Seasons and the weather
This list consists of lesson plans, activities and ideas to support the teaching of science through the topic of Seasons and the Weather. It shows how to link science to the topic, tips on using the resources, suggestions for further use and background subject knowledge to support teachers in delivering the science objectives. Resources support the teaching of observation of seasonal changes and observing the weather over time.
Visit the primary resources for cross curricular topics webpage to access all resource lists:
Links and Resources
This pupil booklet contains several weather poems, useful as starting points for discussion with children. It also includes a number of images of examples of weather vanes; maybe there might be one on a local church or other building close to you? Children might build their own using recyclable materials and use them to observe how wind direction changes as the wind blows. Adding a flag or string of bunting to the outdoor space around school allows children to see how strongly the wind is blowing.
There are plenty of ideas for activities in the two books 'What's the weather?' and 'Fine weather to Fly?'
In What's the weather? children make observations of the weather and create symbols (with definitions) for the types of weather that might occur. Ideally, they should record the weather regularly and over an extended period of time (it could feature in 'carpet time' talk, 'What's the weather today?') This will allow children to Work Scientifically as they notice patterns in the data they collect. In 'Fine weather to fly?' children consider the weather that pilots of aircraft need and think about whether there is too much cloud, too high a wind etc, on any given day.
What does weather of different types look like...and feel like? These weather picture cards could be printed and used to show examples of what different weather conditions might look like. Alternatively, ask children to add appropriate 'weather' to an image of something familiar - perhaps their school or a local building or church. The addition of a familiar person - or themselves - to the image encourages them to think about how they might need to dress, if it were snowy, sunny or pouring with rain. This works well as a collaborative piece of work or even a classroom display, where key weather words can be added as stimulus for further learning.
This set of posters shows how children might be dressed in different months of the year. Children might think about, for example, whether they always wear sunglasses, shorts and tee shirt in July. Might the weather be different? Is it always hot and sunny in July? Looking at weather records they've collected might be useful here. Would the clothing pictured be suitable for the weather recorded on their chart (for a given month)? The variability we all experience each month / week / day shows us just how changeable British weather can be!
This useful resource provides ready to go key vocabulary relevant to the topics of weather and the seasons. Encourage children to refer to the word mats and practise the vocabulary as they tell you 'what's the weather today?' or as they describe the signs of the seasons that they notice around the school grounds and in the natural world.
Children should get to know a number of contrasting habitats around the school grounds or local area, visiting them regularly across the year to make observations of the animals and plants, which are evident during different seasons. They should work scientifically, recording their observations of animals on a tally chart and compare their results across different visits and the seasons. These activities support children to work scientifically, the second activity links to work on habitats and observing changes in a local habitat over the course of a year.
Children should get to know a variety of trees in the school grounds and/or local area and visit them regularly to make close observations of changes that take place across the seasons. In order to recognise that some trees are deciduous (lose their leaves in winter) while others are evergreen they need to experience this physically. This lesson suggests children visit at least one of each type of tree across the seasons and make comparisons between them. A wall display in the classroom can capture these differences, with photos, sketches, key observations and evidence recorded for each of the four seasons. Encourage children to notice details, focussing in on changes to leaves and fruits in the autumn, bare branches in winter, some children may believe that the tree has died as there are no leaves on it, by observing the tree over the course of a year children be able to observe that this is not the case as they will see buds and flowers in the spring, and full leaves and fruits in summer.
This resource aimed at lower primary level looks at how weather and daylight length change with the different season. It consists of a template for a four seasons disc, which shows four different times in the day and what we may observe at these times during the different seasons. Key vocabulary is provided which may be cut out and placed on the relevant season.
Proving that there's nothing new under the sun, this resource for teachers includes some great ideas about how to use the trees that feature around the school grounds or further afield. What's important is to encourage children to look closely and observe in detail, using their full range of senses to engage with trees. Adopting a class tree works well. Children visit their tree regularly, for a short time, think and talk about what they notice: What can they see if they look very closely, using a magnifier, at the trunk, leaves or roots? What if they look down at the ground? What if they look up at the branches, what do they see? Encourage 'scavenging', collecting fallen nuts and seed cases, leaves or berries, take rubbings of bark, press fresh leaves or flowers, according to the season. Outcomes of these observations should be regularly communicated, perhaps by creating an 'Our Tree' classroom display, a 'big book' or diary of changes to 'Our Tree' over time.
In this activity, children learn about the seasons and the different fruit and vegetables which are ready to eat at different times of the year. Children discuss the seasons thinking about the things that may be observed in each, the clothes worn and activities that might be carried out. Using the seasons cards provided, they discuss the fruits and vegetables which have finished growing and are ready to eat. They then go on to make a seasonal salad using produce from the relevant season. Adapt the activity further for KS1 children by investigating different combinations of foods and produce that could be combined in different ways to provide a balanced seasonal menu of food for a special occasion, a tea party or 'lunch date' with parents.