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Complete Homeschool Weather Unit

 

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Last year, I planned to write my own curriculum.  I got overwhelmed with too many ideas and we didn’t accomplish a lot.  That was why I gave it a shot during the preschool years. For kindergarten, I ordered us some curriculum to keep us on track, plus, with their dad against it but going along with it, I figured it would give him peace of mind to know she was learning what she needed to be.  We started and it all went just fine, there really aren’t any issues, but the truth is, I still would rather create my own unit.  So, I decided to go ahead and do just that, starting with a complete weather unit.

Complete Homeschool Weather Unit with Activities from toddler and up.

Our curriculum goes by themes and the last few weeks were all about the weather.  Living in Minnesota, we already are exposed to so many different types of weather.  Not only that, but Hurricane Matthew did a lot of damage during this unit.  That being said, I decided to NOT use our curriculum for our weather unit and just do it on my own and really have some fun with it.  The awesome part is, it all stemmed from one book.  That book is The Usborne Beginners Weather book.  I didn’t know when I started that it would all be based from this book, but as we were reading it for a bedtime story, I practically wrote it in my head, so here we are.

I love that I can teach an entire unit on weather using just this book. It's packed full of information in a fun and easy to understand way. Usborne Beginners Weather book .

Weather covers a wide variety of the different types of weather.  So – we are off.

Geography

If you are thinking – Hey, Shannon, weather and geography are pretty simple, well – you are correct.  They are.  The beginning of the book tells kids that every kind of weather is happening somewhere in the world right now.  So, we busted out our map and had fun taking turns pointing to an area and making guesses on what type of weather they experience and then researching to see if we were correct.  By talking about the landscape of each area, as well as where it was located on Earth, we could make good guesses and it was a lot of fun.

Math

We had some fun charting the different weather we experienced during our few weeks of this unit.  I think I’ll keep the pages so that if we cover the weather unit again in the next few years, we can compare that year with this year and talk about the differences.

We love to play memory, so we also had a snowflake memory game.

Coloring

We love to color, so we printed out  water cycle coloring sheets to show and talk about how the water that falls on our house from the rain is the same water from the oceans that are nowhere near us.

*Internet activity*  We visited one of the quicklinks in the book and saw how rain is formed and how water moves in the water cycle.  

Art

We already LOVE to look at the clouds and discuss what type of weather they will bring.  My four year old is a budding meteorologist and carries a water bottle around, calling it his radar.  It’s so adorable!  So, after reading about the different types of clouds we might see in the sky, we also had some fun making the different types of clouds.  I wrote the different types of clouds on the paper.  They used glue to draw designs and then glued on the cotton balls, pulling them apart or squishing them up to show the types of clouds.cloud-pictures

*Internet activity* We visited the internet link and watched what clouds are made of.  

Of course, when talking about snow and ice crystals, one must always make snowflakes with glitter, right?!  It’s a great way to add in some math concepts like symmetry or for preschool age kids, talking about how many points each snowflake has.

 

Science

I feel like, by it’s very nature – weather is all about science.  Every part of it has some basis in science, but we love experiments so we had lots of fun with this.

How clouds make rain.  Anytime the kids can be hands on, they have so much fun with it.  This was no different.  I filled our sensory tub with water and added blue food coloring to help them visualize it better.  Then, I handed them some cotton balls to dip in the water and then hold up to let it rain.  We talked about how the “clouds” absorb the water and when they can’t hold more, the rain falls to the ground.  They could see how holding it under water longer made the rain fall faster and longer.

*Internet activity*  Same as in the cloud art – we watched what clouds are made of.  

Melting ice hypothesis.  We did this last winter, but changed it up to fit this unit even when snow wasn’t readily available.  Last year, we took a mason jar outside and put in a bunch of snow.  We drew a line in black around the top of where the snow was.  Then, we each took a different colored marker and placed our mark where we thought the water level would be once it all melted.  Since there’s no snow yet, we used ice and did the same thing.  Then, we drew our marks where it was when it was all melted and discussed our results.  We also used these sheets to write down our hypothesis to keep in our science journals.

Make lightning.  It’s super simple, quick and tons of fun!

Make a thunderstorm.  This was such a fun, visual way to see how the storm forms and what happens when the hot and cold water meet.

*Internet Activity*  Watch video clip on what is thunder in the internet links for this book.  

We have had quite a few thunderstorms in Minnesota this summer and there was so much lightning.  We would turn off all of the lights, curl up together on the couch and look out the windows watching it all.  It’s sort of peaceful to watch the lightning {even though the thunder always makes me jump}.

Wind.  Wind is always a fun thing to study and we had a blast!  We brought in a fan which they thought was so cool anyways.  I had them each gather about 3 things each.  We took out our science experiment worksheets and wrote or drew our predictions about whether each thing would blow away in the breeze or stay put.  We had three different wind speeds and drew them in the correct column, then added these to our science journals.  The laundry basket was a great opportunity to talk about how when the wind wasn’t so strong, the basket stayed on her hand.  When we turned up the wind, it was able to blow the basket to the ground.    Since Hurricane Matthew was so recent, we had just talked a lot about this.The kids had so much fun with this science experiment about wind. It was fun for our homeschool weather unit.

