using the weather forecast for sneaky math learning
We are huge weather fans over here. Looking at the day’s forecast has become a regular part of our morning ever since the kids were really little.
Though our family may be a growing minority of people who are still getting it delivered on a daily basis, I love getting the paper, not only because in my mind there’s nothing like relaxing (even if it’s only for two minutes) with a cup of java over the day’s news, but also because the newspaper offers a wealth of learning opportunities for kids.
This past week, we all went nuts crazy because we saw for the first time in ages that the temperature was predicted to be 100 degrees. It. Was. Totally. Exciting.
Here’s how we use the weather section of the paper first thing in the morning to throw in a little math learning and some conversation before we hit the Kids Post:
- Weather Forecast Math Learning: It really evolved naturally over time, beginning when Maddy was teeny and I checked the weather to make sure I could take her for a walk around the neighborhood and then becoming the partner to our day of the week vitamins.
But now if my husband forgets to bring in the paper or if we are moving slowly (or if I’m scrambling to pack three lunches) and we don’t sit down and open up the paper, the kids get really funny: Mom! What’s the weather today??! Where’s the newspaper!! Wait! We didn’t check the weather!!
Our weather forecast conversation takes all of two minutes in the morning–if that. Unless there’s something really crazy, like the 100 degree day, or five sunny/rainy’s in a row (everyone’s favorite!), it goes a little something like this:
Me: Okay, today is Monday (pointing to each day’s weather as I read) then we have Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Take a look at what we have going today and tell me what you think.
Maddy: HOT! 92 degrees! I have to wear flip-flops to school because I’ll be sweating. (She always wants to wear flips to school and I always say ‘No’ and it’s an ongoing challenge.)
Me: You’re right–92 degrees is hot, but flip-flops aren’t great shoes for the playground. You’ll be fine in sneakers until you get home. (Please note: she often ends up wearing flip-flops by the time we exit the house.)
Owen: Ahhh! Two rainy’s this week. Not bad.
Cora: Sunny, sunny, and sunny! Three sunny days!!
OR. . .
Me: (After I read through the days of the week) Take a look at all the temperature highs and lows and tell me which day will be the warmest.
Or I’ll say something like:
- Take a look at all of the temperature lows and let’s figure out which day will be the coolest.
- Wow! One day this week will be in the 80′s–which day will that be?
- Who can tell me if there’s a pattern in the week’s weather?
- What do we need to wear on Thursday, with the temperature just over 60 degrees and rain predicted?
- Let’s put the days in order from highest temperature to lowest.
- What weather would come next in this pattern: rainy, sunny, sunny, rainy. . . ?
Or for Cora (or Owen or Maddy when they were younger):
- Today it will be sunny and tomorrow will be sunny. What will the weather be on Wednesday (as I point)?
- How many rainy days will we have this week?
- Will there be more rainy days or more sunny days this week?
- What kind of shoes should we wear on this day (pointing to a rain cloud or big sun)?
That’s it. Just a teeny bit of sneaky learning over Cheerios, juice, and yogurt before the days starts and life gets crazy.
My focus is just to get the kids thinking about the day, looking forward toward the week, and talking (a little bit) about numbers, math, and (okay) a little bit of science. And really, the non-fiction reading practice and interest in news doesn’t hurt, either. Happy newspaper reading!