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We studied weather with our Nim’s Island unit and I thought this would be a great time to add to this long standing post and bring it up to date with resources and ideas. The kids and I had some meetings over a few days to discuss exactly what we wanted to measure, where, how and how often. We tried a weather station a few years ago that bombed out because of equipment failure. It was just not designed to go the distance as you’ll see below.
The next time we tried, we pieced together our weather station down at our mailbox and the kids ambitiously decided to record the weather three times a day! You’ll have to design a data chart to accommodate the vision that your kids have. We wanted to track it daily long term which is fun for math and science pursuits. As you track the weather, you can introduce forecasting and statistics over time. We even did a math lesson using the Beaufort Wind Scale and median statistics.
Keeping a Weather Calendar
- For a glance at our former weather calendar- it evolved into a workable version using small pocket charts from the Target dollar aisle.
- There are many ways to keep a weather calendar. Many of you might have a weather observation during your morning time or circle time if you have one- displaying your weather observations is one option.
- I prefer the notebook/data gathering method. Instead of each student keeping his own notebook of weather data, I like to have a common weather log where the kids record their observations for the day. The tricky part is finding the data chart that you want. I dislike trying to search for the perfect page for notebooking so I went to notebook paper a long time ago. Decide all the things you want to record and keep a log book handy.
Resources for Studying Weather from Preschool to High School
Book List for Weather Studies
It’s a long term science project to incorporate weather into our nature and unit studies throughout the year.
Explorental Offers a Weather Meter Rental
Explorental is a company which offers high quality equipment and materials for short term rentals to families. The Multi-Function Weather Meter can measure many of the measurements we’ve been tracking in a small hand held digital form. If you aren’t sure to begin with a weather station or you want to track weather in the short term, then try out this handheld digital weather meter from Explorental.
I think it’s fantastic Explorental is excited about getting big ticket items into the hands of families. What does your family want to explore together?
As part of our Nim Study we’ve been looking at weather and the other day specifically hurricanes. Here are a few links I’d like to share.
Many are from the site Weather Kidz which is a really nice resource. We used the tracking maps to plot the movements of two hurricanes this week.
Hurricane Tracking Map
Create a Cane Game
allows the kids to create conditions conducive to making a hurricane
I also incorporated hurricanes into the Daily Quest this past week by having the kids investigate hurricanes in general and then Hurricane Agnes the next day. That was an interesting Quest to put together.
I’m trying to get all my thoughts together on the rest of our unit study with Nim’s Island. It actually started with the Live Class through CurrClick so I need to revisit those weekly videos and see what else is in store there. I also need to choose and end date for this study. Ever had a study like that? There doesn’t seem to be an end? Sometimes it’s like that with summer studies. Stay tuned for more Nim.
I wanted to make sure and show off the finished Nim’s Island salt dough maps. We painted them outside on our deck and since we had a neighbor join us I just gave her some paper to paint with. Hey did you notice? I found something I could do with the lids to those 48 workboxes…paint palettes.
J4′s – that’s one CrAzY island!
There you have it. A finished product. These are always a nice time. Soon I will share the salt dough recipe and some other salt dough resources.
For now…we are off to our last planned camping trip of the season (though you never know when the perfect weekend will pop up to just take off). I’ll be back to the blogging world on Sunday!
This past week I had planned on studying plankton with my kids- a little about what they are, some ocean food chain stuff, and bioluminescence. I just hadn’t put all the details in place yet when Sheryl in NH shared her finds with us over at the FIAR message boards. I knew I had found the perfect lesson when I saw it!
You have to watch this video. Learned a new skill by the way, embedding this YouTube video on my blog. Very cool stuff. When I shared it with Dan he simply replied, “No. I will not make cute videos for the web.” He knows he could totally pull this off. Dan already has his own YouTube video scientist style…it’s even toured around the country as part of an exhibit. A story for another time.
We used these plankton lesson plans
from UCLA as Sheryl suggested. What a great lesson! I used to do this sort of thing with my students in the classroom all the time. Awesome stuff for classifying organisms. J4 has super cutting skills.
Initialing the backs so they don’t lose their plankton. Afterward we sorted them into two groups and talked about what they are and where to find them and about how plankton are the base of the ocean food chain.
We glued them onto a notebook page once they were sorted correctly. A wonderful activity to build a group based on certain criteria. Very valuable skill and fun too!
If you know anything about the book, Nim’s Island then you know that Jack, Nim’s dad set out on an exploring expedition to find a particular plankton. It’s what happens to the both of them on that trip which makes the story of the book. So…we had to find out about plankton. Yes? Of course.
This one is all about keeping the preschool in the unit study! J4 is all about his home preschool. Just yesterday while out on errands, he announced to woman in line behind me that he was doing home preschool. This is notable because the three older kids all went to the same wonderful little preschool- a vestige of our pre-homeschooling days.
I got the idea of a button ocean from Pink and Green Mama’s Ocean in a Box
. I’m not into sand in the house and I wasn’t even into the aquarium rocks she had chosen, but I love buttons! And so do my kids. So first we sorted the colors into a muffin tin
Where are all the blue buttons and ocean green buttons? R9 finds a few more…
J4 held this one up and said, “This button is HUMONGOUS!” J4 loves to use the word humongous. Cracks me up.
Ok so we are somewhat short on blue buttons…I think we just need less critters in our button ocean. Don’t you think?
Selkie! Yes…there are Nim characters in our box.
While at the school table J4 announced that he had put Selkie on her rock. E10 went to find said rock to add it to the ocean. He also pointed out a sea anemone. Loved hearing my 4yo say that word!
I found this coloring sheet at the Aquarium of the Pacific
website. This one is from the Aquarium on Wheels pdf downloads
. He was playing with the button ocean’s sea turtle and was able to tell me why Chica the turtle came to the island every year- to play and to leave eggs was his reply. See? He really is listening during read alouds!
