Earth and Space Sciences K-ESS K-ESS2-1. Use and share quantitative observations of local weather conditions to describe patterns over time.


Teacher background

Weather refers to the conditions resulting from sunlight, clouds, temperature, humidity, wind, air pressure, and precipitation in a particular area at a particular time. Weather changes from hour to hour, day to day, or month to month. Climate is the pattern of weather over a series of years. Climate can change over decades or centuries.

The temperature of air is a factor in weather because it determines whether air rises or sinks. When sunlight heats the air, water evaporates into the air as water vapor. Air that has been heated by the Sun rises because it expands as it is heated. When it expands, it becomes less dense and rises. The higher it rises, the cooler it becomes. When it cools enough, water vapor in the air condenses, forming clouds. Eventually, when enough water has condensed, precipitation will fall from clouds to Earth’s surface. The cooler air sinks back to the surface, allowing newly warmed air to rise. This causes convection and repeated weather patterns.X


Air pressure is another factor that affects weather. When warm air rises, it lessens the air pressure in that location. This creates a low-pressure area. Air rushes in to fill this low-pressure area, creating windThe bigger the difference in air pressure between air masses, the windier the conditions. Differences in air pressure are usually created by unequal heating of different surfaces on Earth. Land heats up faster than water, such as the surface of the ocean. In addition, when air that has risen cools off and sinks, it creates a high-pressure area. Low-pressure areas are often associated with rainy conditions, and high-pressure areas are often associated with clear conditions. This is another example of a convection current and can happen locally or globally.


Humidity refers to the amount of water vapor in the air. The warmer the temperature, the more water vapor that air can hold. For example, the air in the tropics around the equator is very humid. The greater the humidity in the air, the more likely precipitation will occur. A rainforest in the tropics gets rain almost every day and can receive up to 400 inches of rain annually!

Precipitation is water that has condensed in the atmosphere and falls back to Earth. It can be in the form of rain, snow, sleet, or hail. Water is in the atmosphere due to the water cycle.


The largest shifts in weather we notice are the seasons. A common misconception to look out for is that Earth’s proximity to the Sun determines the seasons. Seasonal weather changes are actually determined by the latitudinal location on Earth and Earth’s axial tilt of 23.5The latitude and axial tilt determine the amount of energy from the Sun that a location receives. This is also connected to the amount of daylight a location receives during a specific part of the year. Children all over the world experience different seasonal fluctuations. In the United States, we generally have four seasons: spring, summer, autumn (or fall), and winter- but this is not the case nearer the equator or the poles. For example, people in tropical climates have two seasons: wet and dry.


Earth’s orbit around the Sun and the tilt of Earth’s axis determine the seasons.


Spring, summer, autumn (or fall), and winter are the four seasons experienced by most locations in North America.

Another pattern we see in weather is that it is usually cooler in the morning, with the temperature rising during the day and reaching the high temperature for the day in the afternoon. As the day ends, we experience cooler temperatures at night. Occasionally this pattern will be different if a warm or cold front moves through the area. For example, if a cold front moves into an area in the afternoon, the temperature may drop and it might be cooler in the afternoon than it was in the morning. A front is the boundary between a warm air mass and a cold air mass. An air mass is a large body of air in a particular area that has similar moisture (density) and temperature. As a cold front moves into an area, it pushes under the warm front, moving into its place. As the cold front moves, it usually replaces the warm, moist air with cool, dry air. As a warm front moves into an area, it pushes above the cold air, replacing the cold air. This often causes stormy weather as cool, dry air is replaced by warm, moist air.

If you pay close attention to the weather data recorded during specific times or months of the year, you may see typical patterns develop. For example, July may typically be the warmest month of the year for your area, while February may be the coldest. October may be the driest month of the year, while May may be the wettest. These patterns vary from region to region around the world. July may be the warmest month in one area, while August may be the warmest month in another area.

Weather varies with location. Elevation, latitude, and proximity to water can all affect weather conditions in an area. The weather conditions can be different even for people living in the same city. The north side of a city may be getting rain while the south side of the same city is sunny.


Read Aloud "Oh Say Can You Say What's The Weather Today?"

Read Aloud "Weather Words And What They Mean"


In order for animals to survive, they need food, water, oxygen, and shelter. Animals will move to another habitat if necessary to survive.

We often talk about weather in terms of how it affects us. When it is cold outside, we need a jacket. When it is raining, we need an umbrella. When it is hot, we need to wear shorts. Weather affects not only what we wear, but also what we do. Will we have recess indoors or outdoors? Will we ride bikes or play indoor games? Will we walk our dog or watch a movie? Will we go swimming or drink hot chocolate by the fireplace? Daily weather dictates much about our daily activities. Cloud cover, temperature, wind, and precipitation affect what we wear and and our activities.Weather influences what we wear and what we do.

