In the Midwest seasons sway back and forth a bit before making a commitment.
In March I decided to capture the progression of weather in one day, knowing that it would snow in the morning but temperatures would rise quickly. Here are some photos and times.
Observation 1: Time: 7:17 AM Temperature: 28 degrees Fahrenheit
Observation 2: Time: 9:11 AM Temperature: 30 degrees Fahrenheit
Observation 3: Time: 11:17 AM Temperature: 40 degrees Fahrenheit
Observation 4: Time: 3:12 to 3:14 PM Temperature: 42 degrees Fahrenheit
By this time of day, the only clue that there had been snow is the dampness remaining on the wooden ruler.
Observation 5: Time: 7:20 PM Temperature:38 degrees Fahrenheit
It seems like the weather is a little wacky, but is it truly? Why did the snow melt so quickly? What temperature does water freeze at?
It fascinates me how much the weather in one day can vary. To make better observations, I could have recorded the information about temperature more consistently. Sometimes I checked two hours later or even four. A soil thermometer could have been used as well as the one for the air. If I had recorded the temperature for more than one day I would have had more to compare. Making reflections on what could be done differently next time is part of the process.
When our school had science fairs, as a student I was required to turn in a log of my time. Why was that important? At the time I thought it was just to make sure that I didn’t cram the project into one night’s work. Although that was part of it, no doubt learning the importance of keeping accurate records was another aspect. Why does accuracy matter?
When I taught young students, we recorded weather trends and then made a bar graph at the end of the month. We stored that information in a binder and students could look back at it during the school year.
With education taking place at home right now, what type of scientific observations can your family make?
Children enjoy routine.
Perhaps a daily weather check could become part of your routine. In the classroom, teachers often include this as part of calendar time. Beginning with a question to find the answer for is fun. Here are a few ideas:
* How does this month’s average temperature compare to last months?
* In April are most days sunny (in our area)? Are there more sunny days in May or April (in our area)?
* Think of a friend or family member who lives in another area or region of the world. Both your families can record weather information and then compare results. Remember to convert your observations so that you are using the same units (thirty two degrees Fahrenheit is very different than thirty two degrees Centigrade). We may be social distancing these days, but the internet connects us.
Looking up your states science education benchmarks and standards can help you make sure that your child is able to meet them. Here are a few from Indiana's Department of Education. I'm sharing ones for kindergarten, third, and sixth grade.
Indiana State Standards:
K.ESS.3 Investigate the local weather conditions to describe patterns over time.
3.ESS.1 Obtain and combine information to determine seasonal weather patterns across the different regions of the United States.
6-8.LST.5.2: Write informative texts, including scientific procedures/experiments or technical processes that include precise descriptions and conclusions drawn from data and research.
What is weather like where you live?
How do you adjust plans accordingly?
What local weather investigation can you and your family make? How will you record data?
What wacky weather observations did you make?