How Can You Predict the Weather?

         How do we predict the weather? What data would help us determine weather patterns in the future? Students in this unit create weather tools to collect and record data in tables and graphical displays in order to describe and to predict typical weather conditions expected during a particular season. In the Design Challenge students create out of upcycled materials a classroom wall map with weather symbols and record a video weather report/prediction based on their current weather observations.

Educational Outcomes:

  • Students will organize data and use graphical displays (e.g., table, chart, graph) to organize the given data by season using tables, pictographs, and/or bar charts, including:
  • Weather condition data from the same area across multiple seasons (e.g., average temperature, precipitation, wind direction).
  • Weather condition data from different areas (e.g., hometown and nonlocal areas, such as a town in another state)
  •  Students will identify relationships and describe patterns of weather conditions across:
    • Different seasons (e.g., cold and dry in the winter, hot and wet in the summer; more or less wind in a particular season).
    • Different areas (e.g., certain areas (defined by location, such as a town in the Pacific Northwest), have high precipitation, while a different area (based on location or type, such as a town in the Southwest) have very little precipitation).Students will use patterns of weather conditions in different seasons and different areas to predict:
      • The typical weather conditions expected during a particular season (e.g., “In our town in the summer it is typically hot, as indicated on a bar graph over time, while in the winter it is typically cold; therefore, the prediction is that next summer it will be hot and next winter it will be cold.”).
      • The typical weather conditions expected during a particular season in different areas.

 

STEAM INTEGRATION

In the Empathy phase of Lesson 1, students discuss the importance of weather prediction to identify relationships and describe patterns of weather conditions (CCSS. MATH.CONTENT.MP.2. ) . In the Define phase of Lesson 2 students create weather tools from upcycled materials to gather and report data (CCSS. MATH.CONTENT.MP.2.). In Lesson 3 student teams use upcycled materials to create pictographs and bar graphs to illustrate data from an outside source and data from their own weather tools made in Lesson 1 ( 3-ESS2-1, and CCSS. MATH.CONTENT.3.MD.B.3.) . After watching a video of weather conditions and typical symbols in the Define phase of Lesson 4, students create a classroom set of weather symbols and a chart to record daily weather patterns ( 3-ESS2-1, CCSS. MATH.CONTENT.MP.2., CCSS. MATH.CONTENT.MP.4.). In the final Lesson 5 Design Challenge (Ideate, Prototype, and Test phases), student teams create a wall map with weather symbols for their classroom ( 3-ESS2-1, CCSS. MATH.CONTENT.MP.2., CCSS. MATH.CONTENT.MP.4.). and then video record themselves presenting a weather report in front of the wall map and predicting the current weather conditions.

 


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Unit Materials

UNIT OVERVIEW MATERIALS

Building Materials:

RAFT Makerspace-in-a-box         -or-

    • Materials (e.g., fabric samples, dust covers, foam pieces, deli containers, cardboard tubes, scraps, posters, shower caps, scrap materials, cards, scissors, wooden stir sticks, straws, spoons, pipettes, toothpicks, large balloons, wide mouth glass jars, heavy stock paper, thermometers, protractors, compasses, rulers, timer, fans, etc.)

Connecting Materials:

    • Various adhesives, connectors, and fasteners (e.g., paperclips, binder clips, thread, yarn, adhesive foam pads, tape, glue, labels & stickers, rubber bands, etc.)

RAFT Makerspace Journal Pages (Optional: a binder for each student to keep their Makerspace Journal pages in).

Videos:

Design Thinking Overview

Our design thinking units have five phases based on the d.school’s model. Each phase can be repeated to allow students to re-work and iterate while developing deeper understanding of the core concepts. These are the five phases of the design thinking model:

EMPATHIZE: Work to fully understand the experience of the user for whom you are designing.  Do this through observation, interaction, and immersing yourself in their experiences.

DEFINE: Process and synthesize the findings from your empathy work in order to form a user point of view that you will address with your design.

IDEATE: Explore a wide variety of possible solutions through generating a large quantity of diverse possible solutions, allowing you to step beyond the obvious and explore a range of ideas.

PROTOTYPE: Transform your ideas into a physical form so that you can experience and interact with them and, in the process, learn and develop more empathy.

TEST: Try out high-resolution products and use observations and feedback to refine prototypes, learn more about the user, and refine your original point of view.

The Design Thinking Process | ReDesigning Theater. (n.d.). Retrieved April 2, 2016, from http://dschool.stanford.edu/redesigningtheater/the-design-thinking-process/

STEAM Integrated Standards

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

CCSS. MATH.CONTENT.MP.2.   Reason abstractly and quantitatively.

CCSS. MATH.CONTENT.MP.4.   Model with mathematics.

Suggestions for pacing and differentiation

The lessons in this unit may be covered over various periods of time when different weather conditions are able to be observed. 

          Why Do We Predict the Weather?

Why is it important to know ahead of time what the weather will be?  In this lesson, students investigate reasons for needing to know about weather ahead of time by identifying different types of weather relationships and patterns, and how knowing about them helps us.

Essential Questions:

  • What is weather?
  • How do we observe the weather?
  • Why is it helpful to know about the weather?

