Kindergarten science offers a wonderful opportunity for students to use their natural curiosity and five senses to explore the world around them. In a weather lesson, teachers can utilize hands-on learning to help students track weather events and subsequently learn how to dress appropriately. By making the subject fun and relevant, a kindergarten weather unit can teach pupils how to enjoy and appreciate science.
Picture books, with their bright colors and basic text, give early-elementary teachers a simple means to introduce new topics. Some excellent weather-related choices include Ezra Jack Keats “A Letter to Amy,” Paul Roger’s “What will the Weather Be like Today?,” or Tish Rabe’s “Oh Say Can You Say What’s the Weather Today?: All About Weather.” Each of these titles focuses on weather observation and how people interact with different weather scenarios. In one story, children see how picking out clothing corresponds to watching the weather, while in another, adult characters use weather to help them at work.
One way to create a weather log is with a bulletin board “weather window.” Each day the students change the scene inside the construction paper window using appropriate cutouts of sun, snow, rain and clouds to reflect the weather outside. A small animal, like a squirrel, could also be added to the scene for students to accessorize with sunglasses, a hat, an umbrella and clothing. Students can also write or illustrate an individual weather diary, including information on appropriate clothing and what they wore that day. Either way, kindergarteners have the opportunity to observe the daily weather and reflect upon it.
Weather-based activities reinforce decision making based on observation. Using a box filled with scarves, hats, jackets, bathing suits, tee-shirts, umbrellas and more, teachers can flash a card printed with a weather phenomenon to prompt the student to rummage through the box and find something to wear. With enough students this can be turned into a game with two teams competing, one student at a time, to see who can pull on the correct articles first. For a less rowdy activity, students can each color a paper doll and set of outfits. The teacher then either uses the large picture cards to prompt students to dress their dolls, or students can adorn dolls each morning based on the current weather.
Instructing students how to measure weather reinforces the observable nature of meteorology. Set thermometers in and outside the classroom so the class can record the difference in temperature, emphasizing what the different readings mean, particularly during winter months. Or build a take-home windsock to illustrate how, though wind itself cannot be seen, its effects can. Both gauges teach children that proper use will aid them in determining what to wear each day, from shorts on a hot day, when the mercury is up, to grabbing a jacket when their wind sock is spinning.
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