12 Resources to Study Weather with Students
Ever planned a family picnic only to have it rained out? Rather than think of it as missed outing, look at this as an opportunity to study weather with your children.
We all want to plan our outdoor events for when the weather is prime. Of course, you can just pick a time and hope for the best. Or you can get your students involved in learning weather forecasting skills and making educated predictions instead! Keep reading as we share resources and ideas to study weather as part of your homeschool.
Forecasting the weather, in large part, depends on observing what the weather is doing now elsewhere. You can start an exciting unit to study weather with your students using these four simple ideas:
- Elementary and junior high students can build and use weather tools. Instructions for children to build their own weather station, complete with rain gauges and barometers, can be found on sites like this one.
- Learning the lingo will help your kids navigate the world of weather. Check out local television weather websites, university weather web pages like Penn State’s, and sites like AccuWeather.com where they can read blogs that supply in-depth weather analysis. If you’re teaching a co-op class, ask your local weather forecaster for a tour of their meteorology station.
- Middle and high school students can use sites like that of the National Center for Atmospheric Research to see how professional meteorologists create weather models and make predictions.
- Students can also use social media to gather predictions from other amateur forecasters and learn about weather changes headed in your direction. Record their predictions and see how they pan out. Kids can create a “weather wiki” using a free Wikipages website and personalize their weather pages by adding fun weather facts or creating challenging questions for their readers. If you are involved in a co-op, your kids can work with other students to create a science, news, and weather forecast as a regular event. Look for more ideas on science news reporting in a future blog.
Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Physical Science includes a chapter on weather, including weather forecasting. You can find instructions for a month-long weather observation and prediction experiment and a log to record students’ findings in the accompanying student notebook.
Here are a few more great weather websites to visit:
Weather Wiz Kids
UCAR Center for Science Education
National Weather Service – Lightning information and safety
Vicki Dincher holds a master’s degree in biology. Her four children, all homeschooled, have earned or are pursuing graduate degrees in the sciences. Vicki has taught high school science, including Advanced Placement courses, since 1995. She remains active in her local homeschool community as director of Creative Home Educators Support Services (CHESS) and creative director for Encore! Home School Productions. Vicki has authored Apologia’s line of Student Notebooks for junior and high school science. Vicki and her husband, Jerry, live in Camp Hill, PA.