Tracking Falls Falling Temperatures
Reinforce many skills by tracking this fall’s falling temperatures.
weather, fall, autumn, temperatures, map, graph, color key
From September to November, track fall's falling temperatures. (Maybe those falling temps are why they call this season fall!) Tracking each day's low temperature is an excellent way to reinforce many skills. Following are a handful of activities that teachers across the grades can use as students track the falling temperatures.
Each day, record the temperature at the same time of day. You might record the temperature during Morning Meeting, as soon as students come in after lunch, or just before leaving for the day. Keep a record of the temperatures. You might create a large graph that reflects the temperature each day. Monitor the ups and downs of the temperature as fall approaches. Talk about the trends you see.
An alternative to tracking the temperature at a specific time each day is to track the low temperature of the day throughout the fall season. Most daily newspapers provide a record of the low temperature from the day before. Record that low temperature throughout the fall on a classroom graph.
We have created a printable Tracking Fall's Falling Temperatures work sheet that you can use for this purpose. Each student can keep his or her own graph of low temperatures for a two-week period. At the end of two weeks, print out a new graph and continue tracking the low temps.
Since you creating a graph, why not create a graph with a color key? Study the color key weather maps in your daily newspaper or on USA Today's Weather page. Notice that each color on the map corresponds to a 10-degree temperature range. Find a color in a box of 64 crayons that corresponds most closely to the colors on the USA Today weather map. (Or create your own color key.) Color the bars on your graph with the corresponding colors to represent daily low temperatures in the single digits, 10s, 20s, 30s...
And while you're keeping track of the low temperature in your neck of the woods, why not monitor the low temperature in a handful of other parts of the country or the world? Most newspapers provide that information on their weather page. Or you can go to the Weather Channel home page, type in a ZIP Code, then select "Yesterday" from the "More Forecasts" drop-down list for the previous day's low temperature. (Alternative source: National Weather Service Temperature and Precipitation Tables.) Compare your daily low temperature with the low temperature in other locations. Transform a bulletin board into a weather map on which you track those daily low temps. Or each student might use our Tracking Fall's Falling Temperatures work sheet to track low temperatures in a different U.S. location. Students might record on an U.S. Outline Map the low temperatures reported by their peers.
Daily low temperatures can go up and down like a roller coaster. One day the low might be in the 30s, the next day it could be in the 60s. When temps go up and down like that it might not be so easy to see over the short term how fall temperatures are trending colder. One way to more clearly see that cooling trend is to track average temperatures from week to week. (There might be a blip where the average temperature actually rises, but over a period of several weeks the cooling trend should be clear.) For that purpose, students in grades 4 and up might record the low temperatures for a seven-day period, add them together, then divide by 7 to find the average temperature for the week. Students might also track the range of temperature, the median (the temperature for the week or month that is in the middle; half the days were cooler than that temperature and the other half were warmer), and the mode (the low temperature that is seen most often over the course of the time monitored).
Tracking fall’s falling temperatures over an extended period of time will reinforce skills of science, math, geography, and more. Create an assessment to measure mastery of the skills you are using this activity to measure. These are skills well worth teaching, because they are skills that will last a lifetime.
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