3. Using stories to think about the impact of the weather

While it is possible to collect weather data in the classroom for a certain period of time, it is less easy to explore the effects of weather over a longer period. ‘Climate’ describes the weather patterns at a place over a period of years.

One way to help pupils explore the longer-term effects of weather could be to use stories, as Case Study 3 does. Here, pupils are able to think about the wider issues. What would happen if certain weather situations persisted? The Key Activity uses another approach. Pupils are encouraged to think about the problems weather can bring.

Case Study 3: Looking at the effects of weather on the lives of different people

Mrs Mweemba was keen to explore with her Grade 5 pupils how weather could affect people and resources in different ways. She began by telling them a story about drought (see Resource 5: Kalulu story). Next, she decided to tell the class the story in Resource 6: How weather affected Mr Mubita and his family.

Having read out the story to her pupils, Mrs Mweemba organised them into their discussion groups. She then gave them a series of questions.

  • What were the different types of weather experienced by Mr Mubita’s family?
  • How many times did the weather change in the story?
  • How did the farmer, Mr Mubita, feel about the sudden outbreak of rain?
  • What impact did the rain have on Mr Mubita’s crops?
  • What impact do you think a lack of rain in his area would have on Mr Mubita and his family?
  • How would you feel if you experienced each of the weather types stated in this story?

Mrs Mweemba asked one pupil in each group to write down the main points from their discussion and another to feed back their ideas to the whole class at the end of the discussion time.

Key Activity: Exploring extreme weather

  • Brainstorm with your pupils examples of extreme weather, e.g. hurricanes, droughts, floods, freezing temperatures, high winds, heat waves.
  • Discuss with the class what happens in each case. Some pupils may know a lot about some of the examples.
  • Divide your class into groups. Ask each group to take one example of extreme weather.
  • They should then try to think about all the problems this weather situation would bring and write a short story to show how life would be affected.
  • Give your pupils plenty of time and encouragement to devise the story. Ask questions such as ‘What would happen to the water supply?’ ‘Would you have fuel? Food?’

2. Observing and recording the weather

Resource 1: African folklore relating to weather – a teacher resource