Measuring the Transition between Winter and Spring
Can you believe that our clocks are springing forward this weekend? And with spring being right around the corner, you don’t have much longer to enjoy the snow and frosty air. Use the changing seasons as a way to teach your student how to track weather changes with this fun weather measurement activity.
What Weather Metrics Do We Measure
Before you start experimenting, go over these measurable weather vocabulary terms with your student.
- Temperature: A measurement of heat or coldness in an object. Temperature can be measured with a thermometer on three different scales: Celsius, Fahrenheit, and Kelvin.
- Precipitation: Liquid and solid particles that fall from the clouds. Snow, rain, hail, and sleet are all examples of precipitation.
- Wind speed: A measure of air movement with respect to the earth’s surface.
- Cloud cover: The fraction or percentage of the sky that is covered by clouds, as viewed from one location.
- Air pressure: The weight of air pressing down on your body and the earth’s surface.
- Humidity: The measurement of water vapor in the air.
- Sunshine: The amount of direct light from the sun.
Weather Experimenting Time
Snow and Rain Gauge
As spring approaches, the rain begins to wash away the snow. What a great way for a math in nature activity and measuring the changing temperatures with your student! Here’s a simple way to get started with a snow and rain gauge to measure precipitation.
- One clear glass or plastic jar
- One ruler
- One notebook
- Graph paper
- Colored pencils
- Permanent marker
What to do:
- Have your student mark a clear plastic jar up the side at each inch mark, using a ruler and a permanent marker.
- Your student should then set the jar in a clear area outside, free from trees or other obstructions.
- Choose a time at the end of each school day to have your student check the jar for any snow or rain that may have accumulated. He or she should measure any precipitation using the marks on the side of the jar.
What to observe:
- Create a “precipitation notebook” and have your student record the snow and rain levels each day. Make sure he or she records whether it was snow or rain in the jar. After recording the level, your child should dump out the water.
- On a piece of graph paper, have your student create a precipitation table. The vertical axis should be labeled by inches. The horizontal should be labeled by dates. You can start the dates with the day you started the experiment and end the dates in late April to thoroughly track the change in weather.
- Your student should choose a colored pencil to represent snow and a different pencil for rain. At the end of each day, he or she will mark a dot on the precipitation table for both snow and rain accumulation that day. Then continue to connect the dots each day to create a line graph representing the accumulation levels of snow and rain.
As you get ready for spring activities, check out these tips for staying focused as the days get warmer and longer. Take advantage of the changing seasons with this simple experiment, and let us know how it goes in the comments below!