The noticeable changes in weather elements are created by interactions of weather factors (such as wind, temperature, air pressure, and precipitation) and patterns in weather. It rains not only because there are clouds, but also because there is change in atmospheric pressure. Air pressure is the force on a surface due to the weight of air above it. When there is low air pressure, it is more likely to rain because the air is able to rise high into the atmosphere, where the water vapor in the air condenses and falls back to the earth as precipitation (rain, sleet, hail, or snow). When there is high pressure, we are more likely to experience clear, sunny days.

The air pressure also influences winds and temperatures. Wind is caused by differences in air pressure. Wind occurs when the air pressure in one area is different from the air pressure in an adjacent area. Air moves from high-pressure regions into low-pressure regions. This creates the flow of air we feel as wind. These weather patterns can be tracked throughout the day as they travel across the landscape.

Weather patterns allow meteorologists to predict weather conditions for the near future. Meteorologists are scientists who study and predict weather. Meteorologists create weather forecasts using a network of weather stations that record conditions all over the world. Current conditions and patterns in weather, moving weather systems, and the history of weather in an area can all affect a meteorologist’s forecast. We use these forecasts to make plans.

Meteorologists look at several categories of weather conditions: temperature (hot or cold), cloud cover (sunny or cloudy), precipitation (rainy, snowy, or clear), air pressure (high or low), and wind (windy or calm).

It is easy to observe weather patterns. During the onset of inclement weather, clouds become dark, temperatures drop, winds pick up, and precipitation occurs.

Weather patterns or trends can be discovered by creating weather charts. Tools such as rain gauges, wind socks, thermometers, and barometers measure and gather weather information. It is important to monitor weather conditions over time in order to determine patterns, make predictions, and act appropriately.

A rain gauge measures the amount of rainfall over a certain period of time. A rain gauge is a tube, usually with a wide top and straight sides, that collects water as it rains. In the United States, a rain gauge usually measures rainfall in inches. The water level should be read from the bottom of the meniscus (the curved surface of water in a tube).

An anemometer is a tool that measures the speed of wind. The anemometer has a fan blade that measures wind speed based on how quickly the blades turn. A wind vane measures wind direction by pointing in the direction from which the wind is coming. A wind sock is a tool that indicates wind speed and direction by its angle. The sock points in the direction the wind is flowing. The higher the wind speed, the straighter the sock points.

A barometer is a tool that measures air pressure. When the air pressure falls, a low-pressure system is moving into the area. These systems usually cause rain or other storms. If air pressure rises, a high-pressure system has arrived bringing clear skies.

Thermometers measure the temperature of the air. Temperature is the term we use to describe how warm or cool something is. A thermometer measures how hot or cold the air is. The liquid inside a thermometer (which used to be mercury but is now usually alcohol) expands and moves up the tube when air is warm or contracts and moves down the tube when the air is cold. Although degrees Celsius is the unit of measurement used in a laboratory, temperature is often reported in degrees Fahrenheit on weather reports or weather maps in the United States.

One temperature pattern we can observe is that temperature is usually cooler in the morning and warmer in the afternoon. Why does this happen? The rays from the sun heat the air, water, and other surfaces on Earth. During the night, our part of Earth has rotated and turned away from the sun. So the air, water, soil, and other surfaces are not receiving any heat from the sun. During the night, the surface of Earth becomes cooler as its heat escapes into the atmosphere. So the coolest time on the Earth’s surface is usually right before sunrise. When the sun rises, it once again begins to heat the air and surfaces of Earth. As the day moves toward the afternoon, the temperature increases, with the warmest time in the afternoon. As the sun sets, the temperatures begin to lower again. This pattern repeats over and over.

One of the most noticeable patterns involving weather is the cycle of seasons on Earth. Earth’s tilt on its axis and its journey around the Sun cause the angle of sunlight and the number of daylight hours to change dramatically from season to season. How does each season bring different weather, and how do those changes affect daily activities? Spring brings clouds and rain that nourish new plant growth and mild temperatures for playing baseball and having picnics in the park. Summer’s heat brings long, hot days, school vacation, air conditioners, swimming, shorts, and suntan lotion. During fall, yellow, red, and orange tree leaves create a blanket of color on the lawn to play in and rake up. Light jackets are all that are needed for fall’s mild temperatures during soccer and football games. Winter’s weather, however, brings freezing temperatures along with snowmen, mittens, and sleds. Then spring arrives once again.



Read aloud "Feel the Wind"

Read Aloud "What Will the Weather Be?"

Life Science K-LS K-LS1-1. Observe and communicate that animals (including humans) and plants need food, water, and air to survive. Animals get food from plants or other animals. Plants make their own food and need light to live and grow.


