EYFS / KS1 Geography: Go Jetters - Environment, weather and climate

This collection of Funky Facts from Go Jetters focuses on aspects of the environment, weather and climate.

Climate is the long-term pattern of weather of a region, averaged out over a given period, whereas weather is what we experience daily.

Weather can change from hour to hour and these Funky Facts help explain different phenomena, such as hail and hurricanes, and how they can affect us.

We also find out how wind helps create gyres, large systems of swirling ocean currents where plastic trash gathers, washed into oceans from rivers; and we learn how the power of the natural world can be used for good, such as how wind can be used to harness clean, renewable energy.

Hurricanes
Hailstorms
Wind Power
Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Teacher Notes

Before Watching

  • Find out what pupils already know and think about environmental issues. Even very young pupils are likely to have heard about pollution, deforestation and the climate crisis and be worried about this. Finding out what children already know and think can help identify misconceptions and provide a space for pupils to discuss issues and air concerns. Develop an atmosphere of concern, hope and empowerment for young children so that they realise that as far as environmental issues are concerned, there are many positive actions that can be taken.
  • Talk with pupils about weather, climate and environmental issues regularly using appropriate vocabulary, storybooks, and data to develop core knowledge. This will help pupils feel more confident, knowledgeable and able to contribute to discussions about worrying issues such as the climate crisis and plastic pollution.

After Watching

  • Investigate the wind. Make simple wind streamers or kites and fly them outside. Use compasses to talk about the direction that the wind is coming from. Use or make simple weathervanes and rain gauges.
  • Keep an ongoing weather diary (or at least do this for a week) using pictures and symbols. Use a weather station and related equipment such as a thermometer, weathervane, anemometer and rain gauge to record data every day outside in the school grounds. You can find out more from the Met Office.
  • Record the daily weather on a map or chart each morning in class.
  • Create a play corner in class and provide a map of the UK and weather symbols, where pupils can practise being a weather presenter. Pupils could video each other presenting a weather forecast.
  • Create a glossary of weather words with pictures.
  • Discuss with pupils why daily temperatures in different parts of the UK might be very different.
  • Investigate hot and cold places in the world and talk about how their climate differs from ours. Compare daily weather temperatures.
  • Take photographs of different weather phenomena seen in your school grounds, such as rain, sleet, snow and sunshine and add to a digital map with a date.
  • Ask pupils to match clothes and equipment to different types of weather. Ask pupils to talk about how weather affects what you might want to do.
  • Discuss what happens when some people get too much rain and others not enough. Ask a local farmer to come and talk to the pupils about how the weather is important for growing crops.
  • Investigate the sunniest or windiest spot in your school grounds. If you could site a wind turbine in your school grounds where might you put it and why? Who might not like it? For example, discuss whether, and how, wildlife might be affected.
  • Have a trip to look at local wind turbines if you have them.
  • Discuss how plastic waste gets into rivers and oceans. Investigate what happens to waste that can’t be recycled and invite in someone from the local council to talk about what refuse workers do and how waste is taken to landfill.
  • Discuss how plastic waste in school can be minimised to reduce waste and brainstorm ideas to put into action.

Master Skills

  • Naming, describing and comparing people and places (people, landmarks and features).
  • Locating landmarks and features using paper or digital maps; globes and atlases.
  • Drawing comparisons and similarities between places.
  • First-hand experience and fieldwork.
  • Critical and creative thinking.

Thinking Questions

  • How does plastic waste get into the oceans?
  • How can we keep ourselves safe in … a hailstorm, a thunderstorm etc.
  • What can we do to better look after our local and global environment?

Supported Learning and SEN

  • Children could work in pairs or mixed ability groupings so that they benefit from peer support.
  • Using photographs and artefacts to sort and talk about ideas can help some pupils express their thoughts more easily.
  • Use vocabulary cards to match to what can be seen and support language development.
  • Pupils’ ideas might be recorded using audio or video media as well as through writing.

Extend This Project

  • Investigate LESS CO2 Schools and find out how to reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Make links with a school in another part of the UK or overseas and share weather diaries.
  • Apply for a MetMark, an award from The Royal Meteorological Society and Met Office that recognises excellence in weather teaching.

Curriculum Notes

These short film clips contribute to the current national curriculum requirements in KS1 geography in England; the Foundation Stage World Around Us in Northern Ireland; the Foundation Phase Knowledge and Understanding of the World in Wales, and at Social Studies 1st level in Scotland.

The clips are especially pertinent to the Areas of Learning and subject requirements of geography but also provide opportunities to develop English and mathematics knowledge and skills in meaningful contexts across all UK curricula.