Weather and Climate
In the elementary grades, students need to be familiar of some core concepts including the definitions of both weather and climate.
Weather: The current measurable state of heat or coldness of an area.
Climate: the long term measurement of the heat or coldness of an area.
Fahrenheit and Celsius
Students should also be familiar with both Fahrenheit (United States) and Celsius (rest of the world and all science applications) as the two ways to measure the temperature. While TV reporters in the United States will share the temperature forecast in degrees Fahrenheit. The rest of the world and the scientific community uses the Metric system and therefore states temperature in degrees Celsius. The metric system (Celsius) makes the most sense since it is based on a 100. Zero degrees Celsius is freezing and 100 degrees is the boiling point. Conversion of the Fahrenheit to Celsius could be done using these simple formulas and it is fun for your students to do the mathematical calculations.
Fahrenheit to Celsius:
(___°F − 32) × 5/9 = ___°C
Celsius to Fahrenheit:
(___°C × 9/5) + 32 = ___°F
Here is a free printable weather chart
we made for classroom and home use. Students should have practice using a weather chart as well as tracking rain using a rain gauge. Here is an under five dollar Rain Gauge
that will do the job. This will provide data for the chart.
Type of Clouds
Students should also be familiar with types of clouds and what each cloud means. Some teachers have their student make cloud books that serve as a reference for the visual look of each type of clous as well as the characteristics of each type of cloud. Others have their student draw clouds or journal about the clouds they see.
The general ideas of the water cycle should be introduced in the primary grades with the three core ideas of..
and reinforced in the upper elementary grades with additonal two core ideas of..
Weather Games and Simulations
The best way to observe science is by being a participant and seeing and hearing real weather patterns outside. To see and experiment with weather that might not be native to your environment because of season or geography, there are weather games and simulations. One great site for this is the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration
Upper Elementary Students Should Make more Connections
As students reach the upper grades, they should no only be able to identify additional types of clouds, but they should be able to further interpret weather data, and be aware of the environmental aspects related to weather including such topics as climate change and pollution.