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Clinton Elementary School Grade 3 Science Unit


By: Joseph Ferriero, M.Ed.


Day 1: • Have a whole-class discussion on weather: What is weather? What kinds of weather are there? Make a web with their ideas on the chalkboard. Ask them what kinds of people depend on the weather. (Farmers, Athletes, Picnickers, Sailors,etc.) Ask if anyone has ever had plans ruined because of the weather. Share experiences. • KWL : Weather (attached) • Define Weather o What it is like outside, including temperature, wind, clouds and precipitation. • Introduce what air is and what it is made of o Air is a gas that takes up space and can move things. o The air that surrounds Earth makes up part of the atmosphere. o Earth’s Atmosphere consists of layers of gases and some dust. • Hand out a sheet of paper to each student. Ask them to fold it in half, turn it sideways, and fold it in half again. They should then open it up and have four ‘boxes’. Ask students to pick four kinds of weather from the web on the chalkboard and draw themselves in each kind of weather, one in each box. Stress that they should try to be creative and use a lot of detail. Day 2: • Activity: How can you tell air is around you? (attached) Day 3: • Discuss air pressure o The atmosphere holds gas and dust. These have weight. So the atmosphere presses

down on Earth. This is called air pressure. High air pressure means the air presses down a lot. Low air pressure means the air presses down a little. •

Activity: How does air pressure change?

Day 4: • Discuss how scientists called meteorologists, predict the weather. o When air pressure changes it tells you about the weather. Low air pressure can mean

there will be clouds or rain. High air pressure can mean the sky will be clear. •

Introduce the tools used to predict weather. o Barometer: measures air pressure o Anemometer: measures wind speed o Wind Vane: measures the direction of the wind o Hygrometer: measures the water vapor in the air (humidity) o Rain Gauge: measures how much water has fallen o Thermometer: measures temperature

Day 5: • Show students a weather map and discuss temperature. o How hot something is. • Activity: Interpret Data (Temperatures) Day 6: • Have students analyze the information on a weather map. What things are listed? Images? o Temperatures, storms, air pressure, types of weather, etc. • Ask class if anyone has a thermometer outside at home. Ask how many students are familiar with how to read them. Demonstrate how to read a thermometer. Put students into pairs. Hand out a thermometer, a glass of warm water, a glass of cool water, a temperature-recording worksheet, and paper towels to each pair. Instruct the class to predict how warm/cold the water is and record on worksheet. Ask them to then take the temperature of both water dishes.

Remind them to dry off the thermometer in between tests. Have them record temperatures on worksheet. Walk around room and observe the children working and recording. Discuss findings as whole class. o What were the found temperatures? Were results the same throughout the class? Were

you surprised at the temperature difference? Day 7: • Introduce students to what satellites are and how they help scientists. o Satellites move high above the Earth. Weather satellites get information from all around

the world. They send pictures and information to meteorologists. The information tells meteorologists where the storms are. It tells where the storms are going. Meteorologists then use this information to create weather maps. Day 8: • Ask the class if anyone has ever thought about what happens to puddles when the sun comes out. Do the puddles remain there forever? Ask what happens to the water on wet clothes as they are hung to dry in the sun. Discuss possibilities. • Explain to class that what these three examples represent is evaporation. Write "Evaporation" on board and describe as when water turns into an invisible form, called water vapor. Explain that vapor is water in gas form and that this vapor is around us constantly. The temperature of the air determines how much water vapor can be in the air. Ask class if they think warm or cold air would hold more water. Ask for their reasoning. Explain that warm air holds more vapor, or moisture. • Explain that this moisture in the air is called the "humidity". Write the term on the board. If there is a lot of moisture in the air, then the humidity is high. Ask children how they feel when it is very humid out. Explain that there is a point when the air can hold no more water--when the humidity is close to 100%. Ask for ideas of what may happen as weather when this occurs. • Have student "helpers" pour the same amount of water (exactly) on 4 Styrofoam or plastic plates. Distribute each plate in different places in the room (one by the heater, one in the sun, one in the shade, one in a cold, dark area). Draw a circle, with a wax pencil, around the puddle. Tell class that we will check how much water is on the plate tomorrow. Ask class to predict in their journals how the puddle will look. (Will there be more or less or the same? If If less...why?) after a 24 hour period. See puddle activity sheet. • Check the puddles the next day. Draw a circle around each puddle. Compare the amount of water in each. Have students write their findings in their journals with reasons as to why they think the way they do. Discuss as a class what happened to the puddles. Where did the water go? What types of conditions help evaporation to happen faster? Did the temperature or sun have anything to do with how quickly water evaporated? Leave plates out for another 24 hour period and compare again. Record in journals. Day 9: • Review evaporation, condensation and precipitation (all learned in previous lessons). Ask students questions to determine which concepts are understood and which are not. What is rain? Why does it rain? Where does rain go when it falls? What happens to puddles after it rains? Explain that this constant movement of water is called the water cycle • Activity: How do raindrops form? Day 10: • Discuss the different types of precipitation. o Rain, snow, sleet, hail, etc. o Precipitation: water that falls from the atmosphere to the ground.

Have students complete the weather vocabulary match worksheet in pairs. When finished, go over the correct answers. Have students use their new definitions to create vocabulary cards.

