So much is happening above our heads—let’s take a look at some of the weather and what makes it happen! This unit is packed with science experiments, as well as opportunities to work on writing, math, and even physics! Get ready for some major brain “storms.” ⛈️⛈️ Click here for a downloadable tracking document for your records.
Note: Occasionally we include project upgrades (for kids ready for more). We’ll mark those with the plus (+) symbol.
What you need:
Books (find at your local library or order below on Amazon):
- A Drop Around the World by Barbara Shaw McKinney (or read it here on OpenLibrary)
- Weather Words and What They Mean by Gail Gibbons (or read it on OpenLibrary here)
- When the Wind Blows by Stacy Clark
Supplies (use what you have, but here are links to shop if you need anything):
- white cardstock
- colored pencils
- glue stick
- a brad
- clear straw
- permanent markers
- small bottle
- rubbing alcohol
- food coloring
- modeling clay (or playdough)
- eye dropper
- paper + access to a printer (don’t have one? we like this model)
- cotton balls
- watercolor paint
- dry ice (available at some grocery stores and Walmart)
- laminator + laminator sheets (optional, but recommended for repeating lessons)
- dry erase markers
- ingredients for this recipe
- clear plastic cup
- 2-liter soda bottle
- brown paper bag
- styrofoam plate (or piece of styrofoam)
- aluminum pie plate
- unsharpened pencil with eraser
- metal thumbtack
- piece of wool (you could use a hat or scarf)
- surveyor’s tape (or light ribbon)
- paper reinforcers (optional)
- construction paper
What to do:
We recommend doing the below lessons in this order to build on each skill your child will develop, but don’t feel that you *need* to do them in this order. Do what works for you and your child. If they love an activity, feel free to repeat! Not a winner? Skip and try the next thing. Have fun!
New to our phonics guide? Start here. The Phonics Guide this week will highlight the OU phonogram. Students will learn the four different sounds the OU makes, including the /ow/ sound in the word “cloud.”
Before we get to the weather, let’s have a quick refresher on the water cycle. If you were with us in Level 1, some of these experiments will feel familiar but your child’s understanding will be much deeper.
Activity 1: Create a water cycle wheel. Once it’s put together, read A Drop Around the World, letting your child play with the wheel to demonstrate the water’s journey.
Activity 3: Let’s create a raincloud in a jar! You will need a glass jar (or glass cup), foamy shaving cream, blue food coloring, an eye dropper or pipette, and water.
Begin by filling the jar about 3/4s full with water. Create a foamy cloud above this with the shaving cream.
In a separate cup or bowl, mix a few drops of food coloring with some water. Use the eye dropper to start dripping the food coloring mixture into the center of your cloud. (You may wish to have your child count how many drops they add before the “rain” starts to leak through the cloud.)
The shaving cream represents the clouds and the water represents the air. The colored water represents rain. As the colored water saturates the “cloud”, it gets heavy and eventually is so heavy that it can no longer hold the water. It “rains” down into the jar – through the “air.” It is just like real rain falls through the air.
Activity 4: Let’s work on recording some data about the weather around your house! Print these two sheets. Use the first sheet to record your weather for up to nine days, using tally marks to record your child’s observations. At the end of the week or nine days, use the second sheet to graph your results!
As your child collects their data every day, use this time for some copywork. First, write a sentence at the top of a piece of line paper for your child to model. (For example, “Today is a sunny day.”) Present it to your child and have them copy the sentence below your model. Do this every day this week, varying the sentence as needed. This activity is also a good way to practice writing the date.
***Click here to watch our video about how to do copywork with your child.
***To learn more about why copywork is an effective method of teaching writing skills, read this blog post by one of our Charlotte Mason expert contributors.
Today, let’s focus on one very important part of the rain cycle—clouds! Start by reading the pages in Weather Words and What They Mean all about clouds (pages 12-18).
Activity 1: Let’s break down the different types of clouds. This simple craft will help your child remember all their names.
Activity 2: If you live in a very foggy area, your child might already have an idea of what a cloud feels like. If not, you can simulate the experience with some dry ice and water. If you’re able to purchase dry ice (many grocery stores and Walmarts sell it), using thick work gloves, put a large chunk in the kitchen sink. (Be sure to tell your child not to touch it—dry ice is so cold it can burn your skin!) Next, turn on the water until a puffy white cloud builds up. Carefully, let your child run their hands through the “cloud.” Now they know what it would be like to touch a cloud!
