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In this lesson students will learn about the basic meteorological instruments (thermometer, barometer, weather vane, anemometer, and rain gauge), how they are used, data that can be collected from them, and why we keep records of the data.
For students to predict the weather they need to know the simple weather patterns. To know the simple weather patterns they need to know the simple instruments used by meteorologists that measure the elements of weather. These simple instruments that 4th graders need to know are the thermometer, barometer, weather vane, anemometer, and rain gauge. When the students have learned the identity of these instruments, they need to know how they work and how to interpret the information they have gathered. In this lesson you will learn how to teach what these instruments are, how they are used, data that can be collected from the use of these instruments, and why we keep records of the data. Later in another lesson we will interpret the data.
3. Understand Science Concepts and Principles.
Invitation to Learn
Make about six groups with four students in each group. Pass out pictures of the rain gauge, barometer, thermometer, anemometer, weather vane, and ruler (or the real articles if you have enough) to each group. These pictures shouldn't have the name of the instruments on them. (If possible, have a real sample of each of the weather instruments that the students have pictures of.) Tell the students that these are some of the weather instruments meteorologists use to find out what the current weather conditions are.
Without telling the name of the instruments show the real instruments to them one by one. Pass out cards that tell the names of each weather instrument. Give the groups time to put the name of the weather instruments with the pictures of the weather instruments. When they are done see if they have correctly matched the names with the instruments.
At this time you can see if any of the students know how these instruments measure the weather elements. As they tell about each one, pass out the card that tells about that particular weather instrument and its use. Elaborate on what the student has stated about the instrument. Do this until all the instruments have been talked about. Tell the class that these are the basic instruments that meteorologists use to tell us what the past weather was and what the current weather is now.
Tell the students that today they are going to learn more about these weather instruments and how meteorologists use them by watching a weather newscast from a local TV station.
Myhill, D. (2006). Talk, talk, talk: teaching and learning in whole class discourse. Research Papers in Education, Vol. 21, No. 1, pp. 19-41
It is important that teachers dont take up too much of student learning time by talking; that limits opportunities for pupil learning. Teachers are encouraged to only take up about 15 minutes of whole class time. Teachers are encouraged to use questions for student interaction with each other for discussion and discovery. The teacher only acts as a facilitator during the student learning time. Teachers are also encouraged to have students work in groups to learn from each other.
Enfield, M. (2007). Discussion maps make sense. Science and Children, Vol. 44, No. 5, pp. 46-49.
Discussions can be useful for teachers in evaluating students ideas. They offer windows for teachers to help understand student thinking. Through discussions, students can express their ideas. Some students feel more comfortable during a discussion than during any other school task. The discussion map lets a teacher gain insight into the students level of participation and helps the teacher get an idea if the student understands the concept taught.