Our first science unit is Weather, our largest unit in 2nd grade. There are a lot of key concepts we need to cover, so this unit will be covered in 2 parts. The first part of the Weather Unit is approximately 7 weeks long and covers the atmosphere. We will be addressing the water cycle in the 2nd part of the unit which we will begin in November.
We will study the following key concepts over the next 7 weeks in the first part of the Weather unit:
1. Air has volume (takes up space) and weight/mass.
2. We can use a balance to show that air has mass/weight.
3. The atmosphere is made up of air and surrounds the Earth.
4. An air mass is air that is the same temperature and moisture content throughout.
5. A front is where 2 air masses meet.
6. The sun heats Earth’s air, land and water unequally. This causes air masses of different temperatures.
7. Wind is caused when 2 air masses of different temperatures meet. The hot air mass rises and the cold air rushes into take its place. (Wind is caused by uneven heating and cooling of Earth’s surfaces and air.)
8. Wind can move clouds. It can also move sand or soil and change landscapes.
9. Wind is a form of Energy. (Energy creates change.)
10. Weather describes what is happening right now in the atmosphere.
11. Climate describes the average weather conditions over a long period of time.
12. Air pressure is the weight of the atmosphere pressing down on the Earth.
13. Cold air has higher air pressure than warm air because the cold air is heavier (more dense).
14. Warm air has lower air pressure than cold air because the warm air is lighter (less dense).
15. In the atmosphere, warm air rises and cold air sinks.
16. We can use and identify tools to measure weather:
Anemometer—measures wind speed
Wind vane—measures wind direction
Barometer—measures air pressure
Rain gauge—measures the amount of rain
We will conduct several hands-on experiments to demonstrate many of the key concepts in science lab and your child’s classroom teacher will reinforce concepts in class with activities, books and movies, and classroom discussions.
How can you help your child at home?
1. When we learn new vocabulary in science lab, we learn a hand gesture that reminds us of the definition. If you review with your child at home, you can ask him/her to show you the hand gestures while explaining the vocabulary.
2. Watch the weather together during the news broadcast. Notice weather patterns (weather usually moves from the West to the East.) Where is the weather hotter on the map? Where is it colder?
3. Check out books from the library about weather or weather events.
4. We will be visiting the following websites during science class/lab. Your child might want to revisit them during the unit.
Please feel free to contact me or your child’s classroom teacher if you have any questions.