Grade Levels: 3 - 5
With a student-made weather station (that tracks temperature, rainfall, wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, humidity) and/or the Internet, students measure weather in a variety of ways, write about procedures, make predictions, and use averaging.
- Students will observe and describe weather.
- Students present data about weather through journals, discussions, and graphs.
- Students will make predictions by averaging.
- Computer with Internet connection
- Discuss local weather; have students predict local weather based on their current observations.
- Set up weather station either in the classroom or using Internet resources.
- Have students make the recording materials.
- Decide how often students are going to make the measurements, e.g. once a day, twice a day. The more detailed and accurate their measurements, the more specific the picture of the patterns will be.
- A ruled ledger or notebook is an ideal place to record the measurements. List measurement types down the side (one event per line) and print the dates across the top to create a simple grid. See sample grid below.
- Use the data collected to create graphs and find averages of each measure.
- Students can also write about predictions, how they made the weather station, and the events they observed.
Hint: Numerical data can also be entered into a simple spreadsheet-type program and manipulated to create impressive visual charts and graphs. Students can also create a wall chart to display data.
Alternative methods for gathering data:
If the weather station is missing one or more data-collection devices, students can fill in the blanks by either estimating wind speed using the Beaufort Wind Scale or finding the missing information in a local daily newspaper. You may also find information on a weather-related website.
Beaufort Wind Scale to estimate wind speed
|Under 1||Calm; smoke rises vertically|
||Smoke drift shows wind direction; weather vanes remain still|
||Wind felt on face; leaves rustle; vanes begin to move|
||Leaves, small twigs moving; weather vanes start to move|
||Dust, leaves raised up; small branches move|
||Small leafy trees begin to sway|
||Large branches of trees moving; whistling in wires|
||Whole trees in motion; wind resistance felt in walking|
||Twigs and small branches broken off trees|
||Slight structural damage occurs; slate blown from roof|
||Rarely occurs on land; trees broken; structural damage occurs|
||Very rare on land; widespread damage|
||Massive violence and destruction|
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