LESSON PROCEDURE:

Student Directions (Click + to open)

Sample teacher and student dialog: The following is a sample dialog between the teacher and the students in this lesson.
Note:  T stands for teacher, and S stands for student, with additional advice in parenthesis ( ) Videos are included as helpful teaching resources, and can be replaced with instruction of the teacher’s choice.

T:What do you know about weather?”

S: (answers vary, students should be able to identify various weather events.) “It’s hot/cold, rainy, snowy, sometimes it’s dry, thunderstorms storms, it can get foggy by the ocean…”

T: “Let’s define weather as events that happen in the air above our planet- the atmosphere. The atmosphere is the layer of gas that surrounds Earth. Using this definition, would we consider earthquakes to be weather?”

S: “No, Earthquakes happen underground and are not weather. Weather happens in the air above earth.”

T: “That is correct, all weather occurs in the atmosphere. Now, let’s take a look at reasons why rain, snow, wind and other weather happen in our atmosphere by watching these videos:
Weather Questions with Bob.
Bill Nye – Clouds
National Science Foundation – Water Cycle
EUMETSAT– How Do We Predict The Weather?How we report the weather

T: “Why do we predict and report the weather?” (Pass out MakerJournal Page) “Record your ideas in your maker journal.”


Concept Quick Reference (Click + to open)

  • Air Temperature —  The measurement of how hot or cold something is.
  • Air Pressure — The weight of air pressing down on earth. Air pressure can change from place to place, and this causes air to move, flowing from areas of high pressure toward areas of low pressure. It’s the same as barometric pressure.
  • Clouds and Fog — Clouds are a visible collection of tiny water droplets or, at colder temperatures, ice crystals floating in the air above the surface. Clouds come in many different sizes and shapes. Clouds can form at ground level, which is fog, at great heights in the atmosphere, and everywhere in between. Clouds offer important clues to understanding and forecasting the weather. Fog is a cloud on the ground that reduces visibility.
  • Humidity — The amount of water vapor in the air.
  • Precipitation (rain, snow, and hail) — General name for water in any form falling from clouds. This includes rain, drizzle, hail, snow and sleet. Although, dew, frost and fog are not considered to be precipitation
  • Wind — The movement of air relative to the surface of the earth.  It is considered to be severe if at 58 m.p.h. or greater. Hurricane winds are 74 m.p.h. or greater and the highest tornado winds are about 318 m.p.h.

Weather vs. Climate:  There is often confusion between weather and climate:  Weather is the condition of the atmosphere at a particular place over a short period of time, whereas climate refers to the weather pattern(statistics) of a place over a long period , long enough to yield meaningful averages.

Weather Prediction Importance: Weather warnings are important forecasts because they are used to protect life and property. Forecasts based on temperature and precipitation are important to agriculture, and therefore to traders within commodity markets. Temperature forecasts are used by utility companies to estimate demand over coming days. On an everyday basis, people use weather forecasts to determine what to wear on a given day. Since outdoor activities are severely curtailed by heavy rain, snow and wind chill, forecasts can be used to plan activities around these events, and to plan ahead and survive them. In 2014, the US spent $5.1 billion on weather forecasting

Additional weather vocabulary:    Weather Wiz Kids

Lesson Materials

Building Materials:

RAFT Makerspace-in-a-box         -or-

  • Materials (e.g., fabric samples, dust covers, foam pieces, deli containers, cardboard tubes, scraps, posters, shower caps, scrap materials, cards, scissors, wooden stir sticks, straws, spoons, pipettes, toothpicks, large balloons, wide mouth glass jars, heavy stock paper, thermometers, protractors, compasses, rulers, timer, fans, etc.)

Connecting Materials:

  • Various adhesives, connectors, and fasteners (e.g., paperclips, binder clips, thread, yarn, adhesive foam pads, tape, glue, labels & stickers, rubber bands, etc.)

Optional: a binder for each student to keep their Makerspace Journal pages in.

 

External Resources

Video:  How Do We Predict The Weather?

Video:  Weather and Climate

A great kid-friendly site on weather words: Weather Words

Maker Journal Pages

Teacher Notes

Always preview videos ahead of showing to the class.  If possible, visit a local weather station, or have an expert in the field visit your class. Suggestion: Different student teams explore one of the 6 elements of weather and then report findings to an audience. 

Active Classroom

Communication is critical in the design process. Students need to be allowed to talk, stand, and move around to acquire materials. Tips for success in an active classroom environment:

1 –  Students can access any wall, board, or surface to gather and explore ideas — students personalize the working space to meet their needs.

2 – Students have regular opportunities to make choices, including choices about what they learn and how they learn it.

3 –Encourage students to learn and to demonstrate what they’ve learned in ways that best suit their individual learning styles.

4 – It is not a free-for-all!  Amount of prep and planning is evidenced by quality of student work and level of students’ engagement. All is carefully thought out in advance.

5 – Practice and predict clean-up strategies before beginning the activity. Ask students to offer suggestions for ensuring that they will leave a clean and useable space for the next activity. Students may enjoy creating very specific clean-up roles. Once these are established, the same student-owned strategies can be used every time hands-on learning occurs.

