Geography and Literature:
 Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema

BY:  Heidi Tornquist, Mishawaka (updated by Melissa Martin)

Purpose:  Students will learn to identify how climate influences a community and affects its members.

Grade Level:  Grades 4-6, but adaptable.

National Geography Standards Addresses:

2.      How to use mental maps to organize information about people, places, and environments in a spatial context.        

9.  The characteristics, distribution, and migration of human populations on Earth’s surface.

14.     How human actions modify the physical environment.

15.     How physical systems affect human systems

Indiana Social Studies Standards Addressed:

            7.3.6:  Locate and map the climate regions of the eastern Hemisphere, and explain how and why they differ.

            7.3.10:  Describe the restrictions that climate and land forms place on land use in regions of Africa and Asia, and be able to discern how                                 patterns of population distribution reflect these restrictions.

Students will be able to analyze the story geographically, and they will be able to explain the term climate and discuss its relevance in the story, as well as, to their own lives.

Materials Required:

1.   Review the geography terms used in the story. (See bottom of lesson)
2.  Be sure the students are able to locate
Kenya on a map or globe.

3.   Have the students view the cover of the story and hypothesize how it will relate geographically.  Write their responses on the board/overhead.
4.    Perform the activity "Say Something":

            a. Students choose a partner, and each pair is given a single copy of Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain.
            b. Each pair of students should be asked whether they will read the story aloud or silently.
            c.  One student begins to read a section of the story.  Then, they stop and "say something" about what was read.
            d.  After each exchange of this sort, the partnership continues to read the next several paragraphs and again each "says something" to the                  other before going on to the next paragraph, and so on through the story.  Students can comment on what was just read, make                  predictions about what will happen next, or share experiences related to the selection.
            e.  Toward completion, the teacher organizes a group discussion by writing a central topic (i.e. climate) from the reading in the middle of                   the overhead, circling it twice, and asking students to talk about some of the things the author had to say on the topic.  Explain what                   this concept had to do with the topic and how it fits in with the other ideas that the book discussed.

5.   Check the predictions made in step number 2 above by analyzing as a whole group how this story relates to the five themes of geography. 

6.   Define and discuss the term "climate".
7.  Have students create a climograph of a city in
Kenya and one of their hometown (or nearest city).  Use the website to       obtain the needed information.

8.  Compare the two climographs and analyze the information given.

Evaluate through student participation, completion of student climographs, and ability to locate Kenya on a map or globe.

            *Have the students travel along the equator and identify other places/locations with similar climates. 

            *Choose another folktale and research the country of origin.

             *Write a poem about their community incorporating location and geography terms

            *Ask students about cloud formation and why it rains.  Begin a study of the water cycle.  Read The Magic School Bus at the Waterworks             by Joanna Cole and discuss the water cycle.  (Science connection)

            *Start recording weather information and look for patterns. 

            *Read another cumulative tale like The House that Jack Built or I Know an Old Lady

            *Research an animal from Kenya; discuss whether or not it is endangered and what the government is doing to protect it. 

            *Take a field trip to a local weather station or to a local water treatment facility.

            *Economic connection:  scarcity: the condition of not being able to have all of the goods and services that you want.

Related Sources:
     Weather and Climate by Barbara Taylor
     Geography from A to Z by Jack Knowlton
     Kenya, Africa's Tamed Wilderness by Joann J. Burch
     Creating Classrooms for Authors by Harste, Short, Burke

    Magic School Bus at the Waterworks by Joanna Cole

    On the Same Day in March by Marilyn Singer

Web Sites: 




Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain Geography Terms

   Plain                          Climate                         Acacia Tree

   Migration                   Drought                        Folktale

  Savannah                    Africa                           Kenya

  Climograph                 Precipitation                 Equator