Teaching Earth Science with Children’s Literature: Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain.

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Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain, written by Verna Aardema, is story that tells of an African legend about what makes the sky rain.  This story is a long, repetitive, rhyming poem, much like “In the House that Jack Built”.

A herdsman name Ki-pat stands watching his cows, as well as the other animals of the Serengeti, begin to go hungry as the fields and pastures dried from lack of rain.

“These are the cows, all hungry and dry,
Who mooed for the rain to fall from the sky;
To green-up the grass, all brown and dead,
That needed the rain from the cloud overhead -
The big black cloud, all heavy with rain,
That shadowed the ground on Kapiti Plain.”

Ki-pat worries about the pastures and animals drying up and becoming ill, and wants to make the rain fall out of the cloud.  A feather falls from an eagle soaring above, and gives Ki-pat an idea – he will shoot the cloud to make the rain pour out!

“This was the shot that pierced the could
And loosed the rain with thunder LOUD!
A shot from the bow, so long and strong,
And strung with a string, a leather thong;
A bow for the arrow Ki-pat put together
With a slender stick and an eagle feather;
From the eagle who happened to drop a feather,
A feather that helped to change the weather.”

The rain finally falls on Ki-pat’s field, which greens the grass, helping to feed and water his starving animals.

“So the grass grew green, and the cattle fat!
And Ki-pat got a wife and a little Ki-pat -
Who tends the cows now, and shoots down the rain,
When black clouds shadow Kapiti Plain.”

Curriculum Connections:

 This book will help teach children the relationship of seasonal change and weather patterns to life processes of plants and animals, as well as the importance of the water cycle for the life of living things, as suggested by VA Science SOLs 1.7abc, as well as 3.9c.

Additional Resources:

Teacherlink has an extension geography lesson for this book that highlights the different regions and wildlife of Africa, as well as point out that people who live far away from each other can be similar, as well as have big differences in the way they live.

Scholastic’s website provides guided reading questions to help children make predictions and tell their feelings about the story, as well as gives a guide for “choral reading” of the repetitious sections of the poem.

Kids Econ Posters provides an economics lesson plan for this book highlighting the topic of scarcity.

General Information:

BookBringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain
AuthorVerna Aardema
IllustratorBeatriz Vidal
PublisherScholastic
Publication Date:  2001
Pages:  32 pages
Grade Range:  1-3
ISBN-13: 978-0140546163