What is climate? What is weather? These are questions which should open every discussion about climate change. Children usually confuse the two terms.
- photos of crops
- photos of different weather conditions
- photos of different climate zones
First, the teacher asks:
- When we get up in the morning and look outside to know what to wear on, do we check the weather or the climate?
- When we say it’s rainy or sunny, do we describe the weather or the climate?
The teacher announces that during the next month children will have to check the weather daily and record it in their weather calendars. For this task children will need the weather calendar and weather markers included in the attachments.
Depending on the weather outside, children will use appropriate sticks (weather markers). This task will help to consolidate children’s knowledge about different weather conditions. It will also remind them that weather is defined as daily changes in the state of the atmosphere.
The teacher asks whether the climate can be described based on the weather on a given day. The answer should be ‘no’, as climate is defined as the usual condition of the atmosphere. The information is gathered by meteorologists over a number of years.
The teacher may give an example of a farmer who decides whether he should harvest crops the following day. He makes his decision based on the weather forecast. On the other hand, the decision concerning the type of plants he should grow – rice, manioc or rye (which are typical in different climate zones) – is made based on the type of climate zone where the farmer lives. Rice likes warmth and humidity, manioc prefers to grow in the tropical climate, whereas rye is popular in the temperate climate. The teacher may show the crops on photos included in the attachments.
Ar the end, the teacher shows the children photos of climate zones and weather conditions (attachments) and asks: Which picture shows weather and which shows climate?
Observations and conclusions
The weather is the state of the atmosphere at a given time. The weather may change as time passes. We also talk about weather anomalies which are departures from a typical weather pattern in a given geographic area.
When we describe the weather, like during a weather forecast, we usually talk about the temperature, the type and amount of precipitation, the speed of the wind, cloudiness and other atmospheric phenomena, like storms or hailstorms.