And now for the weather …

Bronwyn WilsonLearning

There are some budding meteorologists emerging from Rooms 9 and 10 (Years 1 and 2) as they investigate the concept, or ‘central idea’: Weather affects our daily lives, in the unit of inquiry ‘How the world works’.

“We’ve been talking about the weather and how it affects our lives, the choices we make and how it is different around the world at any one time”, said Oscar. “We’ve done lots of experiments and looked at the water cycle and how rain occurs”, he added.

Students are encouraged to direct their own learning by asking lots of questions related to ‘lines of inquiry’ (which act as guides or starting points). They post their questions on the ‘wonder wall’ and this prompts them to research and look for answers for themselves. Some were using iPads to look at the weather in different parts of the world; others played computer-based games that included weather terminology and looked at the tools used to measure aspects of the weather; while others discovered that weather featured in their readers and often had an impact on the storyline.

Jake and Jade post their questions to the 'Wonder Wall'

Above: Jake and Jade post their questions to the ‘Wonder Wall’

Above: Students using computers, games and internet research to self-direct their learning.

Liam, Keegan and Adelaide (right) performed an experiment using shaving cream, water and food colouring that demonstrates how a cloud gets saturated and then starts to rain.

“That’s called precipitation”, explained Liam. “You can see how the food colouring goes through the shaving cream and starts to fall, just like rain.”

“We learnt a song about the water cycle too”, said Adelaide, “and it goes like this:
Water travels in a cycle, yes it does!
Water travels in a cycle, yes it does!
It goes up as evaporation
Then forms clouds as condensation
Then falls down as precipitation
Yes it does!”

(sung to the tune of She’ll be coming ‘round the mountain)

James has been researching hurricanes. He explained he had learnt “about the eye of the storm and how it is calm compared to the rest of the storm”.

“We’re demonstrating the water cycle by showing evaporation, condensation and precipitation on the window of our classroom”, shared Caleb and Layla.

“We measure the rain, air temperature, the wind speed and the wind direction on our weather buoy”, said Thomas and Imogen.

  • cloud experiment 3
  • cloud experiment 2
  • cloud experiment 1

James shares his investigations into hurricanes.

Caleb explains the water cycle

Thomas and Imogen read the rain gauge, thermometer and anemometer on the weather buoy.

The unit of inquiry culminates with each student presenting a weather report – just like on TV!

“During their presentations, I am looking for the students to use the terminology we have learnt correctly, and for them to demonstrate understanding of the concepts they have researched”, Mrs Fox of Room 9 explained, “This forms the basis of their ‘assessment’ ”.

The enthusiasm for learning in these classrooms is clearly evident and this reporter went away with the catchy song about the water cycle stuck in her brain.

The Learner Profile is central to the Primary Years Programme. During the year, the students are exposed to the Learner Profile characteristics that link with each unit of inquiry. Weather is a fantastic way to encourage children to be thinkers and inquirers as they explore the central idea!

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