MnSTEP Teaching Activity Collection > MnSTEP Activities > What's the Temperature?

What's the Temperature?

Robyn Johnson
Clearbrook-Gonvick Public School
Clearbrook, Mn 56634
Author Profile


Summary: Students will read and record the daily outdoor temperature and cloud type with a partner for 1 week. We (the class) will record it in 2 places; once in our Word of the Day Journals and once on the graph on the wall by the thermometer. The Word of the Day Journals are part of our morning meeting each day.

Learning Goals

Learning Goals: Students will identify cumulus, cirrus and stratus clouds. Students will also measure, record and describe weather conditions using observations and a thermometer.

Context for Use

Context: My situation is in a 3rd grade, regular education classroom of about 20 students. Preparation is simple and includes mounting an outdoor thermometer outside a window of your classroom, and making a set of the 3 cloud types with magnetic tape to reinforce what each cloud type looks like.

Subject: Geoscience:Atmospheric Science:Meteorology
Resource Type: Activities:Classroom Activity
Grade Level: Intermediate (3-5)
Theme: Teach the Earth:Teaching Topics:Weather, Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Atmospheric Science

Description and Teaching Materials

Activity Description: This activity is done daily during our morning meeting and in our Word of the Day Journals. Before school begins the two students assigned to be "scientists" read the thermometer and observe the sky for cloud types. I have made pictures of the cloud types (cumulus, cirrus and stratus) and mounted magnetic tape to the back. They write the temperature and choose which type of cloud they observed on the board before the first bell rings for school to start. They also mark the temperature graph, which is on the wall by the thermometer. After the pledge and intercom announcements, the class starts their Word of the Day journals. Everyone writes this data in their journals and we discuss them to ensure they are accurate. We change classroom jobs each week so they usually have 5 days to practice these skills. This is easy and quick and it can be adapted to fit in any journal in almost any subject.

Teaching Notes and Tips


Assessment: As each set of students participates, I can observe and re-teach as necessary. Sometimes I have used other students who have mastered the skills to work with the new "scientists" on the first day or until I know they have all mastered the skills. Everyone will get more than one week to be a "scientist", which reinforces reading the thermometer and basic observation skills.


Minnesota Science Standards: Grade 3 Earth & Space Science: students will investigate weather conditions using common instruments.

References and Resources