Weird Weather

The weather in Prince Edward Island is often hard to predict, with forecasts changing daily. During the fall, Islanders may be greeted with warm temperatures or brisk fall air, sunshine, rain, snow, hurricanes winds, thunder, lightning, and hail; the weather can be quite weird. In this module, the children will become meteorologists learning about different weather patterns, they will record the weather and discuss the effects weather has on various living creature. They will participate in games and activities that help them learn or enforce what they learn about weather during this module.

Lesson 1 - Weather Watch

As an introduction to weather, discuss the different weather patterns to expect during the fall month. Look at historical data and compare to the current weather. Have the children observe the weather and record. Different instruments, such as the barometre, wind vane and rain gauge, can be made using different materials. Have the children make these instruments, using them to collect information on the weather over the course of this module.

Lesson 2 - Weather Damage

The weather can have a great effect on plants and animals. Wind will knock off branches or uproot trees, destroying homes of various living creatures. Go on a nature walk, looking for signs of weather damage. Discuss what may have caused the damage and how they change will affect the area. Record a daily observation.

Lesson 3 - Forecasting with Plants and Animals

Historically, there were no high tech instruments to use to predict the imminent weather. You could not turn on a television or look in local newspaper or go on the internet to see the day’s forecast, or the weeks for that matter.  Forecasting using the change in behaviour of plants and animals is something that has been around for ages. The children will learn about different behaviours that indicate weather change. Record a daily observation.

Plants:

Poplar and red maple flip-up their leaves when pressure is low and rain is coming.

Some fungi can forecast wet and dry weather; open up during rain and close when dry

Dandelions, clovers, tulips, bindweeds, chickweeds, wild indigo

-         fold their petal before rain

Mushrooms, mosses and seaweeds thrive in moist

Seaweed swells and rejuvenates in high humidity

Insects:

Crickets can be used to determine temperature

TC

=

N25


3

+ 4

  • TC is the temperature (in °C).
  • N25 is the number of chirps in 25 seconds (sec).
Call more when the weather is moist because flying is difficult

Mosquitoes feed more often when warm; human sweat making them more appetizing

Red and Black ants build up their mounds and may even cover them as protection from bad weather

Lady Beetles swarm when it’s warm and look for shelter when cold

Bees and Butterflies disappear when bad weather is coming

A spider leaving their webs is a sign of poor weather to come

Birds:

During cold weather birds stand on one leg and tuck the other one in to its feather, or they sit and cover both legs

Junco and sparrow will drop down and cover their legs briefly while foraging in the cold

When it is cold and windy shorebirds tuck their beak into their feathers, sit on one leg or sit and fluff out their feather

Seagulls - "Sea gull, sea gull, sits on the sand; it’s a sign of a rain when you are at hand."

-         rain is imminent when sea gulls roost

Bird roost more during low pressure system as flight is may be harder.

Birds flying high indicate clear weather.

Birds get quiet before rain

Sparrows bathe in dry mud indicates rain is coming

Other:

Bats: Fly low when rain is coming.

Frogs: Croak longer and louder when bad weather is on its way.

Cows: lying down is a sign if rain.

Cats: cleaning the backs of their ears indicate rain may be on its way

Rooster: crow before sleep is a sign of rain.

Humans: moisture and impending rain make our nose more sensitive; we can smell rain

More interesting weather info:

During a thunder and lightning storm count the seconds between a flash of lightning and sound of thunder, divide by two and times by 1.6 to determine how far away the lightning is. Thunder and lightning strike at the same time, but light travels faster than sound. If they occur simultaneously you are in the middle of the storm.

Storm clouds appear dark because they have high ice crystal content so light cannot pass through. When the crystals become too heavy they fall as rain or snow depending on the air temperature.

For more see Billy Goat Mountain Adventures PDF on Forecast Weather 

Lesson 4 - Weather Experiments

This week the children will be doing experiment to study different weather phenomena. Have the children record a daily observation.

Lesson 5 - Young Meteorologist 

Do the final daily observation; discuss with the children how the weather has changed over the weeks. Play a fun nature based game to finish this module.

 

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