Tornado.  Let’s be honest here, I am terrified of tornadoes.  But, Charlie thinks they are so fascinating and always tells me he hopes our house gets picked up in a tornado.  He obviously doesn’t get that it won’t come back when it’s all said and done {either that or he really hates our house}.  So – to demonstrate, we made a tornado in a jar.

*Internet Activity*  Visit the internet link and watch a video clip of a tornado.  If doing this in season, news reports on recent tornadoes might also be available.

Weather Cycle.  This simple ziplock bag water cycle experiment perfectly demonstrates in a very concrete way what is happening so kids can better understand it.

*Internet Activity* Watch internet linked video of the water cycle.  

 

Writing.  Since I’m doing this unit with a kindergartener, preschooler and a toddler, I add some things for them all.  Henry {just about 2} got to color some pictures with different weather scenes on them.  Charlie {4} practiced writing his name in shaving cream {aka clouds}.  Maggie {6} had some creative writing fun with writing sheets for each of the four seasons.  We always use our Not Your Everyday Illustrated Thesaurus for writing to enhance vocabulary {and because I love that book}.

Sensory.

Henry loves sensory play more than any kid I’ve ever met.  To make our school time go much more smoothly with less interruptions from him, I always keep some sort of sensory activities out for him.  All of the kids enjoy the activities and they always reinforce our learning concepts.  For our weather unit, we had a few different ones.

 

Make rain.  We brought in our standing water table and filled it partway up and added in some blue food coloring so we could see what was happening.  Then, I gave the kids some cotton balls and showed them how the cotton ball was dry.  We discussed what we thought would happen when we put it in the water and wrote our hypotheses down in our science journal.  Then, we tested it out.  We put the cotton ball in the water.  Some for a short time, some for longer.  Then, we lifted them out and let it rain.  By all doing it for a different length of time, they were able to see that the longer it was in the water, the more water it absorbed and the harder it rained.  We were able to talk about how as clouds fill up with more and more water droplets, the fuller they became until they were so full that they dropped rain out.  Of course this was a favorite – water is always the best!  I left this out for a few days but we had to keep changing the cotton balls.  I also added in some bath toys that allowed less or more water to flow through.  After our experiment, I added in the bath toys that let the water drain through them for the kids to keep making rain.

 

Clouds.  I just added in some cotton balls to this bin to represent clouds.  They were free to play with them whole or pull them apart, forming different clouds.  Henry had lots of fun using the tweezers to move the cotton balls from cup to cup.

 

Fake Snow.  I did this with our habitat unit a few weeks ago, but they loved it so I figured we would add it in some more.  Just add some baking soda to your sensory bin and add in some white hair conditioner and mix it up.  It’s up to you on what ratio you use.

 

Dramatic Play.  Since we haven’t completed our stage yet, I set up that corner as a weather station for the kids and they had so much fun.  We recorded the news a few times so they could see examples of how a weather report is done on a news station.  Then, they could dress up in daddy’s shirts and tie or wear whatever they wanted.  They had a pointer {unless Henry wondered off with it again}, we taped up our felt U.S. map, cut out some weather symbols, stuck velcro on the backs of them and gave our weather reports.Our DIY weather station dramatic play center was such a hit for our weather unit.

 

Additional Books.

We use a variety of other weather related books to reinforce the concepts we are learning about.  You can check out my complete list of Usborne Weather books.

Internet Education or Screen Time.

Everybody has their opinion on this, but I believe using to learn the internet safely and how to use a computer or tablet is important.  Once a week {usually Friday} we have our *free* day.  The kids think it’s just another fun day but it’s packed with learning.  We use this day for field trips or screen time.  This is why I keep my sanity.  Having one day that doesn’t require much effort from me, yet the kids are still learning on topic information.  One reason I really love Usborne Books is because not only is there so much information packed into each book in such a fun, engaging way, but many books also have internet links.  By visiting the internet linked site, you can expand on what you are learning about.  I used some of these as we went along and were discussing things.  I marked an * where we used each internet linked site throughout this post.

We also watched the Sid the Science Kid Weather episode.

 

Other stuff

Cloud spotting!  *Internet activity* After watching the video on what clouds are made of, doing our art project and science cloud activity, we headed outside to spot some clouds and what shapes we saw in them.

 

Field Trip Fun  We were trying to get a hold of the weather stations in the area to see if we could do a tour but we never heard back.  I know that there was a homeschool tour of the station last year though, so it might be worth checking out.

 

 

Our weather unit was SO MUCH FUN!  What are some of your favorite ways to learn about the weather?

 

 

 

 

 

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