I rang my chime to get the class’s attention. I announced that we were about to begin the seventh Science lesson in our unit about weather. I asked them to return to the carpet squares and ‘Show Five’.
Once seated, I briefly reviewed the motions we used to illustrate the different types of weather. I review hand motions to represent these different meteorological elements- hands moving fast, pressing down, waving near my face, and wiping my forehead. This was an opportunity to review thine elements we studied in yesterday's lesson, not necessarily a point of instruction so I kept this step very casual. I gave them 2-3 minutes to explore this idea before I get their attention with the ring of our chime.
"Meteorologists are people who take all this information about weather, analyze the changes they observe, and make predictions about future weather. In the next step of this lesson, we're going to do the same thing. How would you like to be meteorologists?" "Yay!" I give them minute to think about it before I announce the next step. “How do you think we can find out if we are right?” “Look outside” “Watch the news?” “Since we are meteorologists, we do both- compare data we collected from our previous observations and compare it to data we collect from other weather resources. Today, we'll look at the weather pattern we tracked yesterday and compare it to the forecast from the newspaper to test the accuracy of our prediction. Basically, we want to see how close we can be."
At this point, I want to make an important point about Science. By design, mistakes have to be made because they lead to adjustments that improve the accuracy of the data and analysis. "How many of you have made a mistake?" "Me!" "We talk a lot about the way that mistakes are important because they help us lear, right?" "Yay, I made a mistake!" "Absolutely! When we make a mistake, we celebrate because we've just learned more. So let's compare our data with the newspaper's prediction and analyze what we find."
I use the chime to dismiss the students by groups back to the tables. When they are all seated, I continue with the instruction. “This part of the lesson is easy. We're going to use the data and prediction we recorded yesterday and compare it to the weather forecast from today's newspaper." Collaboration is an important part of the forecasting process so I was sure to add, "Take time to consult with each other and share your prediction about today's weather. After to share, we'll compare it to the newspaper.”
After they complete this quick step, we gather back on the carpet squares. I get out the prediction chart that we made yesterday and tell them “It’s time for us to be meteorologists again." I use the document camera (an overhead projector, Smart Board, or even chart paper would work as well) to project the local newspaper's weather page, where we search for today’s weather. "Let's take a look at what the paper said about today's weather. I need a Daily Helper to come up and point out the weather prediction." I guide the Helper to the Weather Forecast area of the paper.
"To save space and represent the weather a way that's easier to understand way, meteorologists use symbols to show the weather. Let's find the symbol that shows yesterday's weather. What day was it again?" "Tuesday" "Right. Since today is Wednesday, yesterday was Tuesday." I use this simple opportunity to review the concept of time. Since it's something we refer to so often, any small opportunity to reinforce this concept is a smart teaching strategy. "What does this symbol show us?" "The picture shows clouds. They think it was cloudy." "Right. So how did that compare to our prediction?" "It was the same one. We all said cloudy." "Let's mark the agreement by putting a blue frame around our prediction to show we agreed. If our forecast was different than the Weather Service, we could frame it in a different color." I ask the Daily Helper to put a blue box around the 'Tomorrow' box to highlight our prediction. This kind of color coding is a helpful way for the students to both retain the information and organization their learning. At this point, the instructional piece is complete so we end the instructional part of the lesson and move to the Wrap Up.
After we compare our predictions with the weather results, we post the result in the Science Center. I asked the class, "Why is it important to know about future weather?" "'Cause then you can prepare in case it rains." "So what else would we need to know?" "How hot" "No, cold!" "Can we agree that it's important to know the weather so we can make sure that we will be comfortable and safe? "Yes!" "Then that's a great place to start!"