Learning Targets

Students will be able to:

  • Explain the importance of weather prediction and why knowing ahead about the weather is helpful.
  • Explain why it is important to report the weather to people.

Assessment

Student Self Assessment

Student teams review their reasons for why it is important to care about the weather; to predict and to report about the weather.

Peer Assessment

Student teams discuss and compare their findings and share different viewpoints. Students should compare their drawings and give explainations about why it is useful to predict and to report the weather.

Teacher Assessment

Review student makerspace journal pages for formative assessment and discuss with individuals as they work.

Conduct a whole group discussion to allow all students to share, discuss and compare their findings around different reasons why it is important to know about the weather.

Lesson Overview

          How Can We Measure the Weather?

In this lesson, student teams investigate different types of seasonal weather and then create weather tools out of upcycled materials to help predict weather patterns. 

Essential Questions:

  • What types of weather do we have in the summer? Winter? Spring? Fall?
  • How could you measure the weather? (e.g., wind, rain, temperature, etc.)
  • What is a weather instrument and what does it do?

LESSON PROCEDURE:

  • Ask all essential questions, and then show the video to the class and discuss different types of instruments that are used to capture specific information about the weather. Show an example of each of the following:
    • Anemometer — Point out that it is a stick with a rotating x on the top. At the tips of the x are little cups that catch moving air. When the air moves a lot, the cups spin the x around quickly. Elicit from students that the instrument measures wind speed.
    • Barometer — Point out that it looks like a thermometer, but it moves up when the air is lighter and down when it is heavier. Elicit from students that the instrument measures air pressure.
    • Rain gauge — Point out that the tall cylinder is left out in the weather and fills with water (or snow). Elicit from students that the instrument measures the amount of rain or snow.
    • Thermometer — Point out that the long, thin tube is filled with mercury. Heat makes the mercury expand and it rises up the tube. Elicit from students that the instrument measures hot and cold temperatures.
    • Weather Vane — Point out that the weather vane dials move with the wind and measures the wind’s direction.
  • Discuss different ways each instrument is used to measure weather and how these measurements (data) help us predict the weather.
  • Determine which weather instruments to make depending on the current weather situation in your location.
  • Student teams choose which weather instrument to make along with appropriate materials: (e.g., wind vane, barometer, anemometer, or rain gauge).
  • Student teams explain how their weather tool works, where/when they intend to use them, over what period of time, and how it helps to predict a weather pattern.
  • Students record onto student Maker Journal pages (this may be extended over a period of several days or weeks).

Student Directions (Click + to open)

Sample teacher and student dialog: The following is a sample dialog between the teacher and the students in this lesson.

(Note:  T stands for teacher, and S stands for student, with additional advice in parenthesis)

Organize students into teams of 2 persons, and then assemble teams together for a whole group discussion. Show the Video.

T:  “We’re going to think about 6 elements of weather; air temperature, air pressure, clouds & fog, humidity, precipitation, and wind.  What is air temperature?”

S:How hot or cold it is outside.”

T: “Corect. this is mostly caused by the effect of the sun’s heat on our atmosphere and oceans. What instrument is used to measure temperature?”

S: “A Thermometer.”

T: Correct, let’s watch a video showing us How to Make a Thermometer.  [show video]

“Have you ever seen a wind vane? What is this tool used for?”

S: ” Wind vanes show the direction of the wind.”

T: “Why is it important for us to know what direction the wind is coming from in predicting the weather?”

S: “We may find out what type of weather is coming towards us if we know where the wind is coming from. If we know that wind is coming from the west, we can check the current weather report to see what type of weather is currently occuring to the west.”

T: “Let’s watch a video showing us one way to make a wind vane.”
Hoopla Kids- How to make a wind vane [show video]

“A wind vane will help us know the direction of the wind, but we may also want to know how fast the wind is traveling, so we can know how long it will take for a weather system to arrive at a location. To do this we will need a device called and anemometer. This video will show us one way to create our own anemometer.”
How to make an easy Anemometer [show video]

“What do you think air pressure is?”

S: “The weight of the air pushing down on earth (students may need some help with this concept in particular.)

T: “Air pressure is important to know because it can give us information about the likelihood of rain. Low pressure often signals rain. High pressure often signals clear skies. Let’s watch a video showing us how to make our own barometer.”

How to Make a Barometer- Hoopla Kids Lab    [show video]


Concept Quick Reference (Click + to open)

Anemometer:  An instrument to measure wind speed.

Barometer:  An instrument to measure air pressure.

Rain Gauge: An instrument used to measure the amount of precipitation in a certain amount of time.

Thermometer:  An instrument to measure temperature.

Wind Vane: An instrument to measure wind direction.

