Students learn about winter weather through scientific investigation, vocabulary lessons, and poetry writing in this unit plan.
- Review the properties of wind and winter weather
- Make and "plant" a pinwheel
- The Wind Garden by Angela McAllister
- Pinwheel Pattern Template printable
- Colored pencils, markers, or crayons
- Unsharpened pencils
- Optional: Classroom or school flower bed or sandbox
Make a class set of the Pinwheel Pattern Template printable.
Step 1: Review with students what they've learned all week about winter weather.
Step 2: Allow time for students to present any work that they have completed as assignments or homework. Encourage students to read any of their writing, report about how they measured the temperature, or share what it was like to experience the wind.
Step 3: Ask students to evaluate the week. Ask them:
- What was their favorite part of the week and why?
- What was the best thing they learned and why?
- What other things do they want to know about winter weather?
Step 4: Read The Wind Garden by Angela McAllister aloud to the class. Discuss how Ellie and her grandpa "plant" a unique wind garden.
Step 5: Help students make pinwheels to plant using the Pinwheel Pattern Template printable. Distribute the template pages and demonstrate the following steps before asking students to copy you:
- Cut out the square.
- Color both sides of the square. Encourage students to use multiple colors.
- Cut along the four dashed lines. Be sure students don't go beyond the dashed lines. They need to stop cutting before the center dot.
- Take the point of each section and bend it over so that it touches the circle. Glue each point in place.
Step 6: Help each student carefully stick a thumbtack through the center of his or her pinwheel and into the eraser of an unsharpened pencil. Be sure the thumbtack is attached firmly while still allowing the pinwheel to spin.
Step 7: Bring students outside to watch their pinwheels spin! If there is no wind, you can use a fan in the classroom to produce the same effect.
Optional: Let students "plant" their pinwheels in a flower bed or sandbox to create a wind garden then "pick" the pinwheels at the end of the day and take them home.
- Read Feel the Wind by Arthur Dorros aloud to the class. This book explores the cause and effect of wind.
- Read I Wonder Why the Wind Blows and Other Questions About Our Planet by Anita Ganeri aloud to the class. This book answers common questions children have about weather.
- Was the estimated time sufficient to complete the unit?
- Did students improve their weather vocabulary?
- Do students understand how to read a thermometer?
- Do students connect air temperature to the concept of cold weather?
- Do students understand that the change in air temperature causes the wind to blow?
- Did students express their understanding of winter weather in their writing assignments?
- Were the outdoor activities too chaotic?
Group assessment will take place by asking students to respond orally to questions about winter weather and the Week of Winter Weather unit.