As with most my units, I work to design an assessment that helps the students better explain the things they have learned. Since there are some elements that forms of weather have in common, I combine the Science with some Math concepts to help illustrate the idea of weather element/number combinations. Whenever we can integrate subjects, it deepens the learning because students can better see how integrated knowledge is in real life. By creating a diagram, the student will demonstrate the things that comprise different forms of severe weather and explain it to a peer.
• Severe Weather Assessment Worksheet
The students came into the class after recess. I have them sit down on their carpet squares. I ask the students to think about the severe weather we studied. “If we were those kinds of weather, what would we look like? A tornado turns…” “Around!”, as they spin for a few seconds. “A hurricane…” “Spins!” Kinesthetic movement is a great way to help students experience and retain concepts so I give the students 20 seconds or so to explore this idea before I ring the chime. “We are going to create a diagram to explain how certain elements add up to different kinds of weather.” I introduce this idea to help them access the information that about features that were both unique and common to forms of weather.
I show them the Assessment paper with a picture of four different weather types (lightning, hurricanes, tornados, blizzards) from our lessons. The paper also lists different elements of weather (rotating wind, warm air, snow, electricity). Though there are many types of weather and elements, these gave a good sampling of those common in the US. I’ve attached a link to the Google Draw that I used to create the worksheet so you can adjust it to include weather that is a part of your environment. Assessments like this are valuable ways for students to demonstrate and share this new knowledge with others, so any time we can give them a form that makes it easy, it's a benefit to everyone.
“We get be meteorologists again and look at the different parts of these forms of severe weather. We’ll use these parts to put them together like an puzzle to show how they create a type of weather.”
• First, look at the different kinds of weather. Analyze them and think about what makes that weather.
• Next, look at the part of the paper that shows the different elements (rotating wind, warm air, snow, electricity).
• Then, cut out the different elements and match them to the kind of weather they make.
• After, glue the element combinations to the weather you chose.
• Last, explain to a partner why you made these choices.
Filling in a blank would be an easy choice, I wanted to increase the rigor to this summative assessment by adding the explanation step. To be successful with no prompting from me, I expect to hear comments like how a combination of strong wind and warm conditions indicate a certain kind of weather.
I have them go back to their tables and pass out the worksheet. “You’ll use this worksheet to show which elements combine to create a certain type of weather. Use the information you got from our lessons to remember the effects of each element and show what you...” "Know!". I end up with this short interaction to both focus the students on the task and engage them in the material. As they make their choices, connect the elements, and explain their decisions, I mingle around the class and check in with the students about their choices. The resulting products and related explanations act as a way to illustrate the students' processing of the severe weather lessons. The project based rubric attached is my way to look at this unit from a lens of a performance based assessment.