Animals need energy from food and water in order to live and grow. Animals are heterotrophs. A heterotroph is an organism that cant make its own food, so it must eat other living things, such as plants or animals, to survive. Animals can be placed into three categories based on how they get their energy.

Herbivores are animals that consume only plants. Their digestive systems allow them to break down most parts of the plant to obtain energy. While plants are high in energy, they are sometimes low in the other nutrients that animals need to survive. Some herbivores must consume large amounts of plant matter. Examples of herbivores are deer, cows, and grasshoppers.

Carnivores are animals that only eat other animals (meat eaters). Their digestive systems do not break down plant matter efficiently, so they consume other animals to obtain the energy that plants have transformed. Examples of carnivores are lions and hawks.

Omnivores are animals that consume both plants and other animals for energy. Being an omnivore allows animals such as bears, raccoons, and humans to survive in many different habitats.

Humans eat food that contains both meat and plants, such as hamburgers.

All animals need water to survive. Water is important for transporting nutrients and filtering waste from an animal’s body. Water is so important for life that most organisms choose their habitat based on the availability of water.

In addition to water and food, animals need oxygen. Most animals cannot survive without air. Animals such as dogs, lizards, ducks, and humans need the oxygen from the air to survive. Even insects need air. Fish do not need air; instead, they take oxygen from the water as it flows through their gills.

Animals need a safe place to live. They need shelter from harsh temperatures and predators. Shelters for animals are varied. Some animals, such as birds and squirrels, seek shelter in trees and will build their nests there. Other animals, such as prairie dogs and rabbits, burrow in the ground for shelter. Camouflage is also used by some animals to stay safe. A deer can seek shelter in a forest because its coloring (camouflage) helps it hide from its predators. Snowshoe hares are brown in the summer and white in the winter, so they can be more difficult to spot in the tall grasses in the summer and the snow in the winter.

In order for animals to survive, they need food, water, oxygen, and shelter. Animals will move to another habitat if necessary to survive.


Read Aloud "A Cool Drink of Water"


Plants are autotrophs, or organisms capable of making their own food. Plant roots absorb water and nutrients, while their leaves capture energy from sunlight and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Plants use all these ingredients to transform solar energy into a chemical energy molecule called glucose (sugar). The sugar is used for daily functions and for growth. Plants can photosynthesize to transform and make energy available for their growth and reproduction, but other nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, are necessary for protein synthesis and other important processes. Most plants need soil to anchor them and provide a source of these nutrients.

To get the water necessary for photosynthesis, the process by which plants make glucose, most plants have roots that grow down into the soil looking for water. Some plants, such as oak trees, have roots that grow very deep. This not only helps the plant find all the water it needs, but also anchors these huge trees in the ground. Plants can store water in their stems for times when water is limited, such as during a drought. Plants that are adapted to live in areas of little to no rainfall, such as cacti, have evolved special tissue that stores water. Water distributes glucose and other nutrients throughout the plant.

Sunlight provides the energy necessary for photosynthesis to occur. Plants can survive through the night or a cloudy day, but too long without light will starve a plant. In temperate climates, deciduous trees store glucose during their dormancy period. Just as heterotrophs (organisms that cannot make their own food) need to frequently consume other organisms for energy, plants need to frequently photosynthesize for their energy needs.

Plants need air to photosynthesize. Carbon dioxide in the air is a fundamental building block in the production of glucose. Solar energy enables plants to combine water and carbon dioxide molecules to form sugar molecules, which plants then break down to energize their cell processes.

To obtain all these ingredients for life, plants need plenty of space. The bigger the plant, the more space is required. Without enough room to grow, plants compete with other plants for sunlight, water, and soil nutrients.



Read Aloud "The Magic School Bus: Gets Planted"

Read Aloud "From Seed To Plant"

Physical Science K-PS K-PS1-1(MA). Investigate and communicate the idea that different kinds of materials can be solid or liquid depending on temperature. K-PS2-1. Compare the effects of different strengths or different directions of pushes and pulls on the motion of an object.



Kindergarten students will explore how heating and cooling several different substances, under teacher supervision, creates changes to those materials.

Key Concept 1: Heating materials can cause them to melt or change in some other way.

Materials can become soft and melt when heat, from something warm or hot, is added. To help practice heat energy vocabulary, students can play games like “I’m Going to Grandmother’s House.In this game, student teams come up with items, such as the Sun, an iron, a stove, or a toaster, that make heat that they can take to Grandmother’s house. In another version, they have to say things that melt when heat is added, such as ice cream, Popsicle, butter, chocolate, or snow. The idea that certain objects melt when heated lays the foundation for later grades when the states of matter (solid, liquid, gas) are explored.

