By Mack S. Tribble
This weather unit
is created for a 2nd grade class at Juliette Low elementary school. It will be implemented in March of 2006 over
a period of five to ten days. The classroom is made up of sixteen students of varying learning abilities. The instructional
style is very open and child-centered, highlighting rotating centers, independent writing workshops, and whole group activities.
The weather unit will incorporate these various learning opportunities. Although weather is primarily a science topic, all
subject matters can easily be integrated. There are many activities and lessons on weather that incorporate children's literature,
creative writing topics, social studies situations, math concepts, and art projects to strengthen the scientific inquiries.
As weather is a very large topic, the lessons represent some of the key concepts and are nowhere near the boundaries of what
can be learned in weather. The following description of unit subtopics includes lessons that help students develop a hands-on,
minds-on experience to weather through creative situations. They are intended for younger students to begin to see the relationships
with weather and other issues, and to question why things happen in the phenomena of weather. Such lessons will engage students
by getting them interested in weather, while they begin to understand the initial concepts of certain processes.
The lesson plans
are in no particular order and the center activities can be grouped in any combination of sub-topics. Activities and/or extensions
supporting each sub-topic are also included after the group of lesson plans. The unit is introduced with a K-W-L bulletin
board, in which students can contribute their knowledge and questions. Various daily activities will be added to the class
to practice reading temperature from a thermometer, using a barometer, weather forecasting, and keeping a daily creative journal/weather
log. A guest speaker may also come into the classroom to enrich the unit. To end the unit, the students will finish the K-W-L
bulletin board with what they learned and compile a class book of weather myths based on their understanding of weather.
Temperature: Students learn to use a thermometer
through daily temperature readings. They will also discover the effects of climate on clothing.
Water Cycle to Precipitation: Students learn
the steps of the water cycle and will observe it in action through a model. They will discover what materials absorb and repel
water, as well as see the effects of rain on art creations.
Clouds: Students will learn the different
types of clouds and what types of weather each produces. By observing the formation of a cloud, they will better understand
what it is made of and how it is made.
Air Pressure/Wind: Students learn to use
a barometer through daily readings. They will observe the movement patterns of air pressure and wind and realize the effects
on weather changes.
"Wild Weather"/Storms: Students will learn
the relationship between thunder and lightning. They will also discuss the effect of such natural disasters on communities.
The general daily schedule is as follows:
[including Fine Arts, Computer Lab, and P.E. at pre-scheduled times]
Journals and Weather Log
Oral Story, News
Weather -- Temperature, Barometer, Weather Forecasting
Oral Language, Spelling
· Learning Centers ; Free Choice Centers/Reading Groups
Aloud Chapter Book
An integrated unit
on weather is common for children to study in the elementary grades. It is usually part of a school's curriculum requirements.
Weather should not be only limited to students in the intermediate grades, but even as early as kindergarten children should
be introduced to this topic. The early exposure to the elements of weather will expand background experience for later understanding.
The students in primary grades may not be able to grasp the cause and effect relationships of weather, but they should develop
a beginning interest as they are introduced to key concepts of weather. A unit on weather is important to study for children
because it is something that is all around them and a part of everyday life. There are many decisions in life that are dependent
on weather conditions. Students should develop a better understanding of weather, so that they can learn how to make those
decisions. It is important for children to raise questions about the world around them. This will lead them to seek out answers
by making careful observations and trying things out. A weather study will certainly raise questions of the phenomena around
them. In the past, the weather phenomena could not be explained and so, there were many myths surrounding weather. Today,
students can know that the more they learn about things, the less they can fear them. Through manipulation and observations,
children can make those inquiries of something that is real to them. In studying weather, students will engage in predominantly
scientific inquiry of processes that shape the Earth. However, an integrated unit will draw students into the topic of weather
through a variety of subject approaches and processes which will be applicable to their everyday lives.
Subjects Covered within UNIT: Science, Social Studies, Language Arts, Mathematics, Art
Multiple Intelligences Covered within
Kinesthetic – movement into & out of groups
Interdependence – working together in groups
Intradependence – written personal reflections on weather
Musical – background storm sounds & audio tapes
Naturalist - study of weather
Linguistic – read alouds
Logic – learning how to track & graph weather info, math games
creating pictures based on changes in weather, little book of big ideas
PIGS FACE Overall UNIT Plan:
– one sheet of instructions for group work
– quizzes, personal reflections, individual jobs (daily & within groups)
– end of lesson discussions within their groups (think, pair, share)
Social Skills –
using proper communication skills to work together
Face to Face –
working in groups of 3 or 4 facing each other
Illinois Standards Covered within UNIT:
Science - 11.A.1b, 11.A.1c, 11.A.1d, 11.A.1e, 12.D.1b, 12.E.1a, 12.E.1b, 12.F.1b,13.A.1c, 13.B.1a, 13.B.1b, 13.B.1d, 16.A.1b
Social Studies -
17.A.1a, 17.A.1b, 17.B.1a, 17.C.1a,
Large post-it pads
CD Player & CD’s
Books on Weather
Anemometer, Barometer, Thermometer
Weather worksheets & take home materials
As needed – see individual lesson plans
Procedures: SEE INDIVIDUAL LESSON PLANS
- Schedule short conferences with students to check for comprehension
- Books on audio tape/CD
- Reduce the number of concepts introduced at any one time
- Monitor the level of language I use to communicate ideas
- Keep sentence structure simple; gradually introduce more complex sentences as students master ability
to comprehend them
- Alert student’s attention to key points
- Daily Observations
- Quizzes – comprehension & vocabulary