Unit D: Looking at the Sky

What can you tell from looking at the sky?

1. Get Set to Explore


  • sunscreen: What you put on your skin to prevent sunburn.
  • weather: What the air outside is like.

Building Background

  • Review the vocabulary words with the class. Explain that children will be exploring different kinds of weather and learning the kinds of objects that can help them enjoy being outside in different weather.
  • Bring or ask volunteers to bring the following items to class: cap with a brim, flashlight, hat, mittens, snow boots, sunglasses, sunscreen, umbrella. You might put all of these items in a big bag and let volunteers close their eyes and take items from the bag one at a time. When an item is selected, ask the child who has picked the item to show how it is used. Have the class tell you in what kind of weather the item would be used and how it would be helpful to a person going outdoors in that weather.
  • Introduce the Discover! question. Explain that children should focus on what looking at the sky can tell them about weather. Lead a class discussion to generate answers. You might refer to some of the ideas children came up with when they talked about gathering clues about the weather. Write children's answers on the board and keep the list up to use during and after the simulation.

2. Guide the Exploration

  • You may wish to pair children for this simulation. Tell children to launch the Discover! Simulation. They should listen carefully to the directions. Direct children to imagine that they are in the room shown on the computer screen and are looking out that window. They should try to figure out what the weather would be like. If necessary, remind children of the visual hints they came up with during discussion.
  • Based on what children think the weather would be like, they should pick the item or items in the room that they think would be most useful were they to go out in that kind of weather at that time of day. They pick the item by clicking on the item.
  • Explain that once children select an item, it will appear near the bottom of the screen. If they selected the correct item for the weather shown out the window, they will see the child go outside with that item.
  • After children have been successful with one scene, encourage them to use the Start Again button, in the upper right corner of the screen, to change the scene. There are six different scenes, and children should try to get the right answers for all of them.

3. Review/Assess

  • Discuss Step 3's Wrap-up text. Let children describe things they saw out the window in the computer scene that indicated what the weather was like. Check off these items from the list of ideas on the board from the previous discussion.
  • Reinforce the idea that looking at the sky not only tells us about the weather, but also tells us whether it is day and night. Through discussion, have children tell what makes day different from night. Elicit the idea that there is no sunlight at night. Ask children how this affects the weather. Point out that often it is cooler at night than it is during the day, because of the lack of sunshine.
  • Have children look out the classroom window. Then ask the Extension questions. Focus children's attention on clues that tell them about the weather.

If time permits, present children with the following questions:

  • Inquiry Skill Communicate You want to tell friends who live somewhere else about what the weather is like today, where you live. What are four or more things you need to describe to your friends, so they have a good idea about your weather? Answer: Children should include at least four of the following categories of information: sunshine, cloud cover, precipitation, wind, temperature, humidity.
  • Critical Thinking Apply Imagine you looked outside and saw that the Sun was shining in the sky, but there was deep snow on the ground. What do you think the weather would be like? Name five items you might need to use or wear if you were going outside. Answer: The weather would be cold. Items to wear should include a coat, hat, mittens, snow boots; sunscreen would protect from sunburn, which can occur in winter because sunshine is reflected off the snow.

4. Reaching All Learners


Direct children to keep a daily log of what the weather is like in your area for a week. They can use symbols or draw pictures to record information. Point out that if the weather changes over the course of a day, they might need to draw more than one picture.