Weather has been a hot topic in the news this winter. The extreme cold temperatures and snow have hit every single state in the United States, including some very cold temperatures for Florida in December. The snow and cold has had a major effect on travel, school, and even sports. Outside of the United States, the weather has also been unstable with the tropical cyclone that hit Australia which might have destroyed parts of The Great Barrier Reef. This timely topic is a great “teachable moment”. There are many websites for children to learn about weather including news websites.
The ”Snow-Card” article from the weather channel is a funny and classroom appropriate article that ‘grades’ the snow this year in the regions of the United States based on comparative snow accumulation in previous years. Above average earns an A+, average earns a C, and below average earns an F. For each region, several cities are listed and graded. There are also videos and pictures of the amazing snow events from this winter. Lessons based on this article could include comparing and contrasting the snow results of other cities in your region with your own city, having students research one of the cities listed in the “snow-card” and create a presentation about the precipitation amounts and temperatures of that cities over time, or creating graphs showing the trend of snow over this winter for a particular city.
From January 11th, CNN has a catchy article about how every state in the United States had snow except Florida and how rare this occurrence actually is! This article uses weather terminology like Nor’easter, ice, weather pattern, snow, sleet, and freezing rain that would be great for a weather vocabulary lesson. This article also provides an explanation for the weather pattern that brought so much snow and how it has affected everyone. This would be a great classroom reading activity that combines language arts, science, math, and technology.
One cool tool found on weather.com is the Current Snow Cover Map. This map shows which states in the United States currently have snow coverage along with the quantity in inches. Students could then compare this map to the temperature map to learn about how the temperature effects if the snow will melt or not.
Weather Bug has a program where schools can track and share their weather data within the Weather Bug network. The information collected is then posted on their website. This is a great way for students to get involved in learning about weather including learning about their community. The main Weather Bug site loads with your local weather information in an easy to read format for kids that includes the temperature, precipitation, winds, sunrise, sunset, and future weather predictions. Weather Bug has interactive lessons that would be great to show on the SMART board. Examples of the free lessons include bar graphs, air pressure, temperature, El Nino, and forecasting weather. More interactive lessons can be purchased through the Weather Bug Achieve program.
Other Websites for Teaching Kids about Weather
Article By Laura Ketcham
Picture By Flyinace2000
Free Educational Resources by SmartTutor.com