Most of you do some kind of weather report with your children every morning. You may talk about sunny, cloudy, rainy, or snowy. But you can add an understanding of temperature to this discussion. Buy or create a large thermometer with a wide elastic that can be easily moved up and down. You may put a few basic numbers like 0, 10, 32, 40, 50, etc.** and then you can help children make a guess as to the outside temperature. This gives them a basis of understanding temperature and helps them to talk about weather.
You can even ask children to assign vocabulary words to describe the temperature. They can use words like frosty, chilly, freezing, frigid, icy, or nippy. We find children enjoy this kind of word play, especially if you suggest they impress their families by using one of these descriptive words at home.
If you have English Language Learners in your classroom, this is a good time to add descriptive words from the home languages of your students. What an opportunity to ask for the help of students' families!
Additionally you can download and use our little book, Trees Change. (Click on the title.)
This reader, with its repetitive sentence structure, can be the basis to talk about the temperatures of different seasons. Read the book out loud to children. Then hand out copies to everyone. Ask the group to read it in unison, with your voice being the loudest. Reread the book several times, gradually lowering your voice, letting the chorus of children take over.
Once children can read it on their own (and, of course, point to each word), discuss the ways trees look in each season. Then use the background knowledge you developed about temperature to have children share guesses about the temperature of each season.
**These numeric examples assume you are using the Fahrenheit Scale.
Also, sign up for our Emergent Reader activities for more on temperature math.
NAEYC - 2. D. & 2. G. 04.
Head Start - VIII.A. & XI. B.