Outdoor Meteorologist


The students were so eager to plant the pumpkin seeds they discovered, but one of the things they learned was that pumpkin are normally planted in warm weather.  They were so sad to find out that they could have potentially missed an opportunity to plant their pumpkin seeds.  As they talk more and more with their teacher, the question changed a little.  They began to wonder if the weather here could be warm enough to plant pumpkin seeds.  The teacher insisted that the class investigate to find out the answer. After one of our parents brought in a rain gauge and outdoor thermometer, the students examined these items and discussed how these tools could help them determine the temperature and how much water would be needed for the garden.  The class went outside to discuss what items they planned to observe.  The students understood that they would need to know the weather and the amount of rain.  The students have also been learning the various types of clouds.  The class all sat in the grass and discussed their goals for outside.  Teagan then says, “Why do the clouds keep changing shapes?”  Nohea chimes in, “Yeah, because one day a see a dog, and then next day, I don’t.”  To help the students discover the answer to their questions, the students also began to track cloud shapes.

The students searched for the best place to discover their answers.

The students discussed the clouds with one another and the teacher.  “This cloud is big and fluffy,” Preston stated as he searched his cloud viewer for the name. “So, its a Cumulus cloud,” Preston concluded. While some of the students focused on their cloud observation, some of the students began to move to the thermometer and rain gauge.  The students look for the red line to determine the temperature.  They were unsure as to which side of the thermometer to read.  The teacher talked with the students about Celsius and Fahrenheit.  “The thermometer says 100?” Jennifer asked.  The student were all shocked at how hot it was.  The students then made a note of the temperature.  The students counted by tens until they reached the end of the red line.  What about the amount of rain that has fallen? the teacher asked. The students looked at the rain gauge.  This tool measured rainfall in inches.  The students were pleased that the recognized the word inches that was written at the bottom of the rain gauge. With the information they gathered, they began to document their findings.  The students started to fill in a graph where they intend to track the temperature.  The class discussed the different types of graphs.  Nohea told the class about picture graphs while the teacher talked with the class about bar graphs.  The students went to work. 

These are some of the notes they gathered as well as the graphs they began to fill out.

This activity focused on the following learning goals:

*  (1) Mathematical process standards. The student uses mathematical processes to acquire and demonstrate mathematical understanding. The student is expected to:

      (A) apply mathematics to problems arising in everyday life, society, and the workplace;

      (D) communicatemathematical ideas, reasoning, and their implications using multiple representations, including symbols, diagrams, graphs, and language

* (8) Data analysis. The student applies mathematical process standards to organize data to make it useful for interpreting information and solving problems. The student is expected to:

      (A) collect, sort, and organize data in up to three categories using models/representations such as tally marks or T-charts;

       (B) use data to create picture and bar-type graphs; and

      (C) draw conclusions and generate and answer questions using information from picture and bar-type graphs.

*  (5) Patterns, relationships, and algebraic thinking. The student recognizes patterns in numbers and operations. The student is expected to:

     (A) use patterns to skip count by twos, fives, and tens;

*  (8) Earth and space. The student knows that there are recognizable patterns in the natural world and among objects in the sky. The student is expected to:

     (A) observe and describe weather changes from day to day and over seasons;

     (B) identify events that have repeating patterns, including seasons of the year and day and night; and

     (C) observe, describe, and illustrate objects in the sky such as the clouds, Moon, and stars, including the Sun.


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