Lesson Materials

Building Materials:

RAFT Makerspace-in-a-box         -or-

Materials for one “Whimsical Wind Vane”:

  • Paper Cup, cone shaped ~120 ml (4 oz) size, with a ~6.4 mm (¼”) hole punched ~2.5 – 3 cm (1” to1.25”) from the tip
  • Paper Cup, cone shaped ~120 ml (4 oz) size
  • Straw, jumbo, a section ~10 cm (4”) long
  • Straw, wide, ~20 cm (8”) long, with a diameter larger than the jumbo straw
  • Washer, metal (M6) – [outer diameter ~12 mm, inner diameter ~6 mm]
  • Cup with a fitted lid which has a straw slit, ~360ml (12 oz) size works well
  • Foam washer, thin with center hole, ~ 2.5 cm (1”) in diameter & ~3.2 mm (1/8”) thick
  • Foam cylinder with center hole, ~ 6 cm (2 3/8”) in diameter
  • Optional: Weights (e.g., marbles, pebbles, or sand)
  • Optional: Crepe paper streamer
  • Optional: Adhesive label or tape
  • Optional: Googly eyes, adhesive
  • Marker

Materials for one barometer:

  • A small coffee can
  • Plastic wrap
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • One straw
  • One index card
  • One rubber band

Materials for one anemometer:

  • Four plastic cups of the same color, such as Dixie or Solo cups
  • One plastic cup of a different color
  • Two long strips of stiff cardboard
  • A pen
  • A pencil with an eraser on one end
  • A ruler
  • A stapler
  • A push pin
  • A watch with a second hand or timer
  • A small fan
  • A calculator

Materials for one rain gauge:

  • A cylinder shaped jar that is clear, such as an olive jar
  • A clear plastic ruler
  • A rubber band
  • A plastic funnel
  • Clear tape

Connecting Materials:

  • Various adhesives, connectors, and fasteners (e.g., paperclips, binder clips, thread, yarn, adhesive foam pads, tape, glue, labels & stickers, rubber bands, etc.)
  • Optional: a binder for each student to keep their Makerspace Journal pages in.

External Resources

Video: The Weather Instruments Song  

Video: Whimsical Wind Vane

For full instructions on how to make a barometer, an anemometer, or a rain gauge —> LINK

Maker Journal Pages

Teacher Notes

Always preview videos ahead of showing to the class.   Suggestion: different teams create a different type of weather instrument and then collect data over a period of two weeks and show results to the class.

Active Classroom

Communication is critical in the design process. Students need to be allowed to talk, stand, and move around to acquire materials. Tips for success in an active classroom environment:

1 –  Students can access any wall, board, or surface to gather and explore ideas — students personalize the working space to meet their needs.

2 – Students have regular opportunities to make choices, including choices about what they learn and how they learn it.

3 –Encourage students to learn and to demonstrate what they’ve learned in ways that best suit their individual learning styles.

4 – It is not a free-for-all!  Amount of prep and planning is evidenced by quality of student work and level of students’ engagement. All is carefully thought out in advance.

5 – Practice and predict clean-up strategies before beginning the activity. Ask students to offer suggestions for ensuring that they will leave a clean and useable space for the next activity. Students may enjoy creating very specific clean-up roles. Once these are established, the same student-owned strategies can be used every time hands-on learning occurs.

Learning Targets

Students will be able to:

  • Create weather tools from upcycled materials
  • Explain how to measure the weather.
  • Identify different types of seasonal weather patterns.

Assessment

Student Self Assessment

Student teams review their reasons for why it is important to care about the weather; to predict and to report about the weather.

Peer Assessment

Student teams discuss and compare their findings and share different viewpoints. Students should compare their drawings and give explainations about why it is useful to predict and to report the weather.

Teacher Assessment

Review student makerspace journal pages for formative assessment and discuss with individuals as they work.

Conduct a whole group discussion to allow all students to share, discuss and compare their findings around different reasons why it is important to know about the weather.

Lesson Overview

          How Do Pictographs and Bar Charts Help Us Show Weather Data?

In this lesson, student teams collect data from their weather instruments over a period of time and then use pictographs and bar graphs to communicate weather information.

Essential Questions:

  • Why is it important to collect data for more than one day?
  • What can you notice about the weather over a period of time? Does it change? How?
  • Can you use your weather measurements to predict about the weather?
  • How can we display weather data? (e.g., tables, charts, bar graphs, pictographs, etc.)

LESSON PROCEDURE:

  • Ask the students all the essential questions. Look for creative explanations, attention to detail, and encourage different points of view.
  • Go over how to read a pictograph and a bar graph (show videos if needed)
  • Pass out Maker Journal Pages.
  • Student teams use their weather tools to collect data about the weather and then record that data in pictographs and bar graphs (e.g, from an outside source such as the BloomSky app) including:
    • Weather condition data from the same area across multiple seasons (e.g., average temperature, precipitation, wind direction).
    • Weather condition data from different areas (e.g., hometown and nonlocal areas, such as a town in another state)
    •  (websiteBloomSky app)
  • Student teams collect data each day for a period of time and record information.
  • Students present their findings before an audience.

 

Student Directions (Click + to open)

Sample teacher and student dialog: The following is a sample dialog between the teacher and the students in this lesson.

(Note:  T stands for teacher, and S stands for student, with additional advice in parenthesis)

T: “Why would it be useful to record weather every day for many days in a row?”

S: “Because it changes.  To see how it’s different.  To notice patterns.”

T: “Something that can help us notice weather patterns is to record weather data in a graph.  That’s exactly what we will be practicing.  How can we gather that data?”

S: “Observations we made.  Researching.”

