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PreK | Science & Tech | Mobile/Handheld
Station WTTW in Illinois
My Classroom Innovation
Over the course of this school year the Early Childhood division at our school has been thinking about more innovative and engaging ways for our students to learn about the weather. In the past, as in many schools, one of the jobs during circle time was the “weather reporter.” The student’s job was to look out the window, and then choose a weather word (i.e. cloudy, windy, sunny, etc.) from the weather wheel. The students had to choose from a given set of vocabulary words. In our reflection of this activity we began to ask these questions of ourselves: How do we talk about the weather as adults? How do people study the weather? Is weather only described in a couple words? The answers to these questions got me thinking. It was with these questions that I began to change how reporting the weather looked in my classroom.
Now we call the weather job the “Meteorologist” instead of the weather boy/girl or the weather reporter. The title alone encompasses more than just “reporting” but rather a person that studies the weather. At the beginning of the school day the student who is the Meteorologist goes outside with a teacher and an iPad to do our weather research. The teacher guides the observations and inquiry. We talk about the sky; noticing details like clouds, colors, and precipitation. We also talk about how it feels. Lastly, the child uses the camera App on the iPad to take a picture of the sky.
Then during circle time the Meteorologist is able to share their observations with their classmates. The child uses the iPad and interactive Whiteboard to display their picture for their classmates to see. From this picture the students not only hear the Meteorologist’s observations but are also able to draw their own observations and conclusions about the weather. Recently we added another resource to our study. In addition to the child’s observations we now are able to use The Weather Channel app on the iPad to compare and contrast our observations with those of real meteorologists. As an introduction to the Weather Channel app we also viewed the PBS video Sid the Science Kidd- “Predict the Weather” In the video my students were able to see that Sid also used the computer (like our iPad) to get information about the weather. We also went on a virtual field trip to hear from a real Meteorologist!
How Students were Engaged
We apply these observations when we are getting ready for recess. We are also able to use the app to get minute to minute updates. We are learning that the weather continues to change. For example, if later in our school day, when we go out to recess we are able to check the weather to see if we need to change what we wear or change our plans for recess. The children are also using more vocabulary than just the words cloudy and sunny. We are talking about temperature as well as learning about predictions and a long term forecast. And the children feel proud to be called the “Meteorologist” for the week!
PBS Program/Content Used
Sid the Science Kid-Video Predict the Weather