Teaching my students about weather and the water cycle is one of the most exciting topics! It’s fascinating to explore how the weather changes daily. I love teaching weather because it allows us to get outside and explore nature. I also enjoy seeing my students pay closer attention to their environment.
But, you may wonder what some excellent activities for teaching weather? You just go outside. You can, but I use seven FUN activities to teach my students about the weather.
The Sun as Energy: STEAM Activity
It’s essential to start by teaching your students about the Sun being our energy source. You need Sun and water for the weather to occur. I like to use this Sun Art paper. It’s the Letter H in my Alphabet STEM. Students create a house using tangram pieces and place them over the Sun Art Paper.
Place the paper outside, and the energy from the Sun interacts with the paper. It creates beautiful art!
My students love this, and it’s a great way to demonstrate the Sun as energy.
My Favorite Experiment for Teaching Weather
After learning about the Sun as an energy source, I teach my students the water cycle. We illustrate the water cycle using the anchor chart. Afterward, I show them examples of condensation and evaporation with this simple science experiment. We place warm water in a clear bowl or cup, and then we put a plate with ice on top of the bowl.
Soon, a cloud starts to form, and water vapor condenses on the sides of the bowl. It’s a great experiment to illustrate the water cycle.
Where does water travel?
I think it’s fascinating that our water has been recycled since the formation of Earth. We drink the same water as dinosaurs! What happens to the water, though? I love doing this Water Cycle Bracelet Activity.
Students become water droplets. Then, they travel around the room using spinners. The spinners direct them on where to go next. They record their journey using a color code on a water cycle bracelet. Finally, they write about their journey. It’s so much fun!
How do we move water?
Sometimes water cannot reach certain places because the weather is too hot or high pressure prevents precipitation. In these cases, we have to solve problems by pumping water from one place to another. Then, we create a water pump. I teach my students about the idea of moving water with this book, The Drop Goes Plop.
This STEM activity is challenging for students and so much fun! I start by giving students two cups, a straw, a balloon, and water. They have to get creative to find a way to pump water from one cup into the other.
Here’s an engaging activity for teaching weather!
I love using this experiment for teaching weather! Students get in groups of 2 – 3, and they get a job. I give them a job to avoid tears. Assigning roles to students helps because I usually don’t have enough bottles of food color. If I did, I might consider letting them experiment on their own.
I have a cloud, a raindrop, and sunshine. Each group gets a cup of water. One student squirts shaving cream on top of the water. The following students drop food coloring onto the shaving cream. Students count how many droplets it takes to rain, and eventually, they work together to clean it up.
I love this experiment because it illustrates how clouds are heavy. Although they are floating, they hold tiny bits of water vapor that collectively can sometimes be heavier than a herd of elephants. Once the clouds get too heavy, it rains.
Students see that sometimes the cloud holds more than another because students dispersed the food color around the cloud or added more shaving cream. There are lots of variables to discuss.
Wild Weather Activities for Teaching Weather
I use this collaborative project that my students LOVE! Students are placed into groups of 3 – 4, and each get a job. The jobs include researcher, presenter, artist, and writer. Each group is given a wild weather topic and a set of task cards. The task cards ask them questions that probe them to research. As they collect information, they decide what they’ll present about this topic to this class.
In short, some groups choose to talk about weather safety while others prefer to present wild weather facts. It’s fascinating to see what they come up with. They create a poster or PowerPoint to showcase their presentation. It’s such a fun way for students to collaborate and research together.
Taking Notes About Weather
I love this weather lapbook! I use it for teaching weather concepts like the Sun as energy, weather tools, clouds, etc. My students get engaged easily with lapbooks. They are one of my favorite activities in the classroom.
Learn more about lapbooks in this blog post.
Teaching weather can be one of the most hands-on and exciting things you do in your classroom! Check out my weather unit and make it something your students will never forget. I hope they have a blast (and you too)!