Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Weather Watchers

Christy Clanton
Bay District Schools

Description

Weather Watchers establishes the class as meteorologists at work, collecting, graphing, and reporting school weather conditions to their younger kindergarten buddies.

Objectives

The student knows that a successful method to explore the natural world is to observe and record, and then analyze and communicate the results.

Materials

-Weather Watchers Station that includes plastic patio stool and table, thermometer (Fahrenheit and Celsius), hygrometer, barometer, rain gauge, and cloud chart
-ITV with Weather Channel access
-Daily copy of local newspaper
-Computer workstations preloaded with word processing software such as Microsoft Word and graphing software such as Graph Club with printing capabilities
-Printing paper and ink (colored ink is not necessary in Graph Club)
-Chart paper and marker
-Student paper and pencils
-Copies of Our Weather Report Checklist, Weather Watchers Record Chart, and Graph Scoring Guide (See Associated File)
-Weather Timeline bulletin board

Preparations

The teacher needs to:
1. Gather Weather Watchers Station materials.
2. Preview the Weather Channel broadcast to determine the best viewing time for the class. (My class hooked up an old computer monitor via an RCA cord to our cable to have a continuous Class Weather Channel Station with earphones available at all times. Additionally, we had an FM radio available, which we used during a tornado drill with our flashlight on one occasion.)
3. Load word-processing and graphing software at computer workstations.
4. Set up Weather Timeline bulletin board. This is where students post the weather forecasts from the daily newspapers and their Weather Watchers Report Chart to begin to see patterns over time.
5. Duplicate student copies of Our Weather Report Checklist, Weather Watchers Record Chart, Graph Scoring Rubric, and The Weather Watchers Complete Weather Report Scoring Guide. (See Associated File for the first three items.)
6. Make copies of the students' completed Weather Watchers Record Chart after they are produced. Post on the Weather Timeline bulletin board.

Procedures

1. The teacher introduces the Weather Watchers Station to the class, a small plastic patio stool and table complete with thermometer (Fahrenheit and Celsius), hygrometer, barometer, rain gauge, and cloud chart. The class places the weather stool outside the classroom in an open area convenient for frequent checks during daily times of transition. The teacher invites the class to act as Weather Watchers for their kindergarten buddy class.

2. Students view the Weather Channel via ITV cable access or the Internet and browse the local newspaper, The News Herald, to determine the kinds of weather data to include in daily, weekly, and monthly weather reports.

3. The teacher leads the class in brainstorming all the characteristics of a complete weather report. These characteristics are typed by the teacher in chart form using word processing software, such as Microsoft Word, to create The Weather Watchers Complete Weather Report Scoring Guide. (This guide is agreed upon by the class and might include correct weather symbols, patterns in temperature in relation to fronts, wind conditions, seasonal conditions, rainfall, directionality on maps, and temperatures.) Once The Weather Watchers Complete Weather Report Scoring Guide is constructed, it is used throughout the year to assess students' work.

4. Students are now ready to work cooperatively in teams to create drafts of their Weather Watchers Record Chart. (See Associated File for a sample of this chart.) Team leaders share all ideas from their team with the class to be considered as the standard format for presenting to the kindergarten buddies. It is important for this report to be consistent throughout the year for the young ones to begin to recognize patterns in the weather, also.

5. Now students are ready to work individually to create their own Weather Watchers Record Chart. Students collect data and record it on the chart.

6. Students self-assess their charts using The Weather Watchers Complete Weather Report Scoring Guide, as earlier agreed upon by the class. Students revise their work until all criteria are met.

7. Students individually use word processing and graphing software at computer stations to publish their personal Weather Watchers Record Chart.

8. Students collect and record daily weather conditions as they gather data from the Weather Watchers Station. Each day different students record the data on the Weather Watchers Record Chart.

9. Students serve as weather reporters to their younger kindergarten buddies on a rotating basis. When they go to the kindergarten class, they use paper thermometer models to show temperature ranges to the younger children along with the other data collected on their Weather Watchers Record Chart. Upon returning from the kindergarten classroom, they self-evaluate their weather report presentation using Our Weather Report Checklist, Graph Scoring Rubric, and The Weather Watchers Complete Weather Report Scoring Guide.

Assessments

Students self-assess their:
1. Weather Watchers Record Charts
2. Oral weather reports to kindergarten buddies using Our Weather Report Checklist (See Associated File)
3. Monthly graphs using the Graph Scoring Rubric (See Associated File)

Extensions

The Weather Watchers Station is set up after a study about weather. The Weather Watchers Station is ongoing and extends the learning into real-world applications.

Other extensions are:
1. At the end of the month, students use graphing software such as Graph Club to reflect weather data for the month. Additionally, they calculate the range, mean, median, mode, and average from their data. They use the Graph Scoring Rubric to self-evaluate their graphs (See Associated File).

2. Students then compare their monthly graphs to the data from other places in the country, via cable ITV access to the Weather Channel and to the weather maps from the daily editions of the local newspaper. (These maps are cut out from the newspaper and posted on the class Weather Timeline bulletin board).

3. The teacher should take advantage of patterns that develop (drought, flooding, tornadoes, etc.) to encourage children to gather data related to the topic. The 1997-1998 Weather Watchers had the opportunity to see patterns contributing to severe thunderstorms, tornado conditions, and flooding.

Web Links

The Weather Channel
Weather

Intellicast weather web site
Intellicast

Earthwatch weather website
Earthwatch

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