Temperature - What Season is This?

One day a teacher asked her special education students, "If it were 100 degrees outside, what would you wear?" Students' responses included everything from a coat to a pair of boots to a bikini. The teacher then realized that the special education students in her class had no idea what "temperature" meant! Nor did they know what temperatures are likely to occur in each season of the year.

Invitation

How can I teach students about temperatures? How can I get them to understand that each season has a particular temperature? Of course, the temperature is determined by the area in which you live. However, students should be aware of the seasonal temperatures that pertain to their area.

After completing this activity, the student will be able to determine the average temperature of the four seasons of the year and what temperatures would be considered hot, cold, warm and cool.

Subjects: Math, Science

Learning Levels: Preschool, Primary, Intermediate
Author: Wynnetta Jackson; Special Education faculty, District of Columbia Public Schools.

Time Frame

This unit can extend up to an entire school year. It will require about 1.5 hours a week, depending on Internet access. (The websites also give past temperatures, so the first part of the school year can be spent collecting temperatures for the previous summer months when students were not in school.) If you do not have Internet access in your school or classroom, you can also do this unit by using weather statistics from a local newspaper and modifying the list of "job assignments" described later on.

Tasks

Students will listen to the news nightly and/or visit a weather web site daily. Here are some weather sites:

The Weather Channel

Accuweather

In addition, most local television stations provide daily weather information on their web sites. Students will use these sites to record daily temperatures. If appropriate, students may also graph the daily temperatures.


Depending upon the grade level, ability, and age of the students, they may add the temperatures for the month and compute the average temperature. They may use a calculator. Students will learn how to compute averages.

Students will discuss the results of the information they've gathered for their graphs.

Interactions

The teacher will design a worksheet for recording information. These worksheets include a weather graph for the month, and a weekly temperature graph sheet. The students will work in small groups of 4 members. Each group will contain a mentor, a recorder, two researchers and a technician. Their responsibilities are as follows:

  • The mentor will design a checklist of daily responsibilities that should be completed. The mentor will also make sure that the responsibilities are completed.
  • The mentor will also be in charge of assigning tasks for the other members. These tasks, however, must be related to that person's list of responsibilities.
  • The researchers will gather the information from news channel or daily paper.
  • The technician will search the website in order to collect data.
  • The recorder will record all data collected and graph on weather chart.

You may wish to assign specific roles to particular students based on their individual needs and abilities. This can be particularly helpful when there are wide ability differences among your students.

Assessment

The students' charts and data information will be displayed outside of the classroom. Teachers will assess the students based on the following criteria:

  • the ability to work collaboratively
  • organization of their work
  • the quality of their written work
  • organization of data
  • ability to convey their message through the use charts and graphs

Tools

Computer, weather websites, newspapers, paper and pencils, graph paper, note paper, computer, overhead projector, transparencies.

 

 

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