T: “Let’s practice researching using this website : BloomSky app take a look with me.”

T: “Let’s take a look at 2 ways to record data in our maker journals.  Pictographs, or bar graphs.”

 


Concept Quick Reference (Click + to open)

Vocabulary:

Bar Graph: (also called Bar Chart) is a graphical display of data using bars of different heights.

Pictograph:  A pictograph uses pictures or symbols to show the value of the data.

 

 

Lesson Materials

Building Materials:

RAFT Makerspace-in-a-box         -or-

Materials for one “Whimsical Wind Vane”:

  • Paper Cup, cone shaped ~120 ml (4 oz) size, with a ~6.4 mm (¼”) hole punched ~2.5 – 3 cm (1” to1.25”) from the tip
  • Paper Cup, cone shaped ~120 ml (4 oz) size
  • Straw, jumbo, a section ~10 cm (4”) long
  • Straw, wide, ~20 cm (8”) long, with a diameter larger than the jumbo straw
  • Washer, metal (M6) – [outer diameter ~12 mm, inner diameter ~6 mm]
  • Cup with a fitted lid which has a straw slit, ~360ml (12 oz) size works well
  • Foam washer, thin with center hole, ~ 2.5 cm (1”) in diameter & ~3.2 mm (1/8”) thick
  • Foam cylinder with center hole, ~ 6 cm (2 3/8”) in diameter
  • Optional: Weights (e.g., marbles, pebbles, or sand)
  • Optional: Crepe paper streamer
  • Optional: Adhesive label or tape
  • Optional: Googly eyes, adhesive
  • Marker

Materials for one barometer:

  • A small coffee can
  • Plastic wrap
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • One straw
  • One index card
  • One rubber band

Materials for one anemometer:

  • Four plastic cups of the same color, such as Dixie or Solo cups
  • One plastic cup of a different color
  • Two long strips of stiff cardboard
  • A pen
  • A pencil with an eraser on one end
  • A ruler
  • A stapler
  • A push pin
  • A watch with a second hand or timer
  • A small fan
  • A calculator

Materials for one rain gauge:

  • A cylinder shaped jar that is clear, such as an olive jar
  • A clear plastic ruler
  • A rubber band
  • A plastic funnel
  • Clear tape

Connecting Materials:

  • Various adhesives, connectors, and fasteners (e.g., paperclips, binder clips, thread, yarn, adhesive foam pads, tape, glue, labels & stickers, rubber bands, etc.)
  • Optional: a binder for each student to keep their Makerspace Journal pages in.

External Resources

Teacher Notes

Always preview videos ahead of showing to the class.  If possible, visit a local weather station, or have an expert in the field visit your class. 

Active Classroom

Communication is critical in the design process. Students need to be allowed to talk, stand, and move around to acquire materials. Tips for success in an active classroom environment:

1 –  Students can access any wall, board, or surface to gather and explore ideas — students personalize the working space to meet their needs.

2 – Students have regular opportunities to make choices, including choices about what they learn and how they learn it.

3 –Encourage students to learn and to demonstrate what they’ve learned in ways that best suit their individual learning styles.

4 – It is not a free-for-all!  Amount of prep and planning is evidenced by quality of student work and level of students’ engagement. All is carefully thought out in advance.

5 – Practice and predict clean-up strategies before beginning the activity. Ask students to offer suggestions for ensuring that they will leave a clean and useable space for the next activity. Students may enjoy creating very specific clean-up roles. Once these are established, the same student-owned strategies can be used every time hands-on learning occurs.

Learning Targets

Students will be able to:

  • Gather and organize data and use graphical displays to organize the data by season using tables, pictograms, and/or bar charts.
  • Report about the data from their weather observations gathered from their weather instruments.

Assessment

Student Self Assessment

Student teams review their reasons for why it is important to care about the weather; to predict and to report about the weather.

Peer Assessment

Student teams discuss and compare their findings and share different viewpoints. Students should compare their drawings and give explainations about why it is useful to predict and to report the weather.

Teacher Assessment

Review student makerspace journal pages for formative assessment and discuss with individuals as they work.

Conduct a whole group discussion to allow all students to share, discuss and compare their findings around different reasons why it is important to know about the weather.

     Lesson Overview     

          What symbols can we use to describe the weather?

In this lesson, student teams create symbols to illustrate weather patterns and then display one of the symbols each day to show a prediction of the weather at the start of the day. Students record the accuracy of their predictions by the end of each day on an ongoing class chart. After a period of time students evaluate the validity of their predictions.

Essential Questions:

  • What are some easy ways to represent different types of weather?
  • Why is it easier to use symbols to represent weather conditions?

LESSON PROCEDURE:

  • Show the Video Check Out the Weather
  • Ask the students the essential questions. Look for creative explanations, attention to detail, and encourage different points of view.
  • Talk about seasons and symbols that could represent the weather in the seasons.  Collectively decide on a class set of symbols to represent these weather conditions.
  • Explain to students that they will be recording each day’s weather predictions at the start of the day in their Maker Journals, and then check their predictions at the end of each day (for a set period of time)…..
  • Explain that at the end of each day students will will display the actual weather for that day on the class chart for all to see.
  • Pass out Maker Journal Page.
  • At the end of each day, students record on their Maker Journal pages the accuracy of their predictions for that day.
  • After a period of time students analyze the results of all predictions.
  • Students present their findings before an audience.

