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Exploring Weather Through Art: Lesson Modifications for Teaching Weather to Children with Mental Retardation

written by: jenniferterry • edited by: Sarah Malburg • updated: 9/11/2012

Teaching weather to children with learning deficiencies can be a wonderful experience for the students and teacher. In this lesson on weather, lesson modifications to teach weather events to children with mental retardation using books, discussion, and a weather dial art project is performance-based.

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    A Lesson in Teaching Weather

    Title: Exploring weather through art.

    Lesson Objective: Learn about weather through the construction of a laminated weather chart. Children will use this chart each day they log in their weather journals and they may use it with their "Rain Walk" lesson.

    Supplies: You will need the following supplies for each child:

    1/2 poster board

    crayons, markers and or pencils



    cardboard pointer

    brass fastener

    You will also need one copy of the books, "It's Going to Rain" by Ada Litchfield, " "Feel the Wind" by Arthur Dorros, "Sunshine Makes the Seasons by Franklyn M. Branley, "Snow is falling" by Franklyn M. Branley

    Instructions: Make this a fun project about the weather. On day one, have the children draw a circle, adapt the work for each child's need. Some may need a thick template to help draw the circle and children who are interested in tools may find using a compass to draw the circle intriguing. Others may choose to freehand and that is fine too! The emphasis of any art project should be on individual activity with the least intervention possible even if "perfection" is not reached, nor should it be the objective in this lesson.

    As they work, talk to the children about shapes and cutting. Have the child cut their circle out. Talk about dividing the circle and demonstrate how to mark the circle in half and then in quarters. An appropriate modification for some children would be to mark the edges of the circle with dots. The child can then connect the marks which would effectively divide the circle into our parts.

    Have the children cut out a pre-drawn arrow or if the child likes rulers or numbers, have them use the ruler to draw the arrow and then cut it out. They can cut this from construction paper or from white paper or board and color it themselves.

    On day two read one of your weather books and have the children discuss their experiences with this type of weather. If you have a child who uses alternate communications, please have their symbols, device or other communicators prepared ahead of time. You should receive a response from each child in your room. Have the children use pencils, crayons markers or stickers to decorate one-fourth of their dial in corresponding weather art.

    Repeat this for each of the four weather events you will discuss, use one book each day. Choose the weather event that corresponds with the weather outside as much as possible.

    Closure: When all four sections of the dial is completed ask a parent volunteer to laminate the dials. Then punch a hole in the center. Use the brass fastener to secure the pointer to the center of the dial.