Weather for Kids - Chapter 1
IntroductionThis course is designed for parents to begin teaching their children about the weather and how it affects their world. It is primarily intended as a fun learning experience for both parents and kids, but it has a secondary goal of creating the basis for a life-long interest in science and nature. Whether this interest grows to the point of further studies and an eventual pursuit of a career or studies in a S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) field is not important at this point. What is important is that kids and parents share a sense of discovery and even wonder as they learn about the world around them.
Weather and science should be part of the child’s curriculum in school. We feel that by sharing these topics outside of a school environment, when the subjects are taught in the formal classroom the child will have greater enthusiasm toward their lessons.
What’s more, this enthusiasm will carry over into other subjects. Children who are raised in an environment where learning for its own sake is encouraged are more likely to have greater success throughout their education.
Greater success in school is just the icing on the cake. There are more than seven billion people living on the planet, and every one of them feels the effect of weather. Talking about the weather has always been one of mankind’s most common conversation topics. We all enjoy nice weather and complain when it is not, but if we understand the weather even a little bit, then frightening and dangerous conditions become less scary. If the child is less scared in a dangerous weather situation, she is more likely to make the correct decisions and stay safe.
Why Teach Your Kids About Weather
In this section we will:
- Learn how kids can learn to love the planet by learning how weather works
- Learn how we can learn about weather and how it works
- Learn basic safety measures to take in case of dangerous weather
One of the greatest things about being a parent is discovering the world through their young eyes. How many common things have become extraordinary when you share them with your kids? They are even more special when they are something that they can share with you.
It is never too early to begin teaching your kids to love the planet they were born on, and the best way to love it is to learn about it. There are any number of ways to do this, a trip to the zoo or aquarium, a camping trip in the woods, a hike in the local park, all are great ways to introduce the wonder and majesty of nature to a young mind, but the opportunities are not as easy to find as we would like. These things take planning and preparation, but the weather is always there, just outside our windows.
In fact, there is weather inside the house as well, and we will study that as well so that we can understand what is going on in the sky outside. Eventually, we will be able to see how a dust storm on the other side of the planet influences whether or not you will have a White Christmas, but our main focus will be why is it sunny one day and stormy the next, what is really going on when snow or rain is falling, even why it can be raining at home but sunny at school!
This is a good time to begin thinking about weather and storm safety. Storms that bring thunder, lightning and even tornadoes can be frightening for small children, but understanding the weather and why it is doing what is doing can take away some of the scariness. It does not make the storms less dangerous, but being less frightened, kids are less likely to make mistakes.
We will learn more about specific weather safety hazards as we go along, but here are some important safety tips to keep in mind now:
- Always be aware of the weather. Of course you should always take a look through the window before you go outside to see if you need a jacket or coat, but take the time to check the forecast, either from TV or radio, on line, or from your home weather station, to see if the weather could get worse.
- If dangerous weather is predicted, it does not mean that it will happen, but know the signs so you can watch for them. If the sky suddenly fills with dark clouds and it starts to rain, seek shelter. Not only will you be more comfortable, you will be safe from lightning or tornadoes.
- The best place to be is in a building or a car with the windows rolled up. Avoid exposed shelters like metal sheds, baseball dugouts, bleachers, or under a lone tree.
- If there is lightning in the area and you cannot find shelter, crouch down in an open area, at least twice as far away from the nearest tree as it is high, and cover your ears to prevent hearing damage from thunder.
- Stay away from water and metal. Both will conduct electricity and may attract a lightning strike.
- If there is tornado danger, remember to D.U.C.K. - “duck” :
- Get DOWN to the lowest level of the building,
- Get UNDER something solid like a table or a desk,
- COVER your head to protect from falling debris,
- And KEEP inside the shelter until you are sure the danger has passed.
Q1: Why is it important to understand “inside weather”?
A1: The processes that occur in the atmosphere inside a building are the same as happen outside. If we can learn what is going on in the small scale, it is easier to understand what is happening on the larger scale of the outdoors.
Q2: What is the safest place to be in a sudden storm?
A2: Seek shelter in a building or in a car with the window rolled up.
Q3: How do you D.U.C.K. from a tornado?
A3: Get DOWN to the lowest level of the building, get UNDER something solid, COVER your head, and KEEP inside until you are sure the danger has passed.