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Relativity in Weather

by Early Math Counts

Sometimes it is easier to think about the weather in relative terms, since temperature may be an ambiguous concept for children.  However, if asked in the right way, children might be able tell you if today is sunnier than yesterday was, or if it is colder.

This is a great place for adults to use “prompting” techniques to help children remember what yesterday was like.  You can ask them outright, “Is it hotter or colder than yesterday?” If they can’t really remember, prompt them with reminders such as, “Did you wear a winter coat yesterday?  Did you need a hat and gloves?”  Prompting the memory with clues is one good way for children to explore the relative nature of the weather.

Take a look at this video clip.

You can see very clearly that the child knows that it is sunny- but did you notice “how sunny” it is?  It is very sunny- it may be the sunniest day of the week.  It is so sunny that the shades are drawn because the sun is shining so brightly. The sunshine of that day is relative to the sunshine the day before and the day after.  It is within these relationships that mathematical concepts belong. Be sure to encourage children to learn suffixes that are relative, such as er, and est endings on the adjectives they are already using.


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