Everyone talks about the weather, but the articles in this issue show students doing more than talking. Just look at the action words in the titles: blog, cruise, teach, make, watch, look, learn.
The differences between weather and climate can be challenging for younger students. The author of Making the Climate Connection suggests a “progression” topics for grades K–5 and recommends some online resources (many of which are in SciLinks). The lesson described in Dress for the Weather uses actual data to help students differentiate between weather and climate. The lesson uses the 5E learning cycle with a real-life focus.
Talk about a real-life focus—the students in the article Blogging About the Weather combine their experiences in weather instruments, storm studies, cloud formations, and weather fronts to prepare their forecasts and share them with other students via a blog. In a class I visited, the fourth-grade students used their weather station to prepare forecasts that they shared every day with the principal to help her make the decision about whether to have outdoor recess. And in a related news article, check out how fourth grade weather watchers are creating forecasts that are telecast on the Internet as well as on the school’s Web site.
Cruising the Climate with Spreadsheets shows how elementary science methods teachers found local weather data online, created Excel spreadsheets to organize the data, and interpreted the data from both local and international sites to learn about climates. This activity could be used as a purposeful workshop to brush up (or introduce) skills in spreadsheets. The author includes a list of online spreadsheet tutorials and tips for inserting or deleting symbols. I was not aware of this feature, so I learned something new, too. (Note: I use the Mac 2008 version where inserting symbols is part of the Object Palette under the View menu or in the Toolbox.)
If you’re looking for lesson ideas or sites for students on topics related to this theme, check out these K–4 SciLinks keywords:
- Forecasting the Weather
- Collecting Weather Data
- What Causes Earth’s Seasons?
- Clouds and Fog
- What Makes Up the Atmosphere?
At the 5–8 level, there are many keywords leading to websites on weather and climate. In SciLinks, use the basic keywords “weather” or “climate” to access them.
In this issue, all of the articles deal with the theme of weather. I’m going to continue reading and in the next post, I’ll share more resources on seasons, clouds, and instrumentation.
Check out the Connections for this issue. Even if the article does not quite fit with your lesson agenda, this resource has ideas for handouts, background information sheets, data sheets, rubrics, etc.