Some materials, like an ice cube or ice cream, are more sensitive to heat and will melt just by being exposed to the warm air in a room. Other materials need a bit more heat to begin to melt. Butter in a plastic bag just needs the additional warmth of a hand to begin to soften. However, if you want to make butter into a liquid, the high heat of a stove is necessary.

Other examples of materials that require the high heat of a flame or hot plate to melt and become liquid are wax crayons and marshmallows. When crayons are heated and melt, their texture changes from hard and waxy to soft and runny. Crayons also change their shape from a round stick (cylinder), to a flowing liquid that can make a puddle or take the shape of a container.

Use extreme caution when melting crayons. Because the wax does not boil, you cannot tell how hot it is. In fact, wax can reach high temperatures quickly and cause severe burns. Never leave melting wax unattended. Metal, on the other hand, does not melt if heated on a stove, so it makes useful cooking pots and pans. Similarly, a concrete or cement sidewalk will get blistering hot on a summer day, but will not melt.


Although very high heat can melt metal and vaporize other materials, Kindergarten students will focus on changes to ice, butter, marshmallows, and crayons. Heating materials actually causes thermal energy (heat energy) to move the molecules in the materials faster and farther apart.

Key Concept 2: Cooling materials can cause them to freeze or change in some other way.

Objects are cooled when heat is removed. Removing heat is accomplished by moving the hot or warm object to a colder location such as a countertop, refrigerator, bag of ice, or a cooler. Students can play the game I’m Going to Grandmother’s House and try to name objects that make things cold, such as ice cubes, a refrigerator, a freezer, snow, or an air conditioner. Some materials need freezing temperatures to change from a liquid to a solid, like changing water into an ice cube or flavored cream into ice cream. Other warm liquids, like melted wax candles, or crayons just need room temperature air to become solid again. Melted butter can become a little firmer at room temperature but needs to be cooled in a refrigerator to become solid hard.

Key Concept 3:

We can record observations about how materials are changed by heating and cooling.Pictures can be glued or drawn onto charts to record how materials have changed. Taking digital prints or video images of changing materials is another alternative. Making a class summary chart or product after students have created individual journals helps connect experiences about changes from heat.



Video of Sid The Science Kid: My Ice Pops

Video of Sid The Science Kid - The Perfect Pancake


A force is a push or a pull that causes an object to speed up, slow down, start moving from a resting position, stop completely, or change direction. A child who is pedaling a small bike slowly will speed up when you push the child from behind. A child who is running will slow down when you grab the child’s hand and stop moving. A child sitting in a motionless swing will start moving if you give the child a push. A basketball tossed into the air will stop moving completely if you catch it and hold it still. A hammock swinging toward you will change directions and move in the opposite direction if you push it back away from you. A force can also prevent motion, such as when you hold something up, preventing it from falling.

When friction is present, a force is necessary to keep something moving at a constant speed. Friction is a force that resists the motion of two surfaces sliding across one another. It is a force that works to slow down or stop objects in motion, and it is always present on Earth. When you roll a marble across the carpet, it eventually stops because of friction between the marble and the carpet.

A push or pull can be of varying strength. Think of the difference in force when a young child hits a baseball versus when a professional baseball player knocks the ball out of the park for a home run. The force on the ball from the professional baseball player is much greater. A bigger push to a child on a playground swing causes that child to swing higher up in the air. Pulling harder on a wagon handle causes the wagon to travel at a faster speed.

People, objects, or nature can push or pull an object. A boy pushing his toy car across the room, a girl using her foot to push her scooter, and the wind pushing a kite up into the sky are examples of pushing forces.

A mother pulling on a toddler’s arm to stop the child from running, a girl pulling a friend in her wagon, or a child pulling on the string of a kite that soars higher and higher are examples of pulling forces that stop, move, or change the directions of objects. The force of Earth’s gravity is also a pulling force. This is the force that keeps us safely on Earth’s surface and gives us weight.

All forces have a direction. The movement can be up, down, or sideways. The object will move in the direction it is pushed or pulled. If a ball is kicked to the right, it will move to the right. Once an object is forced into motion, it will stay in motion until a force acts to stop its movement. For example, if a person pushes a toy car across the floor, it will continue moving until the frictional force between the wheels and the rods on which they turn causes it to slow and stop.

Another time force is evident is when a collision occurs. When objects collide, it causes a change in motion. This change in motion can be in both speed and direction. When a marble rolls across the floor and hits a stationary Ping-Pong ball, it causes the marble to slow down and the Ping-Pong ball to move. It also causes the marble to bounce off and change directions. On a much larger scale, when two cars traveling in opposite directions collide, a powerful force happens, causing both cars to change speed and direction. It also causes damage to both cars where the impact of the force occurred.



Read Aloud "Push and Pull"


Video on Sid The Science Kid - My Slide

Video on The Magic School Bus - Plays Ball (Forces)