MnSTEP Teaching Activity Collection > MnSTEP Activities > Investigating Temperature: Using a Thermometer

Investigating Temperature: Using a Thermometer

Colleen Fridlund, Webster Magnet Elementary, based on an activity presented at MnSTEP Summer 2009 Institute by Leah Bulver.
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In this activity, students will record the high/low temperature daily throughout the school year and observe the change over time (phenology). They will analyze the data monthly and make predictions about the temperature.

Learning Goals

Students will learn how to read thermometers, record data, and graph their results. Students will observe how temperature changes throughout the school year and make predictions about changes in the seasons.

Context for Use

This lesson will reinforce the use of the thermometer and interpreting graphs in the Everyday Math curriculum.

Subject: Geoscience:Atmospheric Science:Meteorology
Resource Type: Activities:Classroom Activity
Grade Level: Primary (K-2)
Theme: Teach the Earth:Teaching Topics:Weather, Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Atmospheric Science

Description and Teaching Materials

Everyday math thermometer
Indoor/Outdoor thermometer (optional)
Daily newspaper or internet access to find yesterday's high/low temperature
¼" Graphing paper (one for each month September – June)
¼" colored paper strips to match color code of Everyday Math Thermometer

As part of the math calendar activity daily, a student job will be find out the high/low temperature for the previous day, using a newspaper or internet website. They will record the high/low on the graphing sheet for the month, and find the colored strip to represent the high for the day.

Teaching Notes and Tips

Phenology, the change in nature over time, can be discussed as part of this lesson. Use the Weatherguide calendar monthly Phenology section, to begin noticing about changes in nature.
A classroom thermometer can be used for this graphing activity using of current temperature. Students can calculate the difference in high temperature from one day, week, month to the next.
Make the graph for each month together. Discuss the month name, number of days in the month, and label the graph parts.

Minnesota Weather Guide Environment Calendar
Everyday Math curriculum

Everyday Math color code:
Temperature Range Color
100∞ - 120∞ Red
80∞ - 100∞ Orange
60∞ - 80∞ Yellow
40∞ - 60∞ Green
20∞ - 40∞ Blue
0∞ - 20∞ Purple
Below 0∞ White

Everyday Math curriculum has a large classroom thermometer. Use this tool to introduce the temperature ranges and color codes.


A student will measure and record the temperature daily on the classroom temperature graph. They will use this data to describe temperature changes in our seasons.


Grade 2
2. Interdependence Within the Earth

Weather can be described in measurable quantities and changes from day to day and with the seasons. Measure, record, and describe weather conditions using common tools.
Ex: temperature, precipitation, sunrise/sunset, and wind speed/direction

References and Resources