Wednesday, March 30, 2011

We are now "Informed" Weather Watchers!

We had a very special guest some to ur school to speak with us last week. Jeff Rucker, our local meteorologist with WAGT-26, came to talk to us about weather and weather forecasting. It was an AWESOME visit and we learned so much!

As excited as we all were, I admit that I was a little wary of his visit. Last year, we visited one of our other local stations for a field trip. The entire tour lasted less than 10 minutes. We then invited a different meteorologist to visit and the "weather talk" was so far over the kids' heads (and the teachers!) that they really didn't get anything out of it. I vowed this year to get someone to speak that the kids would enjoy, so they would really be able to learn something from the visit. Well, let me tell you, I did my homework this year, and this visit was fantastic!

Mr. Rucker talked to the kids about different kinds of weather. Did you know that raindrops are actually shaped liked pancakes? We do, thanks to Mr. Rucker!

He also brought a few weather instruments and demonstrated them for us.

That may look like a hair dryer, but for these purposes, it is an official "wind demonstration device"!

This is part of an actual weather balloon that had been deployed and found.

This is a lightning machine. It was pretty cool. We learned first hand how lightning can travel! The kids each got a turn to try it if they chose to.

This one made a little cloud! Did you know that fog is just a little cloud right near the ground?

When he added the top of the device, it made a tornado!

Here's a little video of the tornado in motion. Sorry it's sideways--I turned the camera to get a better shot. :|

Thank you, Jeff Rucker, for an awesome visit! The kids were so excited and learned so much. While watching the visit on the local news that night, I also experienced one of my proudest moments as a teacher. As he played  a little video clip on the news he complimented the children on "asking good questions" and not just "sharing stories". This is something we work on all year. I was SO PROUD of some of the questions the friends asked! The visit definitely made an impression and they are very informed "Weather Watchers" now. They even remember some of the "big" words like "anemometer", "thermometer" and especially, "meteorologist"!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Weather Watchers

Our daily routine at Circle Time always includes a segment about the weather. We sing a cute little song called "Weather Watcher":
Weather watcher, 
Weather watcher,
What do you see?
What do you see?
Tell us what the weather's like,
Tell us what the weather's like.
Won't you, please?
Won't you, please?

Our "Weather Watcher" checks the window and reports the weather. (Occasionally, we debate the weather, because in a 4 year old's "world of weather" there are many shades of gray.) We post it on our board, near our calendar.

Recently, we spent a week exploring weather in depth. We have graphed the weather each day in March. Our "Weather Watcher" now has additional duties and draws the weather and places it on the appropriate area of the graph.

In addition, the week of our unit, each child completed a weather chart for each day.

I cut out little cloud shapes from blue fun foam and let them roll the dice to place the correct number of glass bead "raindrops" on their cloud.

We did lots of experiments with wind. We tested a variety of items in front of a fan to see if the wind could blow them and posted them to a chart. We also tried blowing each item with our mouths, both alone and through a straw.

This activity led into a wind race, blowing cotton balls through straws to see which ball could go the farthest.

We made weather wheels from paper plates.

We read It Looked Like Spilt Milk and made cloud pictures with shaving cream and glue. We added the caption "It looked like_____." and bound these together to make a class book.

We also played a game called "Be The Weather" and the students acted out the weather as I called out "weather words" like: rain, wind, thunder, sunny, etc.


Our unit was capped off with a visit from our local meteorologist, Jeff Rucker from WAGT-26. Read more about his visit and see us on the news in a post coming soon!

We've read lots of good books with our weather unit! Here are some of our favorites:

It Looked Like Spilt Milk Big Book Cloudy With a Chance of MeatballsOh Say Can You Say What's the Weather Today?: All About Weather (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library) Sun Up, Sun Down (Voyager/Hbj Book) What Will the Weather Be? (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2) Weather Words and What They Mean Weather Forecasting Splish! Splash!: A Book About Rain (Amazing Science: Weather) Rain PETER SPIER'S RAIN by Peter Spier (1982 Hardcover 10 x 10.5 inches, 38 pages A PICTURE STORY WITHOUT WORDS Doubleday Publishers) Clouds (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1)Little Cloud (Picture Puffins) The Cloud Book

note: Coincidentally, the tsunami and earthquake had just happened when we started this unit. While I would not typically spend  a lot of time on "darker world issues", one of our classmates moved back to Japan less than a month ago. Our class has been very concerned for him, so we've spent some time talking about how these disasters have affected the Japanese people. Thankfully, we've been in touch with our student, and have heard that he and his family are okay. 

Thanks for stopping by!

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