Day 11: • Ask class, "What is a cloud?" Ask, "What are clouds made up of?" Let the class explore options and share ideas. Discuss the different types of clouds. o A collection of tiny drops of water or ice that can be seen in the air is a cloud. o Low, flat layers of clouds covering most of the sky are stratus clouds. o On a sunny day, it is possible to see white, puffy clouds with flat bottoms called cumulus

clouds. o When a stratus cloud is near the ground it is called fog. o Clouds form when liquid water evaporates and becomes a gas when the sun shines on it. The gas then come back together again and form a cloud. • •

Identify the Cloud worksheet. Answers to the right  Provide each student with a piece of blue or gray construction paper. Provide students with cotton balls and glue. Have students fold the paper in half twice making 4 ‘boxes’. Tell students that on their paper they should use the cotton balls and glue to make a model of the 4 types of clouds they learned about (you may choose to allow them to use fog as one of their choices).

Day 12: • If available read the students the book The Magic School Bus Wet All Over: A Book About The Water Cycle. While reading be sure to emphasize “condensation” “evaporation” and “precipitation”. These are the major points in the water cycle. • When the story is finished, ask learners to recall the three steps water goes through (evaporation, condensation and precipitation) and what they are. Write the words on the board or use the word cards attached. • Show students the water cycle handout and touch each area on the picture map. This will help them see what is exactly necessary for each of the three steps. • Tell learners that students the class will be creating a very large water cycle model. They are each going to make a portion of the water cycle. Teacher Note: It will be necessary for the teacher to decide if each student will make each piece of the water cycle or if students will be arranged into groups to work on the water cycle. o Distribute Water Cycle cut outs (attached) Learners should color rain drops blue and cut them out. o Cut out clouds and fill them in using white glue and stretched cotton balls. o Cut out blue construction paper to look like water. o Cut out brown construction paper to look like land (optional: decorate using sand and grass attached with white glue). o Cut out yellow construction paper to look like the sun. o When all pieces have been constructed, set aside to dry. Day 13: • Continue to construct the water cycle project from yesterday. o Add the directional arrows to complete the diagram o Tell students that the water moving about in the water cycle does not fall exactly where it evaporated from. Some places receive more and some receive less rainfall. Each

place has different needs for its water. The area may not receive enough precipitation in the form of rainfall and that can be a problem. That is why it is SO important to conserve water. Who needs to conserve water? – Everyone! Explain to the students that they can also help their friends and families conserve water by sharing what they have learned about water. Day 14: • Review Day o All vocabulary/concepts from Unit o Prepare for possible formal assessment.


What it is like outside, including temperature, wind, clouds and precipitation.

Name:____________________________________________ WEATHER




Know about weather

Want to know about weather

Learned about weather

ŠClinton Elementary School, Maplewood, NJ


ŠClinton Elementary School, Maplewood, NJ

Name: _______________________________________________

ŠClinton Elementary School, Maplewood, NJ

Name: ___________________________________


Tools of a Meteorologist



Hygrometer ŠClinton Elementary School, Maplewood, NJ

Wind Vane

Rain Gauge


Use the data table above to answer these five questions. 1. Which month was it warmest? _________________ 2. Which month was it coldest? _________________ 3. What was the average temperature in your birthday month? ___________ 4. What was the average temperature in the month where we come back to school? _________ 5. What was the average temperature in the month with Thanksgiving? _________

ŠClinton Elementary School, Maplewood, NJ

Name: ___________________________________________

Thermometer Activity

Step 1: Take the temperature of the cold water. Step 2: Take the temperature of the warm water. Step 3: Take the temperature of the cold water again. Step 4: Take the temperature of the warm water again. Complete the table below with your data: First Reading

Second Reading

Cold Water

Warm Water

Did the temperature change from the first time you read the cold water to the second time? ______ Predict why or why not. ____________________________ _______________________________________________ Did the temperature change from the first time you read the warm water to the second time? ______ Predict why or why not. ____________________________ _______________________________________________ ŠClinton Elementary School, Maplewood, NJ

Name: _________________________________________

Puddle Activity

Drawing Table

Puddle Location  Prediction after 24 hours

Actual after 24 hours

Actual Actual after 48 hours What types of conditions help evaporation to happen faster?

Did the temperature or sun have anything to do with how quickly water evaporated? ŠClinton Elementary School, Maplewood, NJ

Name: ____________________________________

ŠClinton Elementary School, Maplewood, NJ

Name: _________________________________________

ŠClinton Elementary School, Maplewood, NJ


Name: ____________________________________________

Identify the Cloud

* Use the cloud diagram below and the definitions of the types of clouds to label each cloud.

Cirrus: Cirrus Thin, wispy, curly-shaped clouds. Cumuloumulo-nimbus: nimbus Large, dense, towering clouds that cause rain and thunderstorms. Cumulus: umulus Puffy clouds. Fog: og Ground-hugging clouds. Stratus: tratus Layered, horizontal clouds with a flat base. ŠClinton Elementary School, Maplewood, NJ

Water Cycle Word Cards

Evaporation Condensation

Evaporation Precipitation

Name: _______________________________________


Weather Unit - Grade 3  

Complete unit on weather designed for 3rd grade