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An Excuse to Go Outside! Teach Weather!

In the warm months children love to go outside while at school. I like an opportunity to take them! Teaching lessons like these will be sure to give you some outdoor time. Warning here…I front loaded content before we got a whole lot of outdoor time. I bought a couple of units on TPT to give me some lesson advice, but after the students got the content, I moved forward from there. After having a silly group of kids the year before, I adjusted the way I let children interact. I will give you a brief overview here to guide your steps.

Teach content. I kept the content I taught simple but left a lot of the content learning up to the children’s research. Using ideas from the units I bought along with my own ideas, I taught the following…

1–temperature and how to read a thermometer (a thermometer journal is a good idea!)

2–what are high and low pressure. We built a simple barometer and checked the pressure

3–wind speed. We observed and recorded an anemometer outside on a still and on a windy day. I had a store bought one, but you can make one with plastic or paper cups.

4–The terminology of the weather symbols and fronts. What do the symbols mean on the maps?

5–Learn what precipitation is. How is it calculated? Build a rain gauge if you like. I assigned this as a homework assignment one year. (start saving your water bottles now)

6–I had children watch meteorologists and how they presented the weather. They had to watch at least 10 forecasts from different news channels. One child said this was her least favorite, but I think it was very beneficial. Discuss the forecasters intonation, hand motions, and public speaking.

7–Next, children made a weather map on state maps I ordered. Most state highway departments will mail you free ones if you ask. (Order them now. It can take a while.)

8–Then I followed some of the resources I bought more closely because I had them write a five day forecast. (students had to have 2 weather backgrounds. One had to be the weak forecast and the other was their weather map.)

9–I had them write a script for their forecast.

10–Last step for the children was to have them film their forecast with an iPad mini. If you can trust your students the iPad videos turned out really nicely. If you can’t trust your group with a little independence (I did this with 3rd grade), you may want to have them do their forecast in person.

We showcased these to parents and they enjoyed them!

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