Essential Questions:

  • What do you notice about the difference in weather from our area to other areas?
  • Why do you think the weather appears differently in other areas?

Student Directions (Click + to open)

Sample teacher and student dialog: The following is a sample dialog between the teacher and the students in this lesson.

(Note:  T stands for teacher, and S stands for student, with additional advice in parenthesis)

T: “What are some easy ways/symbols we could use to represent weather?”

S: “snow flakes, rain drops, sun, heat lines, snowman, sunglasses, cloud blowing wind…”

T: “Let’s watch this video to see if we get any more ideas.”

T: “Record your ideas in your maker journal.”


Lesson Materials

Building Materials:

RAFT Makerspace-in-a-box         -or-

  • Materials (e.g., fabric samples, dust covers, foam pieces, deli containers, cardboard tubes, scraps, posters, shower caps, scrap materials, cards, scissors, wooden stir sticks, straws, spoons, pipettes, toothpicks, large balloons, wide mouth glass jars, heavy stock paper, thermometers, protractors, compasses, rulers, timer, fans, etc.)

Connecting Materials:

  • Various adhesives, connectors, and fasteners (e.g., paperclips, binder clips, thread, yarn, adhesive foam pads, tape, glue, labels & stickers, rubber bands, etc.)

Optional: a binder for each student to keep their Makerspace Journal pages in.

External Resources

Maker Journal Pages

Teacher Notes

Decide ahead whether to concentrate on comparing weather in local areas or non-local areas. Always preview videos ahead of showing to the class.  If possible, visit a local weather station, or have an expert in the field visit your class. 

Active Classroom

Communication is critical in the design process. Students need to be allowed to talk, stand, and move around to acquire materials. Tips for success in an active classroom environment:

1 –  Students can access any wall, board, or surface to gather and explore ideas — students personalize the working space to meet their needs.

2 – Students have regular opportunities to make choices, including choices about what they learn and how they learn it.

3 –Encourage students to learn and to demonstrate what they’ve learned in ways that best suit their individual learning styles.

4 – It is not a free-for-all!  Amount of prep and planning is evidenced by quality of student work and level of students’ engagement. All is carefully thought out in advance.

5 – Practice and predict clean-up strategies before beginning the activity. Ask students to offer suggestions for ensuring that they will leave a clean and useable space for the next activity. Students may enjoy creating very specific clean-up roles. Once these are established, the same student-owned strategies can be used every time hands-on learning occurs.

Learning Targets

Students will be able to:

  • Organize data and use symbols to describe weather conditions on a class chart.
  • Describe the importance of weather prediction to identify relationships and to describe patterns of weather conditions across different seasons.

Assessment

Student Self Assessment

Student teams review their reasons for why it is important to care about the weather; to predict and to report about the weather.

Peer Assessment

Student teams discuss and compare their findings and share different viewpoints. Students should compare their drawings and give explainations about why it is useful to predict and to report the weather.

Teacher Assessment

Review student makerspace journal pages for formative assessment and discuss with individuals as they work.

Conduct a whole group discussion to allow all students to share, discuss and compare their findings around different reasons why it is important to know about the weather.

Design Challenge Overview

In this design challenge, student teams design their own weather instruments and collect weather data to share and predict weather patterns.

Essential Questions:

  • How will you measure the weather?
  • Which element of weather will you measure?

LESSON PROCEDURE

  • Present and explain the Design Challenge.
  • Ask leading questions to help students co-create criteria and constraints  Possible criteria/constraints could include:
    • Teams may only use available materials
    • Weather instrument must have marking to measure by, or specific units of measurement
    • Instrument must show change in wind speed or direction, barometric pressure, temperature, or precipitation.
  • Students review DIY weather instrument videos from lesson 2 and determine which tool they will create
  • Students then prototype their ideas, test them by collecting data, and iterate until a tool is designed that meets all criteria and constraints, and students are able to reliably collect weather data.
  • Students collect weather data in their Maker Journals.  (This data is also needed in Lesson 6 for video presentations)

 

Introduce the Design Challenge (Click + to open)

(Note:  T stands for teacher, and S stands for student, with additional advice in parenthesis)

Sample Teacher and Student dialog

T: “Now that we’ve learned about different weather instruments, and why we want to record the weather, we’re going to create our own weather instruments using up-cycled materials.  What are some weather instruments that would be useful to measure weather where we live?”

S: “Anemometer, thermometer, barometer, rain gauge, weather vane.”

T:  “Before we start, what should our criteria and constraints be? Engineers design things using some rules about how the designs must behave or work.  These rules are called criteria Engineers can run out of materials, money, time to build, or space in which to build something.  In other words there are limits on how something can be built.  These limits are called constraints.”  (review the criteria and constraints for this challenge):

Criteria (design requirements) Constraints (design limitations)
  • Marking to measure by, or specific units of measurement
  • Show change in wind speed or direction, barometric pressure, temperature, or precipitation.
  • Instrument must be built with materials provided
  • Instrument must be completed and tested in the given time
  • Instrument needs to read weather occurring at your geographic location (rain gauges should be avoided in dry climates)

Ideate Students will brainstorm designs for their weather instruments. Keep in mind students may choose to or need to return to this phase as they iterate through the Design Thinking Process.

