Thunder and Lightning

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Students will be able to explain what causes thunder and lightening by creating a T-chart of facts about both types of weather.

Big Idea

The mystery of thunder and lightening is uncovered for Kindergarten students in this lesson about weather!


15 minutes

I ask students to sit on the meeting place rug to listen to a nonfiction text about thunder and lighting. 

I begin by saying, "Boys and girls, how many of you get scared when you see lightning. Or how many of you get scared when you hear thunder? Well, do you know what thunder and lighting are and where they come from?"

I take some time to have a discussion about this and let students talk with each other about what they know. Helping students to understand what causes thunder and lightening can alleviate their fears.

During their discussions, I have the opportunity to listen in on what prior knowledge they may have.  I can use this as a pre-assessment to guide my teaching for the rest of the lesson.

After giving them some time to talk about the topic, I bring them back together by saying, "one, two, three, eyes on me."

I read aloud a book that explains where lighting and thunder come from and how they work. 

Group Activity

15 minutes

When the book is finished, I ask students to get up and quietly go to their seats. At the front of the room I have two pieces of chart paper hanging on the board. One of them is labeled "Lightning" and the other is labeled, "Thunder".

I explain to the students that we are going to create fact charts about each of the topics, lightning and thunder. I remind students that a fact is something that we know to be real. It is not an opinion. Students have worked on fact and opinion in previous lessons throughout the year. They are familiar with those terms.

I say to students, "I'm going to give you a few minutes to have a table discussion about lightning and what we learned from the book. Talk about facts about lightning. When I ring the bell, I use turn taking sticks to call on students to give me facts about lightning to write on our fact chart."

Students discuss with their tables. After a few minutes, when I see that conversation is dying down, I ring a bell to get their attention. I pull turn taking sticks to call on students. We fill out the fact chart and repeat this process for the thunder chart.


10 minutes

To close this lesson, I want to find out if learning facts about thunder and lightning has changed the students perception of thunder and lightening.

I hand out science journals and ask students to turn to their next blank page. With the document camera, I model how to separate their page into two columns. I then model how to label each column with the words thunder and lightning.

I ask students to write or draw their feelings towards each word using faces. I show them how a smiley face would mean that I'm okay with thunder and/or lightning, a straight face means that I'm sort of okay with it but not totally unafraid and that a sad face would mean that I still don't like it.

I also ask them to share their responses with me as I walk around the room to monitor their progress.