Weather Stations & Forecasting

Blog, She Wrote: Weather Stations & Forecasting

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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?

Blog, She Wrote: Explorental


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

Weather Kidz


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.

Finished Islands

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!

Plankton Studies

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.

Button Ocean

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.