by Rachel Stepp
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Everyday, people are affected by the conditions outside, so it is important that you teach your students how to interpret the weather. You can teach weather skills and knowledge in many grades and incorporate the skills and concepts across subject areas. Here are some creative ideas, broken up by grade level!
In Kindergarten and First Grade:
During calendar time or social studies, ask your students what the weather is outside. If you have a window or door in your classroom, allow a student to go/look outside and report on the weather. You can then ask students what it’s appropriate to wear with the reported weather.
Record the daily weather so that students can begin to see patterns. You can also ask students where they can look to find out the weather report for the day (Internet, news, TV, etc). Weather can also be incorporated into the study of the seasons as you talk about the typical weather of each season.
If you’re looking for a fun resource, The School Box offers a felt board addition called “Wally the Weather Dog” that allows students to dress “Wally” daily with the appropriate clothing while reporting the weather.
In Second and Third Grade:
With this age of students, it’s still a good idea to allow students to do outside observations of the weather and to discuss what weather they felt when they were on their way to school. You can do the same activities that younger students do, but also add graphing into the learning time. You can make a bar graph or a pictograph about the daily weather as students add another “unit” to the graph everyday. The different bars in the graph could represent weather conditions such as sunny, rainy, cloudy, cold, hot, and snowy. Chart paper or poster board would work just fine for this activity, but I have also seen pocket charts that are made for bar graphing that would make this activity even easier.
In Fourth and Fifth Grade:
In the higher elementary grades, you can draw outside resources into the classroom to allow students to explore the weather. Bring in daily local newspapers and news clips to let children know some of the different resources that tell about the weather. You can also study weather terminology, cloud types, weather patterns, and the effects of the weather on our environment and community. Students in this age group enjoy studying about natural weather disasters and their impacts. Maybe your class discussions and suggestions about the weather will spark interest in conducting some student-led research!
Whatever grade you teach, you can always use a picture book to teach your students about weather. Also, use some of the time when you teach about weather to do art projects. You can create collages, paintings, and drawings of the weather outside and weather around the world. And–if the opportunity arises– give your students the chance to learn outside and enjoy the weather!
Rachel Stepp is a graduate student at The University of Georgia whose good ideas are frequently published on A Learning Experience.