Weather Adds Up to Climate

Contributor
Becca Hatheway and Diane Stanitski; Lisa Gardiner
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Lesson/Lesson Plan
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

The activities in this lesson are in five parts and are designed to occur over the course of a school year. Students begin by describing and reporting weather. They then use their data to learn how weather patterns over a long period of time are used to describe the climate of a location. Part 5 of the lesson uses the Elementary GLOBE book What in the World is Happening to Our Climate? to compare two different climates - one arctic and one tropical.

Intended Audience

Educator
Educational Level
  • Grade 3
  • Early Elementary
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

3-ESS2-1 Represent data in tables and graphical displays to describe typical weather conditions expected during a particular season.

Clarification Statement: Examples of data could include average temperature, precipitation, and wind direction.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment of graphical displays is limited to pictographs and bar graphs. Assessment does not include climate change.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
This year long lesson sequence of activities explicitly addresses this performance expectation. Part 1 of this lesson introduces students to different ways of describing weather. Parts 2 and 3 require students to use graphical displays to represent the local weather data. Students use interlocking plastic cubes to record their local weather observations each day in bar graphs in Part 2. At the end of each month, they summarize the information in bar graphs in Part 3. At the end of the year in Part 4, students use their data to describe weather patterns through the year identifying typical weather during the year. Part 5 uses the book What in the World is Happening to Our Climate? to compare two different climates - one arctic and one tropical. The book also discusses climate change, but it is not addressed in the activity.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
In Part 4, students are asked to group the monthly graphs in a way that would reveal patterns that show expected weather during the different parts of the year. In Part 4, students are asked to group the monthly graphs in a way that would reveal patterns that show expected weather during the different parts of the year. Activity sheet #3 is provided to assist students in identifying the patterns. The last question is more open-ended and could be used to identify other patterns that are not already identified on the sheet.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Students represent weather data three dimensionally using interlocking plastic cubes (directions for construction are included) and transfer this information monthly to a two dimensional bar graph with a provided activity sheet. In addition, they use the provided activity sheet to represent the number of days in each month that fall into 5 different temperature ranges. Temperature ranges on the worksheet are in Celsius scale, but the sheet provides a Fahrenheit conversion table. If preferred, students can record the actual daily temperature for the month. Teachers would need to provide a recording sheet for this as one is not provided.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Students observe and record day to day weather data over the course of a school year. They are directed to make observations at the same time every day. When looking at the summed data, they will begin to see how weather differs throughout the year through the patterns that emerge as the year goes by. The Elementary GLOBE book used in Part 5 of this lesson shows kids and scientists collecting data in two different locations. The trip activity in Part 5 allows students to predict what kind of weather will be encountered in these two locations by choosing the items to pack for their trip.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource was not designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
In Part 3, students are asked to organize their graphs from the year based on patterns (those with the coldest and those with the warmest temperatures, or the most and least precipitation). Students complete Activity Sheet 3 to share the patterns they observe. The lesson does not ask students to make predictions about expected weather, but this practice could be added. Once students identify the observed patterns they can make general predictions about the upcoming month. What pattern is seen in temperature for the month? How does this compare to the previous month? Can you predict how temperature may or may not change next month?

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: The lesson integrates elements of all three dimensions represented in the performance expectation, science and engineering practice, disciplinary core idea and crosscutting concept. The activities in the lesson are completed over the course of a year with students using the data they collect to build their understanding of weather and climate building their proficiency in the performance expectation. Since students are collecting local data, this has relevance to their lives. They might watch local forecasts as well. Teachers can have students conduct further comparisons of regional climate by engaging them in the Climate Postcards Activity found under Further Investigations.

  • Instructional Supports: In Part 1, students describe weather. Beginning the year with observation of a weather phenomenon or phenomena and generating one or more focus questions would allow students to connect subsequent observations and develop explanations to the question(s) generated from their experience(s). This resource provides suggestions for using it with younger and older students. This could be the basis of differentiation as needed. In addition, it provides a materials list, preparation notes for the activities, teacher’s notes that have background information needed, and 5 activity sheets to use in instruction.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: This resource does not provide a summative assessment. It does, however, provide a self-evaluation rubric for student documentation of their work as a scientist. This rubric is intended to evaluate cooperative skills as opposed to their work as scientists in general. Activity Sheet 5 provides an artifact that serves as a record of student thinking, and there are teacher suggestions for formatively evaluating student work throughout the lesson.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: This resource does not have any technological interactivity as a component to the lesson.