The week of weather
Our children are getting a packed lesson in different types of weather. A 5.8 earthquake in Virginia was felt in NY and NJ, among other places, and now Hurricane Irene is scheduled to hit this weekend. Safety is most important. As long as everyone is in a safe place, taking the right precautions with the necessary emergency items, I think this is a great time for some quality learning. If you do not live on the East Coast, your children can still participate in these activities. Internet and television make us feel like we are exactly where these events are taking place.
Do some research: Explore earthquakes and hurricanes with your children. Use dictionaries, library resources and the internet. Have them investigate what an earthquake means, how it occurs and how it can affect land. Do the same for the anticipated hurricane. What can we expect? Are the effects the same or different from an earthquake? Find out the last time that your area was hit with either of these types of weather. I heard on the news that a hurricane has not hit NYC in 100 years. This can open up a conversation on what the world was like 100 years ago. Compare and contrast your findings of both types of weather. Make a chart using a big piece of poster paper.
Create some artwork: If you live on the East Coast and you have young children, they probably have not felt an earthquake until this past week. Regardless of where you live, draw a picture of what an earthquake feels like, this one or any other you experienced. Did the pictures shake on the wall? Did a light fixture sway back and forth? Do the same for a hurricane. What does it look like outside during a hurricane? Since the hurricane has not hit yet, your children can draw a picture of what they think a hurricane looks like and then draw another one while it is going on. Compare these two pictures.
Make a weather window: This is another idea for artwork that I used to do with my students. Take a piece of blank white paper (8 x 11) and have your children draw a weather picture (a sunny day, rainy day, hurricane, tornado, etc). Using brown construction paper, cut three long strips (11 x 1) and three short strips (8 x1). Using 2 long and 2 short pieces, have them glue the strips on the edges of the paper. These will create the borders of their window. The last 2 strips (1 long and 1 short) should be crossed and glued in the middle of the paper to create a 4 pane window. Especially if you are inside this weekend, create a few of these and hang them around the house. A great book to read beforehand is Right Outside my Window by Mary Ann Hoberman.
Track the storm: The beauty of the internet is that you can track weather before it happens and as it is happening. Take this time to research the path of the upcoming hurricane. Where has it already hit? Where is it headed? What direction is it going? Talk about directional words (N,E,S,W) and if they are old enough, create ways to remember them (Never Eat Soggy Waffles). You can do the same with the recent earthquake. Where do earthquakes usually occur? Check which states it affected this time and where those states are in relation to where it originated.
The most important thing for this weekend is to be safe. We don’t want to scare our children, just make them aware of weather that affects our world. Most of them like learning about these conditions and find it interesting. This past week provided us with lots of great information and experience to use with our children. Challenge your children to investigate events in our world and learn something new!
Have a safe weekend.