Activity 3: Get a little practice writing numbers 0-20 with these charming cloud cards. (If you were with us for Level 1, you may already have these cards printed.) If you laminate these cards, you can use dry erase markers to practice writing.
Activity 4: Ready for a cloud activity you can really sink your teeth into? This simple Cloud Bread recipe is made with just three ingredients!
When you listen to the weather report, you often hear discussions about temperature, pressure, and moisture—but what does that mean? Today, we’ll learn a bit about what causes the weather we see and feel outside our window. Start by reading the beginning of Weather Words and What They Mean. There is a lot of information in this book, so for today, let’s focus on the pages up until page 11 (finish with the section titled “Moisture”).
Activity 1: Temperature refers to how warm or cold the air is. We tell the temperature using a thermometer. A thermometer looks like this, but today we will build our own. Watch this video to see how to complete this activity, then click here for more detailed instructions and an explanation of the science behind the activity.
Note: Don’t feel the need to read every part of the explanation to your child. For now, it’s enough to understand the basic principles at play: As the temperature of the fluid (liquid and air) in the reservoir increases, it expands, and the only place it can go is up the narrow tube. If the temperature of the fluid decreases, it contracts, thereby allowing more fluid to collect in the reservoir. The level in the narrow tube then falls to a lower level. Once a thermometer is built, each level in the narrow tube corresponds to exactly one volume of fluid, and thus, to exactly one temperature.
Activity 2: Feeling the pressure? Depending on the weather by your home, you might be! Meteorologists (scientists who study the weather) use an instrument called a barometer to tell the air pressure. Let’s build our own with this tutorial.
Today, let’s talk about some of the results of extreme weather pressure, starting with wind! Start by reading the last four pages of Weather Words and What They Mean to understand what causes wind. Next, let’s read When the Wind Blows before moving on to our activities.
Activity 1: Let’s use a little wind power with this simple DIY kite tutorial! (Tip: If the weather isn’t kite-worthy by you, try using parchment paper to make a super-light kite that will fly even without wind—just have your child run as fast as they can holding the string!)
Activity 2: When wind becomes extreme, the result can be a hurricane! This activity shares how hurricanes form. (You can also read the pages in Weather Words and What They Mean about extreme weather.) Next, do the hurricane in a bowl experiment to demonstrate what happens to wind and rain in a hurricane.
Activity 3: Worried about extreme weather? Don’t worry—with a little preparation, you and your family can know exactly what to do in case of storms. Watch this video for kids from FEMA for some kid-friendly tips and explanations.
Activity 4: Puddle jump math activity. Let’s work on some math while also getting in some gross motor movement! Begin by creating 10-20 “puddles” out of blue construction paper (these don’t have to be fancy—any puddle shape will do!). Use a black marker to write the numbers 1-20 on your puddles.
Next, use tape to affix them securely to the ground. You can do this indoors or outdoors. Now, it’s time to play! There are a number of ways you can play with your puddles:
- (-) Begin by having your child jump on the puddles in number order. This can also be helpful with younger children who are still working on number recognition.
- Next, try having them jump on the puddles counting backwards!
- Once they are on a puddle, call out a command like “jump to a puddle that is a bigger number” or jump to a puddle that is 2 smaller than the number you are on,” etc.
- For children ready for some mental math, call out addition or subtraction problems and have them jump to the answer.
Ready for some Art + Music? Let’s get to it!
Activity 1: John Constable was an artist who did many landscapes, including many paintings of clouds. Click here to learn more about his life and to see some of his works. Landscape painting or landscape art is generally the depiction of natural scenery such as mountains, valleys, trees, rivers, and forests. The sky is almost always included in a landscape painting with the weather often being an element of the work. John Constable once said, “The sky is the source of light in nature — and governs everything.”
After learning about Constable’s works, spend some time outside looking at the sky. Ask your child to describe the clouds they see. Next, use watercolors, pastels, or paint to create your own sky landscape painting.
Activity 2: Rain, Rain, Go Away music activity. Today’s activity is designed to teach your child the basics of reading rhythm in music. Click here for our printables to guide this activity, and check out this video demonstrating the activity if you’re not sure where to start.
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