Student Directions (Click + to open)

Print out student data collection pages.  Distribute instrument-specific pages to students working on those instruments (anemometer is different from barometer page etc.)

T:  “Think about all the different weather instruments we studied.  You will now pick 1 type of instrument (anemometer, thermometer…) to make your own model.  As you choose what to build, consider which will be an exciting challenge.  Read carefully through your maker journal page as it will give you ideas for how your instrument works, and what criteria is important for each type of instrument.”  (Look at an example Maker Journal Page for an anemometer design together to point out how students can use this resource.)

S: (students record ideas on Maker Journal pages…)

Prototype

Students will build a model of their design based upon ideas generated from the Ideate Phase (keep in mind students may choose to or need to return to this phase as they iterate through the prototype, test, and retest phases)

Student Directions (Click + to open)

T: “Using your ideas from your ideate makerjournal page, build a model of your weather instrument.  Remember that you may need to return to the ideate phase as you discover what works and what does not work building your weather instrument.  You may need to re-build multiple times to find solutions that work well.

Revisit videos from lesson 2 to encourage student independence as they build prototypes.

How to Make a Thermometer

Hoopla Kids- How to make a wind vane

How to make an easy Anemometer

How to Make a Barometer- Hoopla Kids Lab

S: (students work together building their weather instrument models)

T: (Walk around teams, add encouragement if needed and look for examples of communication, collaboration, engaged conversations, involvement, cooperation, etc.) Can you improve your instrument?  Can it function for effectively? Does it meet all criteria and constraints?  Did you try using different materials?  Is it the right size?

Test your Design

Students test their prototype against all criteria and constraints.  Reflecting upon each test, students will determine how to next iterate their design. (Keep in mind students may choose to or need to return to this phase as they iterate)

Student Directions (Click + to open)

Print out student data collection pages.  Distribute instrument-specific pages to students working on those instruments (anemometer is different from barometer page etc.)

T: “Now that you have a prototype design, you will need to test it against all criteria and constraints.  How can test your instrument in real weather, or how can we mimic weather in the classroom to test your instruments?”

S: “We can use a fan for wind.  We can use water from the sink for rain.  We can take our instruments outside to measure the wind. etc.”

T: “With each test, you will record your results in your MakerJournal page.  Notice if your instrument is working as you expected.  Take notes that will help you improve your instrument.  Use the back of your MakerJournal page for extra note-taking space.”

 

Concept Quick Reference (Click + to open)

Dive deeper:

The History of the Barometer TED-Ed video

For student-made water-based thermometers to work, the assumption is that liquids and air will always become denser (take up less space) in lower temperatures.  What about ice?  Ice is less dense compared to liquid water.  Why does ice float in water? TED-Ed video

More on Anemometers:

While students will likely work on building cup anemometers, or ping-pong ball anemometers, there are many other ways to measure wind speed.  Some use ultrasonic sound waves, while others measure how much the passing wind cools a fine heated wire.  Airplanes typically use a pitot-static tube to measure airspeed.  Encourage interested students to learn more about the many ways we measure wind speed.

Vocabulary:

Criteria: a standard of judgment or criticism; a rule or principle for evaluating or testing something.

Constraints: The state of being restricted or confined within prescribed bounds.

Design Challenge Materials

Building Materials:

RAFT Using Data: to Find Weather Patters Design Challenge Box       -or-

  • Materials (e.g., fabric samples, dust covers, foam pieces, deli containers, cardboard tubes, scraps, posters, shower caps, scrap materials, cards, scissors, wooden stir sticks, straws, spoons, pipettes, toothpicks, large balloons, wide mouth glass jars, heavy stock paper, thermometers, protractors, compasses, rulers, timer, fans, etc.)

Connecting Materials:

  • Various adhesives, connectors, and fasteners (e.g., paperclips, binder clips, thread, yarn, adhesive foam pads, tape, glue, labels & stickers, rubber bands, etc.)

Optional: a binder for each student to keep their Makerspace Journal pages in.

Teacher Notes

Different weather instruments provide greater design challenges.  Allow for students to self-select their instrument after they all have a general understanding, as gained in lesson 2.  Encourage students to choose not only what interests them, but also what might be an exciting challenge.

Active Classroom

Communication is critical in the design process. Students need to be allowed to talk, stand, and move around to acquire materials. Tips for success in an active classroom environment:

1 –  Students can access any wall, board, or surface to gather and explore ideas — students personalize the working space to meet their needs.

2 – Students have regular opportunities to make choices, including choices about what they learn and how they learn it.

3 –Encourage students to learn and to demonstrate what they’ve learned in ways that best suit their individual learning styles.

4 – It is not a free-for-all!  Amount of prep and planning is evidenced by quality of student work and level of students’ engagement. All is carefully thought out in advance.

5 – Practice and predict clean-up strategies before beginning the activity. Ask students to offer suggestions for ensuring that they will leave a clean and useable space for the next activity. Students may enjoy creating very specific clean-up roles. Once these are established, the same student-owned strategies can be used every time hands-on learning occurs.

