This lesson will heighten students' awareness of weather.
- Suitcase of seasonal
- Large weather
- Bowl of crushed ice
- Bowl of warm water
- 4 student thermometers
People and the Seasons
- Wooden board
- White paper
- Black paper
- Pan of hot water
- Woolen cloth
- 2 unbreakable bottles
- Clear cups
- Paper clips, toothpicks,
or other nonstandard
tools of measurement
- Who Cares About the Weather?, by Melvin Berger;
- The How and Why Wonder Book of Beginning Science,
by Jerome J. Notkin; ISBN 0843130407
- Weather, by Lisa Miller Molengraft; ISBN 0-88012-902-6
Background for Teachers
The purpose of this lesson is to heighten students’ awareness of
weather by allowing them to observe weather conditions and to discover
weather-related phenomena in their immediate environment. These
investigations should be fun and exciting, thus opening doors of inquiry
and the desire to know more.
We are especially conscious of the change of seasons when we are
deciding what to wear and what to do. What do we wear in the summer?
We wear light-colored fabrics because they reflect the light of the sun
away from us. Thus, heat is also reflected away from us. When the
weather becomes cool, we put on heavier, darker clothing. Heat from our
bodies does not escape as easily from heavy clothing as from light
clothing. Heat from the sun is not reflected away from us by dark
Intended Learning Outcomes
1. Demonstrate a positive learning attitude.
5. Understand and use basic concepts and skills.
6. Communicate clearly in oral, artistic, written, and nonverbal form.
Invitation to Learn
- Prepare a suitcase of clothing.
Say: “It is _____ degrees outside. What will I wear?”
Invite students to select and dress in clothing.
Variation: Pack a suitcase of clothing. Have students predict
where you might be traveling to by what is packed.
Somewhere warm? Somewhere cold? Why?
- Who Cares About the Weather?
- Brainstorm as a class who would care
about the weather and
- Make a mural of pictures of how weather conditions affect
- Make a class book (possibly ABC book) about “Who Cares
About the Weather?”
Most students are interested in watching the daily temperature.
They hear about it on the radio and television. They feel it when they
are walking to school. Temperature determines whether they can go
ice skating or swimming. Can your students individually read a
- Place the thermometer in a bowl of ice. What happens? (If the
thermometer is accurate, it should register close to 32˚ F.
Crushed ice works best to reduce the amount of air surrounding
the ice.) Place it in the warm water. Observe the temperature
difference. Try the same experiment by placing the thermometer
outdoors on a cool day and then in the warm classroom.
- Place identical
thermometers in four different parts of the room.
Make a chart. Record the temperatures every hour during the
school day. Are they always in the same relationship? Discuss
factors affecting the changes, such as an open classroom door, the
position of the sun, and the heat from the heater. Does having
students in the room tend to lower or raise the temperature?
People and the Seasons
- From observation and previous
experience, develop a chart
showing different temperature, weather conditions, and
appropriate clothing. Use symbols and words (e.g., one entry
might say 90 degrees-very hot; wear light-weight clothing).
- Place the wooden
board in a sunny place. Lay both a black
paper and a white one on it. Touch the papers fifteen minutes
later. Do they feel the same? Why or why not? Lift the papers
and touch the board under each. The part of the board under
the white paper is cool, but it is warmer where the dark paper
Variation: Experiment with different colors of paper.
- Fill two
bottles with hot water and put the caps on them. Wrap
one with a woolen cloth. Place both bottles in a cool place. After
an hour, check the temperature of the bottles. Which bottle is
- Most children living in Utah
have experienced snow. If you live
in a location that doesn’t receive snow, adapt this activity to
Children love snow, so make the most of it. At the first sign
snow, have your students classify it as wet or dry. (Wet snow is
sticky or partially melted. Dry snow is firmly frozen.) Can your students
find out why the snow is wet or dry? (Wet snow occurs
when the temperature outside is near or a little above freezing and
the temperature in the upper atmosphere is at the freezing point.
When the snow falls and hits the warmer air it begins to melt. Dry snow occurs
when the temperature outside is at or below the
freezing point.) Have students classify the beautiful white
substance as powdery snow or pellet snow (snow in hard, little
balls similar to hail).
- This is an appropriate time to discuss the difference
in the types
of snow storms. What is a blizzard as opposed to a snowfall? (A
blizzard is an intensely strong cold wind filled with fine snow.)
What kind of storm would be more likely to form snowdrifts?
What causes a snowdrift? (Snowdrifts can occur during any type of snow storm,
and they are caused by the wind. You usually get
much bigger drifts formed during a blizzard because of the strong
- How much water does snow contain? Mark the side of a clear
cup using nonstandard measures (e.g., paper clips, toothpicks,
etc.). Ask the students to gather enough snow in the cup to equal
one nonstandard measure when melted.
- How clean is the snow? Collect two
cups of snow while it is still
falling or right after it stops. Let it melt. Put a clean paper towel
over your collecting can. Pour the snow water into the glass
through the towel. How clean is the towel?
- Comparing Weather
- Write to a person (or an
entire class) in a town 300 miles to
the east or west of your town. (Try to choose a town that is at
nearly the same latitude.) Arrange with the person or class to
keep a chart for two weeks. Make sure that you agree on a
- Each person or class should fill in the chart once in the
morning and once in the afternoon. After two weeks, make
a copy of your weather chart and mail it to the other person or
- After you receive their chart, compare the two. Did both
towns have the same weather at the same time? Did one town
get the same kind of weather after the other town? Did both
towns never receive the same weather? From this
information, can you see which direction air masses tend to
move? Which direction is it? How could you use this
information to predict local weather?
- Reflections of Weather
Sunglasses are worn in all seasons to reflect the sun's bright
rays. They may also be worn in the winter to reflect the bright
- Make copies of the Sun Pattern for each student.
color then cut along the dotted lines in the
- Pictures are drawn on a strip of paper 1" x 12" that
through the sunglasses showing what would be seen in hot
- Help a family member sort your
clothes in piles for hot
weather, cold, or in-between. Make a list of your clothing using
- Scavenger Hunt: In this activity, students go outside
collect, list, or sketch things that are weather related. This
activity is best done on a sunny day. Some clues can be
collected in bags; most can be drawn or described on paper.
- Students define weather vocabulary.
- Students make graphs showing temperature comparisons and precipitation
totals using tally and nonstandard measure.
- Students develop a K-W-H-L or K-W-L chart.
- Writing Activity:
Hot (or Cold) Smells Like _______________
Hot Feels Like ________________________
Hot Tastes Like _______________________
Hot Sounds Like ______________________
Hot Looks Like _______________________
Students draw a picture of what they look like at 90˚ and 32˚.
Davenport, M.R., Jaeger, M., & Lauritzen, C. (1997). Integrating Curriculum.
This article views curriculum in three aspects: curriculum
provides a rich context for inquiry and exploration, beliefs into action
emphasizes that teachers do not simply transmit information to learners;
they take on the role of facilitating students’ construction of their
knowledge, caring communicates to students that their background,
experience, interests, and inquiries are worth exploring.
Marzano, R.J., Pickering, D.J., Pollock, J.E. (2001). Nonlinguistic Representations.
Classroom Instruction That Works: Research Based Strategies for Increasing
Achievement, pages 72-83.
The more we use linguistic and nonlinguistic
better we are able to think about and recall knowledge. Explicitly
engaging students in the creation of nonlinguistic representations
stimulates and increases activity in the brain.