Despite its relevance to everyone’s life, weather is not an easy topic for many people to study. Students at the elementary school age, in particular, tend to think weather is simply what they see around them when they are outdoors. An easy way to ensure that students get the most out of weather lessons is to teach them in a way that keeps them interested and involved.
Using a comprehensive lesson to teach weather is an excellent way of keeping students actively involved in the lessons by incorporating several subjects into the lesson.
Science and Mathematics: Track local weather. Take students outside each day for a week and measure as many of the following as possible: temperature, precipitation, wind direction and wind speed.
Science: Building a weather station is another activity for keeping students involved in weather lessons, and it is an excellent tool for tracking the local weather. Record weather observations in a tracking log.
Research skills: Look up weather data and forecasts for the day and record those with the students’ observations.
Mathematics: At the end of the week, students can find average precipitation and temperature. They can make graphs of the wind speed and direction. They can compare their results to the official data through discussion or graphs.
Writing: Students can write about their observations. Students can also write a paragraph making suggestions for clothing that is appropriate for the weather each day. Students can write about the weather, and teachers can add variation to this by giving them a list of adjectives that students are required to include in their writing.
Art: Students can draw pictures for the weather each day. Students can make a weather collage with assorted weather pictures or to show the weather for the week. Students can make their own weather vanes or windsocks.
The following are some activities that can be included with the comprehensive lesson or completed separately:
If possible, let students search the internet for weather information for other parts of the world. This could be somewhere a friend or relative lives, a place they have been on vacation, or somewhere they want to go. Have them compare the weather to their local weather. This also helps teach differences in seasons for different parts of the world.
Let students observe the water cycle. Give students small paper cups and a sandwich bag. If the sandwich bag is not the zipper seal kind, then they will need tape to close it. Put a small amount of water in the cup, and then put the cup in the sandwich bag. Taking care not to spill the water, seal the bag and place it in a window where the sun shines. The water will evaporate from the cup, condense on the sandwich bag, and run down the sides to the bottom.
These are only a few of the many creative methods teachers can use to keep students interested in lessons about weather. Even activities like watching clouds and making paper snowflakes can be incorporated into weather units. By providing hands-on activities and making the lessons fun, teachers can help students want to learn more about the weather.