“A rainy day is as beautiful as a sunny one. Both exist, each in its own way”.
THE ELEMENTS OF CLIMATE
How can we doubt the importance of the weather forecast that tells us what the weather is going to be like? Radio, television and mobile phones are constantly giving us news. Atmospheric events influence the conditions of our lives and affect our moods and activities. While grey skies and rain bore us, the sun makes us happy. Children have a wealth of experience and knowledge that they have accumulated through contact with their environment, the information they hear, the transmission of beliefs and family practices. Stimulating their curiosity about natural phenomena encourages them to ask questions and seek answers by deepening their knowledge of the different elements of the climate around them. Meteors (air, rain, seasons, wind, sun, moon) are present in stories (tales, fables, legends), and often they are personified, as for example Jean Gel for the ice element.
Sayings and proverbs, the fruit of the observations of the ancients, are very popular and have been passed on by word of mouth. They continue to be said even today, even if their original meaning is not always understood.
Ancient people predicted time based on stargazing. Thanks to the movement of the sun, stars and planets, the ancient Egyptians could predict the seasons and the floods of the Nile, so essential to the survival of their people.
The history of meteorology dates back to ancient Greece: Aristotle is considered the father of meteorology. For him, meteorological phenomena are elements over which we do not have absolute control. In 350 B.C., he wrote the book Meteorology, in which he describes quite precisely what we know today : the water cycle, emphasising that the planet is divided into five climatic zones: the torrid region around the equator, two cold zones at the poles and two temperate zones.
It’s essential that children hear stories about the different states of the weather, the stars, the seasons, as they stimulate their curiosity and, thanks to their knowledge, allay their fears (fear of thunder, fear of the wind, fear of lightning).
At a time where the scientific instruments used to predict the weather did not exist yet, farmers only had their observations to try to predict the best possible times for crops. They translated these observations into the form of sayings which, together with legends and tales, constitute a treasure chest of popular traditions.
Some of these sayings have a universal character, such as “After the rain, good weather” or “He who sows the wind reaps the storm”.
Others have to do with animals: “It rains, it’s wet, it’s a frog festival”, “When it’s sunny for Candlemas, the bear gathers wood for forty days”, the wind: “Little rain blows the wind”, “Pale sunrise or red sunset: a sign of the wind” or calendar holidays: “Christmas on the balcony, Easter on the firebrands”.
Tales, like some fables, warn us about the consequences of winter, wind, rain, climate change… for example: in The Cicada and the Ant and The Ant and the Snow, we see that we must protect ourselves from the cold and, as the ant did, think about survival strategies before winter comes.
In the fable The North Wind and the Sun: which one is stronger? Nature needs both to preserve life on our planet.
The tale The Autumn Fairy explains how autumn is an important season that deserves to be loved. In the fairy tale The Donkey Skin, she asks the king, her father, for three dresses, one in the colour of weather, the second in the colour of the moon and the last in the colour of the sun.
- Increase the desire for individual creative activity.
- Relate the facts presented in the stories to historical/scientific facts.
- To increase knowledge of local, regional, national and European culture.
- To stimulate children’s curiosity about natural phenomena.
- Interconnect textual elements with topographical aspects, as well as with the fauna or flora of the region.
CLIMATE-RELATED ACTIVITIES IN THE CLASSROOM
- Develop a classroom calendar where each student notes the weather each day (pictures with sun, rain, clouds).
- Measure the temperature and take daily readings.
- Create posters for the different seasons of the year.
- Sow seeds in the school garden and note developments according to the seasons.
- Experiment in class with the importance of sunlight on the plants (put a seed in a container with soil in a dark place without light). Put the same seed in a container with soil near a window).
- Make the solar system out of different materials.
- Visit greenhouses with plants.
-See a meteorological centre.
- Experiment with the different states of water (ice, water vapour).
- Encourage children to respect the environment.
-Find sayings and proverbs about the local weather.
-Spot the birds that herald the arrival of a season. The cuckoo starts to sing at the end of March, beginning of April, the nightingale sings at night from mid-April onwards; crane flights are a sign of the arrival of spring or autumn winter.
-Observe our gestures: we hold out our hand to see if it is raining; we wet our finger and lift it up, to feel where the wind is coming from