He requested a Nim journal…that would be a good idea he said. So, I found him a sea turtle picture. These will go into his ocean notebook along with anything else he does during our unit study of the ocean. If I can keep him in fun, preschool-y activities and he enjoys sitting up at the table with us to have fun…what a year this will be! I think we may have turned a corner kids. Wow.
There you have it…an ocean study update…preschool style. And not to worry. The button ocean is in a workbox that will wait for him each day during our unit.
We are still dabbling in our Nim’s Island unit…interruptions like camping trips and summer have slowed us down. We aren’t giving up however, and things will be picking up very soon. Very soon. Because yesterday was the first day of official, real deal school around here. Pipe down out there concerned friends and family…the kids have been on summer routine since the first week of June and if we want to keep any semblance of our favorite form of the school calendar, then we need to get going. Yes, it’s still summer but we are all about the fun this time of year and we start the year with the perfect summer unit. Oceans.
Night of the Moonjellies is our favorite Five in a Row book of all time. We row it every year as we work through the Oceans Study from Amanda Bennett. This year we are studying Nim’s Island while we explore more about oceans and do our favorite visit with Night of the Moonjellies.
Our all time favorite and actually the first one we ever did row! See our previous studies
Suggested in the FIAR manual as a great add on for older students, we have used parts of this in the past and will pick up where we left off last summer. Just adding the layers of ocean knowledge on folks.
Some things on tap for us over the next few weeks:
There is so much more, but I will save those for future posts on our study of Nim’s Island and Oceanography.
I finally found it! The place were I can safely and easily set up a theme table for our current unit study. At long last. This dresser is in our dining room and gets little traffic and stays clutter free. So, now that the rest of the kitchen and dining room painting is done, I thought I’d finally change the wall hanging arrangement and get moving. That wooden sign used to be on the dresser top, but I like it up on the wall. Below it are the gallery frames minus one which are sadly lacking in up-to-dateness. We’ll work on that.
Love the banner- I have some thoughts on this one I’ll share soon. Probably over at Heart of the Matter. I think. We’ll see.
Check out the unit display! I hope to have some more objects in the future, but for now this is great. I put the salt up there with the cardboard and they guess it was salt dough map time. I’ve got a few ocean resources, volcano resources, and weather resources this week and next. After that I will switch things up a bit.
The salt dough- I had to modify the recipe as it was too wet.
J4 in character making a salt dough island. The kids worked on the back porch and stopped between actions at the splash center
(had to show a pic, but it’s discontinued).
They decided they wanted to make their own so we worked on making models of Nim’s Island complete with the coves, pools, hissing rocks, and fire mountain.
It was difficult to work with until I mixed up another batch and add more dry dough for them. This one belongs to E10.
R9′s Nim’s Island- nice fire mountain R!
We’ll let these dry. Usually it takes much longer than the two days recommended. I’ll plan to have the kids paint them up when we return from camping which will be next week.
We started a CurrClick Live Class on Nim’s Island this week. We’ve been looking forward to this unit for a while. Somehow I thought it was starting later than last week and I had some trouble getting a copy of the book. I could hardly believe it. With a copy safely in my hands, we have begun the fun!
We read the book for the first time back in the spring and since then have watched the movie which really was very good. Wendy Orr is the author of Arabella as well which has been one of our favorite FIAR titles of all time. Our absolute favorite is Night of the Moonjellies which we row every year about this time. You can bet we’ll do some moonjelly work during our visit with Nim and her island.
The live class is designed so that you can participate in a forum (if you choose) and work at your own pace by watching the videos of the teacher showing the activities and projects and how to put the notebook together. Here they are watching how to build a wind vane to determine wind direction. This ties in with our interest in learning more about weather and weather forecasting.
After we watched the video, we decorated the front cover of our Island Log. I chose a dot painting medium. Mine is at the bottom. Tip: whenever art is pulled out it’s a good idea to make your own. Creative energy spent is never wasted friends!
The class assignments for each week only get posted one at a time on a weekly basis. While we wait, we’ll take the map of Nim’s Island found in the book to make our own island. Salt dough is always a favorite, but someone might want to make a diorama of the island. We’ll see what moves us. We’ll be taking a break twice during the unit for camping trips. This one might take a while. It is summer after all.
So, we’ve been working on salt dough maps over the last week. Everyone should do this at least once. I mean why just draw or color a map when you can build one and paint one? It makes a tidy mess and a pot to wash and when it’s all done you get to store it somehow until the social studies fair or you can’t stand it any more. Whichever comes first. I highly recommend it.
The first step is to draw an outline of your map or country or whatever onto a piece of cardboard. The kids draw the shape of their country onto a thin piece of cardboard. I mix up the dough according to the directions and let the kids cover their areas first. Then they consult the map and try to match the topographical information with their sculpting skills. Once it has been built up we add toothpick paper labels and set them aside to dry. Once good and dry (think 48 hours), you can paint on top. Then are you all set! Make sure the supplies get put away!
The recipe comes from this book- a compliation of the Kid Concoction Books. The couple writes this serise has a neat story. I saw them last year at the MOPS Int’l convention. The salt dough recipe is easy and quick and it doesn’t make too much of a mess.
E9 is working on his map of Japan
R8 is doing Hawaii
I-6 is making Madagascar.
J3 is also making Madagascar…well he is making something fun that is what he thinks!
After the painting stage he insisted I take a picture of his hand.
R8 works on the ocean surrounding her islands
Hawaii- check out the multi colors- R8 is ever the artist!
J3′s finished product
And Madagascar… impressive no?
This evening after dinner the kids shared their islands with each other and got a chance to practice some oral skills and show off their hard work.