Everyone on earth lives with an endlessly-evolving, ever fascinating force called weather. But very few people have any understanding of the weather, or can even say what the weather really is. It affects our lives every day. For some, the weather might mean that they have to plant a certain kind of crop, or that they must hurry to bring in the hay. For others, the weather can make their normal 15 minute drive to work take an hour. The weather can delay a baseball game, ruin a picnic, or make a day at the beach perfect! It can bring peace and contentment with a shimmering sunset or a brilliant rainbow. It can also bring fear and grief with a violent hurricane or a deadly tornado. Yet, to many people, the causes of weather remains a mystery.
The importance of weather in our everyday lives is obvious, and for this reason I believe it deserves some time in the classroom. It is extremely important for children, as well as adults, to understand why our environment is the way it is. Why is it raining? What is wind anyway? What are clouds made of? What causes tornadoes and hurricanes? These are all questions that people are often curious about, but never seem to find the time to find the answers. It is the intention of the following unit to answer these, and many other, questions. Through discussion and experimentation, there is much that can be learned about the weather.
There is yet another reason why I am teaching this unit on weather. It states in the Urbana curriculum guidelines that all third grade classrooms must present a unit on weather this year. Thus, it is my purpose in teaching this unit to fulfill this requirement. The content of the unit is not directly specified by Urbana so I have had much opportunity to think through the topics which I believe are necessary to be taught in a weather unit. Weather is a subject which gives the teacher plenty of freedom in what to teach and how to teach it. I think this is also a reason that I chose this subject. If the guidelines of what to teach are flexible, there is more opportunity to prepare activities which will interest the children. Children learn more from activities they are interested in and want to participate in.
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