Dress for the Weatherby: Nicole J. Glen and Lara K. Smetana

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“If someone were traveling to our area for the first time during this time of year, what would you tell them to bring to wear? Why?” This question was used to engage students in a guided-inquiry unit about how climate differs from weather. In this lesson, students explored local and national data sets to give “travelers” advice when preparing for a trip to Boston, Massachusetts in the spring. By using personally meaningful investigations to answer a variety of scientific questions related to weather and climate, students deepened their understanding of weather and climate and the factors affecting both.

  • Elementary
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Reviews (5)
  • on Fri Mar 11, 2011 5:50 PM

This lesson follows the 5E model of instruction to help students understand the difference between weather and climate. It starts out with having students examine the weather and climate in their own town so it creates personal relevance. It has a nice tie in to math skills as well.

Kate Geer  (Louisville, CO)
Kate Geer (Louisville, CO)

  • on Sat Feb 13, 2016 4:08 PM

While this article identifies the lesson is planned for grades 5-8, I believe that with a few modifications and perhaps by extending the activities over the length of a few days this lesson could be applied to the younger grades. Specifically, this lesson would fit in wonderfully with the NGSS for third grade and perhaps, with vast modifications, even for kindergarten. It is refreshing that this lesson involves an experiment/demonstration, and I think that that is critical for students learning about why temperature differences occur across the world. An expansion of this lesson for third grade could be to come up with or evaluate possible solutions to ameliorate the impact of weather hazards in areas where they are rampant.

Emily D
Emily D

  • on Thu Feb 26, 2015 5:44 PM

"Dress for the Weather" states that it would be appropriate for grades 5-8, however, I can imagine how a few changes could be made for the lessons and it could be adapted for younger grades. I plan to use some of the information in this article for science lessons on the weather in kindergarten. I found this article to be very informative and packed full of ideas on how to encourage students to learn more about weather, how to read charts as their pertain to temperature and explore new vocabulary words.

Amber S  (Anchorage, AK)
Amber S (Anchorage, AK)

  • on Thu Oct 30, 2014 12:19 PM

"Dress for the Weather" is great! Glen and Smetana do a great job explaining the details of the activities. First of all, I really like how Glen and Smetana capitalize on current weather conditions. Students also investigate relevant weather from their area. Relevancy to the learner is very important to better support learning! Also, the activities provide opportunities for collaboration, independent work, and group discussion. I also like that the students are guided to form their own definitions of weather and climate. This would make it clearer for understanding. Glen and Smetana provide different ways to extend student investigation. Some of the extensions could be used to differentiate instruction too. “Dress for the Weather” is adaptable to any location relevant to the students. Living in the Baltimore/Annapolis region, the lesson could easily be tailored to a Maryland location instead of Boston, Massachusetts. This makes this lesson a great resource for all teachers, regardless of location. Additionally, I think students could also do this investigation in the summer time. On a particularly warm day, the students could collect data from each sample (sand and water) as it heated outside. Then the students could actively participate in the science learning, as opposed to demonstration only. More math could then be added by having students find averages of the sand and water samples from individual student's or group's observations. I would like to see more hands on activities for the learners.

Jacqueline Goldston  (Glen Burnie, MD)
Jacqueline Goldston (Glen Burnie, MD)

  • on Sat Jul 19, 2014 1:03 PM

What a great inquiry approach to having students explore the differences between weather and climate. I know a lot of adults who mistakenly use the terms interchangeably. I thought this was well planned and many areas lend themselves to technology integration and extension activities.

Lynnea Shafter  (Boise, ID)
Lynnea Shafter (Boise, ID)

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