School Glue, seal one end of the tube with one of the circles. Air-dry the glue.
    5. Fill the rainstick. Roll and twist a long piece of aluminum foil into a spiral snake. Place the foil snake inside the tube.
    6. Pour a few seeds into the tube. Hold a hand over the open end of the tube and gently turn the rainstick over to see how it sounds. Students experiment with the amount of seeds until they have a sound they like best.
    7. Glue the second end of the rainstick closed.
    8. Decorate the rainstick. Cover the art area with recycled newspaper. Decorate the outside of the rainstick with authentic Native American colors and designs using Crayola Washable Paint. Air-dry the rainstick.
    9. Glue on decorative craft materials for a finishing touch. Air-dry before turning the rainstick from one end to another.
  • Standards

    LA: Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Participate in shared research and writing projects.

    LA: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade level topics with peers and adults in small and large groups.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

    SS: Explore and describe similarities and differences in the ways groups, societies, and cultures address similar human needs and concerns.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    VA: Use art materials and tools in a safe and responsible manner.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

    VA: Identify specific works of art as belonging to particular cultures, times, and places.

  • Adaptations

    Classroom resources: The Rainstick: a Fable by Sandra Chisholm Robinson; Splish, Splash: A Book About Rain by Josepha Sherman; Rain by Robert Kalan

    Students work in small groups, with the assistance of adults if needed, to research rain sticks and their purpose. What cultures have used rain sticks? Who uses these tools today? Students organize their research into an oral presentation that can be presented orally or video-taped and uploaded to a classroom computer for future viewing.

    Students can make a second rainstick using different materials inside the stick to investigate the differing sounds that can be created.

    Students investigate and make other Chilean or Native American instruments, as well as Native American legends about the rainstick.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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