The ‘right” answers. We hope that you will try these activities yourself before handing them out to the
students. Most of them use the current day’s newspaper for the activity. This, by definition, sets up a problem: there usually cannot be an answer key made
out in advance. You will have to make an answer key that fits the specific date
of the newspaper you are using. However, many of the lessons will not need an
answer key as students learn by working through the activity, either by working independently, or in groups.
Sometimes students have choices, in which case, teachers can have group
members or peers check for the right or acceptable answers. There may not be
just one “correct” answer, especially when asked about their personal experiences or opinions. You can spotcheck students’ work as you move about the classroom. As students search the Weather
Page themselves for the answers to the questions or for the information to prepare the charts or graph, you become a resource person -- an orchestrator of activities -- rather than the main distributor of information. Your main job will be to help students with the skills to do the activities; for example,
figuring averages, setting up graphs, writing in complete sentences.
Although the lessons start out simply and with the basics (see Weather Watch #1 and #2), they move on to more advanced topics, building up student skills, little by little,
until the culminating project is an independent study and analysis of students’ choice of weather variables (“Collecting
Interdisciplinary. Although written for the science classroom, many of these activities integrate with other content areas,
especially English (writing), Math, Reading, and Social Studies (geography). For
example, some of the vocabulary words’ Greek roots are given to you to share with students. Students need to locate US and world cities on maps. Creative
writing (stories and poems) are included as well as the writing about facts. We
would hope, too, that other teachers might share your newspapers to use them for lessons of their own so that students get
the benefit of seeing how the newspaper can be an important resource in all
Proficiency skills. These lessons will tie your curriculum to your state Testing Outcomes. The extensive use of charts, diagrams and maps in this unit will allow your students
to easily read and interpret those kinds of questions that are on those tests. Your
students will have had a lot of preparation for the test, but in context of a curriculuar
unit: weather. Figure 2 lists the Ohio
Proficiency Test Outcomes for each lesson.
Discussion of Outcomes. The
weather activities prepares students for the state tests by asking for more than
the Outcome skills. For example, the test asks students to read maps, diagrams, charts and graphs. The Weather Guide lessons ask that students create the charts and graphs and research the diagrams and maps. The
application and usage of the skills in real-life situations serve to help attain true mastery.
Other abilities, not listed on the Proficiency Outcome list, are still important
as life-long skills. The ability to draw and label a diagram, to brainstorm ideas
and solutions, to identify abbreviations, to survey others to learn about their experiences, to observe natural phenomena
carefully, to anticipate future needs, to skim a reading selection, to choose sample items, to empathize with people in danger
(e.g., experiencing weather disasters), to work cooperatively with others, to organize pages back-to-back to make a book, to enjoy the beauty of a sunset or a thunderstorm – these, too, are valuable learnings.
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