The Magic of Weather Apps

Montessori meets Yahoo! Weather!

Remember the recent post about the iPad app Yahoo! Weather?  Here is how one of the 4 yr. olds is using the app to connect with important Montessori curriculum activities: geography/culture and building numbers.

I asked the child if she wanted to do some more work building large numbers using temperatures we could find on the weather app.  “I want to find the place where [nanny] went!”  We slid to the Florida page and I said, “Let’s take a screen shot first.”  “How do we do that?” she asked and in a moment we had a photo of the screen so we could remember what it was like when we started.

She looked at the number for the temperature and began selecting the seven ten bars she needs.

Next she finds the number of units she needs.
Counting by tens gets her to seventy and I say, “We call seven tens ‘seventy’.”  She chuckles as she notes that the wooden numbers are in order and easy to find.
Noticing that there are three units, she finds the wooden tile and places it over the 0.  “There are three units, not zero units.”  Notice that the color green stands for units and the color blue stands for tens in the Montessori decimal place value system.
Something interesting happens as we work through the activity–the temperatures changes!  “Now it’s 75! It’s getting higher!” she calls out.  Real time information helps her notice how the concept of warmer translates into numbers.
With a quick slide we find out what it’s like where we are, Hungtingtown, MD, giving her the opportunity to build another number and to experience symbolically how a colder temperature is expressed in numbers.
To add to the meaning of these learning experiences the girl is recording her work in a hand-made booklet.  She sounds out the word Tuesday then looks back at a previous entry for the spelling of d-a-y, noting a pattern in the days of the week.  She writes the numeral and degree sign, colors blue for the fair sky, and writes an F for the location Florida.
By turning the page we can see that she recorded the information discovered at Yahoo! Weather! for the conditions in Huntingtown that morning.
What a great tool for research, physical representation of mathematical concepts, and literacy!  Where would you like to go with this idea?

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