Exploring in kindergarten is one of my favorite things. Whether it’s with pumpkin explorations or force, and motion. Science is one of those things that students get very excited about. It’s why I love to theme teach when I can. Whatever we are doing in reading is the same thing in math and science. It makes teaching and planning a lot easier and it’s more engaging for the students. I want to share some of my favorite interactive season and weather activities.
Science Tools Pocket
Each class varies on what I use with them, but I do love to “keep” their work in a journal or notebook. We use science notebooks to keep up with all of our learning. One thing I love to put at the front of the notebook is a little pocket. This is to keep any cut pieces that a child may not have time to add to their journal. They can place the smaller pieces in there and any large pieces can stay between the pages to finish the next day. This helps with not feeling like you have to finish everything in one day.
Vocabulary for Season and Weather
One of my favorite activities to do in science is to introduce new vocabulary to students. For seasons and weather, I introduce 5-6 words in a week. Depending on the ease of some of the words, there may be more. We add the word, picture, and definition to our science notebooks. Referring back to our notebooks any time during the day is actually something a student suggested to me MANY years ago and I stuck with it. I do allow my students to pull out their notebooks during writing time to get vocabulary words or to get ideas of things to write about. I’m all for keeping them engaged, encouraged, and interested in what we are doing. It helps to get them tons of confidence.
Adding vocabulary to our journals started the year I had more than just one or two students that spoke more than English. I wanted to be sure they completely understood the words that we were learning and adding them to our notebooks and reviewing them helped so much. It is something that also helped my native English speakers as well. There are so many words in the English language that I assume students should know when coming to school, but I’m pleasantly surprised by how much I actually teach them during one year together. I highly suggest adding vocabulary words as one of your activities when you teach this.
For years, part of my daily routine included checking what the weather is for that day. When I started doing calendar journals, we added weather graphs. This can be done in a multitude of ways. When you teach weather, this can be something that you can limit to just the time when you are covering the weather. Students will still get the hang of looking out the window, finding the picture, and graphing the weather. At the end of the week, you can count up how many of each type of weather occurred during the week.
Weather and Season Survey
Surveys are a quick and engaging activity for students to do either in small groups or together as a class. When first introducing surveys, we sit in a circle on the rug. Then, one by one, students tell what they choose for the survey. Students color in what is said and then as a class, you can make an anchor chart to look at the data. As students tell their choices, I make one as well. This can be easily shown under a document camera at the end of the activity to look at the data. We talk about which was the most and which had the least. This is a perfect idea for surveying weather types and the four seasons.
Students will get the practice of saying each of the weather types and the seasons. New vocabulary can be practiced in many ways. Having them hear their peers say them over and over and having to find it on a survey will help them add these new words to their vocabulary.
Season Sort for Clothing and Activities
Another activity to use to help enforce the difference in seasons is having students think about activities that can be done in each of the seasons. Students can use inventive spelling to write. If they are not confident enough to write, you can allow them to draw a picture of the activity. For winter, a child may draw a snowman or have friends throwing snowballs. Fall could show leaves. Spring could be flowers blooming. Summer could be swimming or anything to do in hot weather. This helps students to mentally categorize activities by season. Depending on where you live, you may not have four true seasons, so some activities that may normally be done in one season could be in another.
The sort could be done with clothing. I give children pictures of clothing to sort. We make 4 pockets for each season. Students can sort the clothing into the pocket they think students would wear each piece of clothing. This activity is great for a discussion after everyone finishes. Many students may have some of the clothing pieces in the wrong season. You can easily have them pull out what they sorted one season at a time. The next day, this would be a great whole-group discussion that can be done on an anchor chart. Then, students can resort again for more accuracy.
Like any of these ideas? You can find most of these activities in my Seasons and Weather set. Check out what is included here. Read more about meshing writing with science here.