Wilder Weather: Connecting Weather and Climate to Lessons from Laura Ingalls Wilder

Wednesday 1:30pm-4:00pm Ritchie Hall: 366
Afternoon Mini Workshop


Barbara Boustead, National Weather Service

Explore weather and climate through the lens of Laura Ingalls Wilder's The Long Winter. We will discuss the connections between weather and climate, some basic climate information, the process of documenting historical weather and climate events with available data, and the impacts of extreme weather on both historical and modern communities. Threaded throughout the presentation, learn the weather and climate facts behind the fiction! What were the big weather and climate events in the Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House books? Were her descriptions truth or storytelling? How did the events affect the Ingalls and Wilder families and their communities? The workshop will link subject matter in weather and climate, history, and literature, suitable for all grade levels.

This session is co-sponsored by the American Meteorological Society.

Climate, Weather, and Laura Ingalls Wilder: Connecting Science to a Narrative (Acrobat (PDF) 272.9MB Jul23 18)Presentation File


By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  • Clarify definitions of climate, climate change, and climate prediction
  • Participate in interactive activities that demonstrate concepts of climate drivers
  • Integrate storytelling into presentation of scientific information
  • Uncover the role of history in weather and climate


Note: All of these times are flexible and will respond to the group's questions, input, stories, and experiences! Discussion breaks will occur several times throughout the program.

1:30 Welcome and introductions

1:45 Weather and Climate "Firehose": What is climate? What do we know about climate change? How are weather and climate forecasts different?

2:30 Break

2:45 Activity: Rolling the Climate Dice

3:00 Creating a Narrative: Weather, Climate, and Laura Ingalls Wilder

3:45 Questions, Discussion, and End of Workshop Evaluation

4:00 Adjourn

Extra Resources

Wilder Weather blog: http://www.bousteadhill.net/wilder_weather/

National Climate Assessment: https://www.globalchange.gov

Climate.gov: https://www.climate.gov