Human Rain Storm Game

Val Healy and Ceri Riley

For this assignment, we used averaged weekly drought data from 2000-2015 to modify a camp game where people make sounds to mimic a rain storm.


A large group of people (the more people, the greater the effect of the game), either children or adults, who are interested in producing a sonic representation of drought over several years. This game can communicate the effects of drought to people in a more interesting/engaging way than looking at different colors on a map.


The goals of designing this game was to link the long-term impact of drought on the United States to an auditory/participatory experience, which would ideally be more memorable than looking at one of the many choropleth maps online. It sums up a large amount of data on drought (~783 weeks) in a short activity. And the activity represents how drought changes over the years, with various levels of drought (lack of water) correlating to different types of water-sound-producing actions in our game.


This game works better with more people and no ambient noise/talking — the only noise should be coming from your actions.

The leader will distribute notecards to each person. These notecards will have 15 years (2000-2015) and an action next to each one that corresponds to a level of drought.

Optimized-explaincard Optimized-notecards

Then, the leader will stand at the center of the circle and have a sheet of paper with the year “2000” on it. They will walk around the inside of the circle, holding up the year, and point to each member of the circle in turn. When the leader points at you, you perform the action that your card says for that year.

After the leader will continue to walk around the circle, increasing the year by one each time, until everyone is performing their “2015” action.

Then the leader will walk around the circle one last time, pointing at everyone individually to stop performing their action. This signifies the end of the rainstorm and the activity.

Because there are only 14 people in our class, we scaled the activity to 14 notecards for the demonstration. However, we also did calculations to see what the different sound/action distributions would be if we included the “No Drought” category and if we had a larger group of 100 people all doing the activity.

14spreadsheet 100spreadsheet
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