Where'd the Wind Come From?
Lesson 4 of 7
Objective: SWBAT understand and explain where wind comes from by using a flow chart.
To begin this lesson, I call one table at a time to come sit on the floor like scientists. This means that their hands are in their laps and they are ready to listen and learn.
I start by turning on a small table fan that I have pointed at the kids. I ask them how it feels. Some say cold, but a few say windy.
I say, "Exactly! I was thinking about the wind today and I wonder where wind comes from."
I then ask the kids where they think wind comes from. I pose the question, "Where do you think wind comes from?" I have the kid think silently to themselves for 20 seconds and then turn to their floor partner and share their ideas.
At this point, they are free to share any ideas that they may have, even if their mythical. Once they've shared with their floor partner I call on three or four kids to share with the whole class.
This procedure not only saves class time, but also requires everyone to share as well as be heard.
To choose the three or four kids who share, I pull random name sticks from a name stick can. This way the kids don't know when they will be called on and they all apply themselves hoping they will be chosen. Most of my kids love when their stick is pulled.
We remain seated on the floor as we brainstorm the possible causes of wind. I record the ideas the kids have shared with their floor partners on chart paper to use later in the lesson.
The kids come up with some great ideas including the thought that clouds blow air, the earth is pushing, the earth is spinning fast, and God blows it. Since they are brainstorming, all answers are positively received and listed on our poster. This is important because the foundation of all we know in science began with beliefs like the earth is flat or spontaneous life from a rock and through inquiry and observation, was later replaced with more reasonable explanations.
I then read a book to the kids called, Wind by Erin Edison. The book is a beginning weather book that explains the process of wind in a simplified way.
As I read the text, I stop at points of interest to the kids. I can tell when to stop by how they sit and listen or when they "act out" in a curious way. Each time I see that, we pause the reading to have a discussion. As a general rule, if I've never read a book before, I pre-read it at home and put sticky notes where I plan to stop and discuss. I've read this text so many times, it's no longer necessary for me to do that. I let the kids guide the discussion instead.
After reading the book, Wind, I have the kids take a quick stretch break by getting up and pretending to be a flower in the wind. Most of my boys like to act like a tree, so that's always given as an option. I do this for two reasons:
- helps with promoting positive behavior. It's hard to sit too long, even for adults.
- It brings the concept of wind to a fun personal level so the kids can connect to the topic.
After the quick brain break, I have the kids once again think silently to themselves about where wind comes from. I give them another 20 seconds to think about what they heard in the text and discussions and then have them turn to their floor partners to share what they understood or remembered.
I choose three more kids to share with the whole what they discussed with their floor partners. This supports language development, listening skills and interest.
We then watch the ever mesmerizing, Bill Nye the Science Guy. The video is a little above most of their cognitive abilities, but since we read the book first, they get the gist of the concept.
Once the video is over, we repeat our think-pair-share about wind one more time. Each time they think, pair up and share with their floor partner, it is hoped that they are able to communicate just one more small detail that they didn't have before. It also helps them hear and share the same information multiple times so they begin to "own it."
The evaluation for the learning in this lesson is simple.
1) We first refer back to the chart that we created and remove any of the ideas that we no longer believe are sound. We read each one and take a vote on whether it should remain on the list or not. If not, we cross it off. I found it precious that the kids chose to leave God on the list because even though He doesn't blow wind at people, He made the warm and cold air that does. So, it remains.
2) Each student is provided a wind diagram and asked to follow the flow that has to happen in order for wind to occur. As the kids work, I roam the room and ask them to explain what they are doing and how wind is created.
I call each table leader up to get a diagram for each student at their table before having the kids go to the tables to do their work.
Once the kids are finished, we gather back on the floor calmly with our completed diagrams. I have the kids share their work with their floor partners and explain how wind is created by using the diagram as a "map" of explanation. I then pull three more name sticks for kids to come sit in the teacher chair and share all that they learned.
This strategy promotes listening and speaking skills as well as a basic level of forming scientific arguments.
To close the main sections of this lesson, we do a quick review of our poster and what we learned from our diagrams.
I extend the lesson into a home-school connection through a mini-reader. We gather on the floor and learn the book together. I incorporate many repeated high frequency words to mimic our core reading program and to support ELA learning.
- The kids track with their finger as the I read the text. They only use their eyes to connect to the text; they do not read yet.
- The kids read with me as I read the text and they track the words with their finger.
- The kids read out loud as they track the words with their finger.
- The kids turn to their floor partner and take turns reading the pages of the mini-book.
By the time the kids have heard and read the mini-book four times, they are prepared to take them home and read them with their families.