Weather and climate may be confusing to
students at this age. Climate is the overall weather patterns over time in
certain regions. Weather usually refers to the situation at one given time.
Climates are different in different locations.
Climate is determined by analyzing yearly
charts of surface weather patterns, upper wind patterns, high and low
temperatures, and precipitation. There are many areas where topography or the
relief of the surrounding area influences what is called
"microclimate." For instance being close to a mountain can make the
climate more windy, than a community that lives away from the mountain.
Distinguish for students that seasons are caused by the angle of the Sunís
ray caused by the Earthís tilted axis. The seasonís influence the general
climate, but mountains, land, and vegetation also exert an influence.
The object of this activity is to have
students think about the climate in their own local area.
- To emphasize the difference between
weather and climate, use the tornado maker. Ask students if a tornado is
climate or weather. A tornado is a weather condition. In some climates,
tornadoes may be more common.
- Students will have to use their past
knowledge of the area in order to do this worksheet. If you have any
"new" students to this region, have them do the area that they lived
in within the last year. Students should think about the weather in their
backyards when they answer the questions.
- Temperatures should be given as very
hot, hot, warm, cool, cold, very cold. Let them fill in the worksheets on
their own for a few minutes or send them home as a homework assignment. The
second part of the worksheet asks students to think of a relative or friend
who lives in another type of climate.
- Go over the worksheet with the class.
Students may have some stereotypical views of the climate caused by a
confusion of seasons. For example, they may think that plants do not grow in
the winter because so many books talk about winter as a time when plants are
dormant because there is lots of snow. Not true! Arizona, California, Hawaii,
and many other areas are warm enough to grow produce.
- Climates can be mild, hot, cool, cold,
warm, or any other descriptive term. Children with no other experiences than
their own state in which they reside, may not realize that there are other
climates. Make sure you point out the geographic region you are talking about
by showing students a map of the United States.
- If you have Internet access, you can
have the students look at weather occurring in different regions of the
Site summarizes many other sites that are on line. Quick
and easy to search your particular area.
National Weather Service maintains
information on most major cities in each state. This site is a little slower
than the one mentioned above, but it has more detailed and scientifically