Learning Targets

Students will be able to:

  • Measure a weather characteristic
  • Represent data in tables to describe a weather characteristic

Assessment

Student Self Assessment

Student teams review their weather instrument’s functionality.  Reflections on their learning can be recorded on MakerJournal pages.

Peer Assessment

Student teams discuss and compare their findings and share different designs for weather instruments. Students should compare their prototypes, what worked well, and what could be improved.

Teacher Assessment

Review student makerspace journal pages for formative assessment and discuss with individuals as they work.

Conduct a whole group discussion to allow all students to share, discuss and compare their findings around different instruments used for measuring weather.

Sharing Weather Data – You’re a weather forecaster!

In this lesson, students create symbols that represent different types of weather and then use information about today’s weather to make their own local weather map. Student teams then produce a video of themselves presenting a weather report in front of the wall map to predict current weather conditions.

Essential Questions:

  • How wiill you present a forecast of the weather?

LESSON PROCEDURE

  • Ask leading questions to help students co-create criteria and constraints  Possible criteria/constraints could include:
    • The report should be based on a certain area and date (e.g., local for the current day or week)
    • Use of the class weather symbols created in lesson 3
    • Student teams may only have a set amount of time to create a weather forecast.
    • Their forecast video may need to include:
      • The name and location of the area
      • The date and time of the report
      • Clear explanations for their predictions
      • The current weather condition and prediction for future weather based on observations and data
  • Students create video their presentations and then share them with a meaningful audience. (Audience considerations: secure, able to give constructive feedback, audience that finds the information useful, etc.)

 

Student Directions (Click + to open)

(Note:  T stands for teacher, and S stands for student, with additional advice in parenthesis)

Organize students into teams of 2 persons, and then assemble teams together for a whole group discussion. Bein by sharing a video of students giving real televised weather reports: The Weather Kids on TBCN

T: “Now we will begin creating our own weather forecast presentations. What information needs to be shared in a weather report?”

S: “today’s weather; upcoming weather for the week; how the weather compares to other areas; how to interpret the weather map; etc.”

T:  “You and your team will create a video weather forecast. You need to create a weather map and then video yourself telling about the day’s weather report for your area. Your team will work together to design a weather map with symbols that represent your forecast using the materials provided” (show students where all materials are located).  “You take turns explaining the weather while your teammate video records you.  Then you will share your video with the the audience we have chosen.”

“Why would looking at a weather map give you more information than just listening to someone tell you what the weather would be for a certain day?”

S: (Answers vary) “Maps show weather and temperatures in different places; the movements of storms or air masses; areas with more rain or snow than others.”

 

 

 

 

Design Challenge Materials

Building Materials:

RAFT Makerspace-in-a-box         -or-

  • Materials (e.g., fabric samples, dust covers, foam pieces, deli containers, cardboard tubes, scraps, posters, shower caps, scrap materials, cards, scissors, wooden stir sticks, straws, spoons, pipettes, toothpicks, large balloons, wide mouth glass jars, heavy stock paper, thermometers, protractors, compasses, rulers, timer, fans, etc.)

Connecting Materials:

  • Various adhesives, connectors, and fasteners (e.g., paperclips, binder clips, thread, yarn, adhesive foam pads, tape, glue, labels & stickers, rubber bands, etc.)

Optional: a binder for each student to keep their Makerspace Journal pages in.

External Resources

Maker Journal Pages

Teacher Notes

Always preview videos ahead of showing to the class.  If possible, visit a local weather station, or have an expert in the field visit your class.

Active Classroom

Communication is critical in the design process. Students need to be allowed to talk, stand, and move around to acquire materials. Tips for success in an active classroom environment:

1 –  Students can access any wall, board, or surface to gather and explore ideas — students personalize the working space to meet their needs.

2 – Students have regular opportunities to make choices, including choices about what they learn and how they learn it.

3 –Encourage students to learn and to demonstrate what they’ve learned in ways that best suit their individual learning styles.

4 – It is not a free-for-all!  Amount of prep and planning is evidenced by quality of student work and level of students’ engagement. All is carefully thought out in advance.

5 – Practice and predict clean-up strategies before beginning the activity. Ask students to offer suggestions for ensuring that they will leave a clean and useable space for the next activity. Students may enjoy creating very specific clean-up roles. Once these are established, the same student-owned strategies can be used every time hands-on learning occurs.

Learning Targets

Students will be able to:

  • Design a weather map with weather symbols
  • Create a video show where they are weather forecasters explaining and predicting the weather on their weather map.
  • Present their video to an audience and answer questions about their production.

Assessment

Student Self Assessment

Student teams review their reasons for why it is important to care about the weather; to predict and to report about the weather.

Peer Assessment

Student teams discuss and compare their findings and share different viewpoints. Students should compare their drawings and give explainations about why it is useful to predict and to report the weather.

Teacher Assessment

Review student makerspace journal pages for formative assessment and discuss with individuals as they work.

Conduct a whole group discussion to allow all students to share, discuss and compare their findings around different reasons why it is important to know about the weather.