In this investigation your students use the weather on their birth dates to explore the difference between weather and climate. They explore what their lives and neighborhoods would be like if their birth date weather was the weather every day all year long, year after year. They then write a story or draw a picture of what life in their neighborhood would be like if it had "their climate".

 

Using the weather on each of your students' birth dates makes this investigation fun and personal. Each student looks at weather descriptors for one day, their birth date, but learns from other students how the weather changes from day to day as well. They learn that weather is different from climate. Weather is short-term or happening right now. Climate is long-term, it happens over years not days, weeks or months. They learn that climate affects the amount and forms of water and how they live.

 

What you'll need:

What you do:

 

The investigation is conducted in three parts: What Was the Weather?, Describe that Weather and Picture My Climate.

 

Part I: What was the Weather?

 

Ask your students to describe the weather today. The detail you require is up to you. Older students can measure the temperature, describe the cloud cover and types, measure the wind speed while younger students can use simple descriptors.

 

Now ask if anyone knows what the weather was like on the day they were born. Some might if there was big storm or if they've heard the story before. Or ask them to guess what the weather was like on their birth dates and share their guesses with the class. This is a great chance to talk about the seasons. Share what the weather was like on your birth date to get them started.

 

Hand out the weather information to each student for their birth date or birth month. If you use birth month data, students can work in groups to complete the My Climate Questions worksheet in class. Or hand out the worksheets and assign weather data collection and worksheet completion as homework. They might need grown-up help and will definitely need Internet access.

 

Part II: Describe that Weather

 

Work together using your collected data to complete the My Climate Questions worksheet or assign gathering the weather data and completion of the sheet as homework. The worksheet is very basic. If you want more details, you need to modify it to meet your needs.

 

Provide students the opportunity to share their descriptions of the weather on their birth dates so they see that weather changes from day to day, month to month, year to year.

 

Part III: Picture My Climate

 

The goal is for students to develop an understanding of the difference between weather and climate and how climate affects living things. Weather is short-term, daily, weekly, monthly or happening right now. Climate is long-term. Climate happens over years not days, weeks or months.

 

Ask students to think about these questions:

 

Have students write a story or draw a picture about what of it would be like to live in a place with "their climate". Share the stories or the drawings and talk about how life would change. You could even ask them to identify places on Earth where they think "their climate" really exists.