I often have ideas pop into my head throughout the day, and using the computer to observe and record the weather struck me the other day during one of our Spring thunderstorms. Many classes, including science classes in the middle grades, record and observe the weather on a daily or weekly basis. While there is nothing novel in the recording and graphing of local weather patterns, it wouldn’t take much more time to have students observe and record foreign weather patterns.
Using Weather.com or Accuweather.com, students could observe what the weather is like in another city, state, or country that they’re studying, helping to reinforce the connection between what happens in our own little world and what happens in the bigger world. Students could observe weather in another climate, study the trends in other locales versus our own, or they could follow the weather where a pen pal or family member lives. To top it all off, students could then record their data on a spreadsheet (Excel, Appleworks, etc.) and graph their findings to compare how weather changes throughout the school year not only in their local community, but also in other locations around the globe. It could be set up as a station within the classroom, or a job for certain students to perform each week.
That and I’ve never known a child (or adult) that isn’t eager to watch the Doppler Radar findings travel across a map, bringing all manner of weather.