Learning about Weather

 Ask your kindergartener what makes weather. The answer may surprise you!

MPES kindergarteners met with Colin, a science educator, on December 20. It was the last day of autumn—the perfect time to discuss the differences between the four seasons.

They learned the three main things that influence whether it’s raining, sleeting, snowing, humid, hot, or muggy:  the sun, wind, and water.

“What’s a tool that you use at home to measure temperature?” asked Colin. “A thermometer,” the children said. Colin passed out small thermometers with a task. “Go someplace in this room and measure the temperature.” Some children went to the sunny window, others to the cool corner. Another held it in-between his hands. They came back to the carpet and shared their findings.

“If you went outside, you’d see a really big drop in temperature because it’s cold outside.”

On cue, the school’s PA system cut in. “We’re going outside for recess today. Dress warmly.”

“Where does the wind come from?”

“The sky. The ground,” students guessed. The class watched as Colin spun a beach ball version of the earth. They saw how the sun heats the earth unevenly. Colin told them that cool air replaces rising warm air, causing wind. They blew towards him, together, moving the air and creating a breeze like they felt last summer.   

“There’s water in the air right now,” said Colin. “Let’s see what happens when sunlight shines through the water in the air.”

The students gathered around Colin to see what happened when sunlight came through his small prism. They saw rainbows on the floor. “This prism is basically doing what raindrops do in the sky to create rainbows,” said Colin.

“Where does rain come from?”

Colin showed photos of Cumulus and Cumulonimbus clouds on the white board.  “You can use them to predict weather.” Cumulous clouds look like cotton candy and you see them on nice days. When you see a Cumulonimbus cloud, you know a big storm is on its way.”

Talk turned to hurricanes. The children remembered hearing about Hurricane Sandy, which happened when many were one-year old. “If it’s a hurricane, don’t stay outside,” said one young meteorologist. “Run inside.”