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This column discusses resources and science topics related to students in grades preK to 2. This month’s issue describes an activity where students indirectly document local weather by counting outdoor clothing types worn by classmates and use the data to look for patterns in weather over months and seasons.
In Ashbrook’s article, The Early Years: About the Weather is based on the importance of teaching the weather to the children as young as three. Introducing students to observing and documenting the weather, teach them about using different tools and the use of their senses to learn about the environment. Ashbrook (2015), “Weather observations should be carried out more than one season so children’s sensing, measuring, and recording of weather data can be used to talk about why we collect data.” This will allow them to better understand how the environment is affected by the weather. Younger children can use their senses to tell how the weather feels and the older children can use weather measuring tools to tell about the weather.
Ashbrook gives teachers a clear understanding that climate and weather are different. Observing the weather outside builds a foundation for learning about the weather. Weather is a unit that I teach to my first graders. I make time every day to incorporate discussions about the weather. Once we learn about the different tools for measuring, I keep them around the classroom and the students incorporate them into their daily instructions.
After reading this article I learned there are other ways to collect data about the weather without going outside. The idea of recording what the class is wearing to figure out the weather is a great way to practice data collection before the real thing with the students. I want to find a place for this idea in my weather unit for third graders.
Megan (Clarksville, MD)
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