Since we are looking at measurement in relation to science and social studies, I also incorporated an activity dealing with temperatures around the world. Kids in the upper elementary grades are usually just starting to realize there is a world outside of themselves and they are very interested in learning about other places. When I researched websites for this activity I found the greatest resource: WunderMap. This map tool is so cool! It gives you current temperatures around the world. I used this Weblist to do both of these activities and I also have a video of how to use Wundermaps. Here are the two activities we did with it:
1. Temperatures Around the World.
I listed locations around the world and had the kids predict if they would be hotter or colder than the temperature here. They also had to list a reason for why they thought it would be hotter or colder. Some of their reasons were a little weak, such as “Hotter because China is hotter”, but even I had a hard time explaining my reasoning for my hypothesis!
2. What affects temperature.
The next temperature activity we did was an exploration of what affects world temperatures. For this activity I went over the key vocabulary: equator, coast, and elevation, then I let the kids explore the map again. They had a much more difficult time with this because I didn’t tell them the answer. Do you have this problem with your students? They always want you to tell them the right answer? We are working on “using our brains” to figure things out. It’s a tough lesson–to teach and learn! So anyway, this activity was more frustrating, and when I do it in the future I will preface it more clearly that this is a discovery, they might not discover the right answer, and that’s ok! The next day I went back to the maps and taught a lesson about the equator, coast and elevation. In the end they really “got it” and loved using Wundermaps.
Side note: When we talked about elevation I showed my kids pictures from when I hiked a mountain with my family this summer. I showed them how we had on short sleeves at the bottom, and by the time we got to the top there was snow! They loved this personal connection and if they forget what elevation is, I just say, “Remember when I hiked the mountain…”
ALSO, in our Storyworks magazine this week there was a story about Jordan Romero, the youngest person to climb Mt. Everest and they made the connection to elevation again…so many connections! My kids LOVED this story and there are lots of inspirational videos on YouTube about this amazing kid!