Monday, November 28, 2011

Annotated Bib - Weather

When teaching about weather, it's important to focus on both the cause and effect. The books and websites below are great resources for learning about what makes weather phenomena happen and how it affects our world as well as how we use history, patterns, and technology to forecast weather. The age-appropriate content, interactive games and simulations, and hands-on experiments contained in these resources are perfect for a second grader learning about weather phenomena.

Books on Weather Phenomena and Forecasting

100 Things You Should Know About Weather. By Clare Oliver. Illus. by Mark Davis. 2002. 48 p. Mason Crest Publishers. (978-1842363584). Gr. 2-5.
The title says it all for this book-- it's chock full of fun facts about weather. However, the facts are organized into categories, making it a comprehensive resource for weather knowledge. Each topic is covered in a two page spread which means the book covers a wide variety of weather concepts. I like the book because it dives into fascinating weather topics that students wouldn't normally learn too much about such as deep freezes, rainbows, and even weather myths from groups such as the Vikings and the Mayans. The book is a fun addition to a lesson about weather and contains a ton of amazing facts that are bound to amaze kids and adults alike.

The Big Storm. By Bruce Hiscock. Illus. by the author. 1993. 46 p. Atheneum. (978-1590786000). Gr. 1-4.
A comprehensive look at how a storm develops and moves, this book is an amazing resource for teaching about weather. It follows a large springtime storm in 1982 as it moves from rain in the Pacific Northwest to a blizzard in the Sierras to tornados and hail in the Texas plains and finally becomes a blizzard in New York City. As the storm rolls on, the book explains what's causing it to evolve and how meteorologists can forecast what will happen next. It's a great book for helping students understand how weather events are related and why they occur.

I Face the Wind. By Vicki Cobb. Illus. by Julia Gorton. 2003. 40 p. Harper Childrens. (978-0688178406). Gr. Pre-K to 2.
This is a wonderful introduction to what wind is and how it works. It even debunks the popular idea that air weighs nothing. Readers simply need a few materials (a plastic bag, a hanger, balloons, etc.) in order to conduct the series of basic experiments within the book. Between experiments, readers are offered explanations of how wind does what it does and how we experience it. The simplicity of the language combined with the great illustrations and easy-to-do science experiments make this book a wonderful resource for teachers and parents alike.

The Kids' Book of Weather Forecasting. By Mark Breen and Kathleen Friestad. Illus. by Michael Kline. 2008. 144 p. Williamson Publishing. (978-0824968236). Gr. 2-5.
This book was penned by two meteorologists and is filled with simple weather forecasting experiments for kids. It opens with directions on keeping a weather log and does a great job of provoking kids to make observations and predictions about the weather based on a series of questions. The rest of the book contains a ton of weather forecasting experiments, fun facts about weather, and Q&A with the meteorologists who wrote the book. It's a really fun way to get students to think differently about weather predicting and experiment to better understand it.

Rain, Hail, and Snow. By Trudy Strain Trueit. 2002. 64 p. Franklin Watts. (978-0531162187). Gr. 2-4.
This book is a great alternative to a textbook when teaching about precipitation. The language is simple but it's full of important vocabulary words and even contains a useful glossary at the end. The photography is also spectacular, from super magnified snowflakes to a forest destroyed by acid rain. I prefer this book to a textbook because it details all states of precipitation, notably in their extreme forms. The language, photographs, and fun facts help make this book a great introduction to this topic for young students.

Useful Websites

Discovery Online: Storm Chasers
This enthralling game puts players behind the wheel of a storm chaser vehicle as it trails a destructive tornado. It's a fun look into the life of a storm chaser and a great way for kids to see how unpredictable the path of a tornado can be.

Ready.Gov: Kids
This site was created by the government to inform and prepare families for emergencies caused by extreme weather events. It's a great resource in classrooms where there is a threat of weather phenomena such as tornadoes and floods. It does a wonderful job of explaining weather events and talking about why and how we have to be prepared for them. Complete with games, checklists, and even teacher and parent materials, it's a great resource for mentally and physically preparing children for extreme weather events.

Scholastic Interactive Weather Maker
This interactive simulation gives kids a chance to play around with weather conditions to create various weather phenomena. As kids adjust the temperature and humidity, they watch the weather change around a little red house. The best part is that in addition to the weather animation, kids are also provided with a little explanation as to why the weather changed when the adjustments were made. It's an interesting way to help kids understand what is involved in changing weather.

Weather Channel Kids: Weather Ed
The teacher's resources section of the Weather Channel Kids website offers a variety of teaching resources such as lesson plans, interactive games for the classroom, and a weather encyclopedia. The games are especially great, with advanced graphics and thought-provoking challenges.

Weather Wiz Kids
A site created by meteorologist Crystal Wicker, Weather Wiz Kids is a comprehensive source for information on all types of weather phenomena. In addition to pages on types of weather that contain imagery and simple language, the site has weather experiments, jokes, folklore, and a Q&A section. The site also contains plenty of materials for teachers like flashcards and games. It's a great resource for students and teachers alike.

For Teachers

Virginia Standards of Learning 2.6 
The student will investigate and understand basic types, changes, and patterns of weather. Key concepts include
a) identification of common storms and other weather phenomena;
b) the uses and importance of measuring, recording, and interpreting weather data
  • Earth’s weather changes continuously from day to day.
  • Changes in the weather are characterized by daily differences in wind, temperature, and precipitation.
  • Precipitation occurs when water, previously evaporated, condenses out of the air and changes its phase from a gas to a liquid (rain) or to a solid (snow or sleet).
  • Extremes in the weather, such as too little or too much precipitation, can result in droughts or floods.
  • Storms have powerful winds, which may be accompanied by rain, snow, or other kinds of precipitation.
  • Weather data are collected and recorded using instruments. This information is very useful for predicting weather and determining weather patterns.
  • Scientists collect weather data over time to study trends and patterns. These trends and patterns help them to make future weather predictions.

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