With the temperatures plummeting across the nation, including even where I live in South Florida, it has been a hot topic in schools and a great teachable moment. Teaching children about temperatures incorporates both math and science skills. Younger children may learn about temperature in general terms including hot, cold, and warm, where with older children they could learn freezing and boiling points as well as converting between Fahrenheit and Celsius.
Temperature at Home
An easy way to incorporate discussions of temperature at home would be to have a home thermometer in an easy to read location like outside a kitchen window or patio door. You can have your child learn to read the thermometer in both measurements and determine how the weather or weather patterns have an effect on the temperature. Weather Wiz Kids is a great online resource specifically for children to learn about weather and temperature. You can then track your results as a family and follow the weather and temperature trends throughout the year.
Measurement Scales for Temperature
Older children may be more curious about why there are two different measurement scales for temperature and you can direct them to the page on temperature conversions on the website, Math is Fun. Very simply, it is that Fahrenheit is the measurement used in the United States and Celsius is based on the metric system and used in most other countries. However, many industries in the United States are moving to use Celsius as the metric system is the universal standard. For instance, many hospitals now measure patient temperature in Celsius using electronic technology. To convert from Celsius to Fahrenheit you multiply by 9, divide by 5, and add 32. To convert from Fahrenheit to Celsius you subtract 32, multiply by 5 and then divide by 9. If they can learn one way, then it is just the opposite to go back. There are also online convertor calculators like this one that even has examples of what items are usually measured at that temperature.
How do you incorporate learning about temperature at home?