In Vermont, we have the dubious distinction of being a very beautiful, yet very chilly, state. It’s lovely. Unless you come from semi-tropical climes and don’t really like the clothes that will keep you warm enough to exist.
We thought now, in the depths of winter, that it would be good for our students to actually SEE how cold it is.
We’ve been having them use the Weather Channel app on their iPads to record on our classroom calendar how cold it is on the thermometer and how cold it feels, because these two numbers can be very different. Yesterday, for example, when I took my dog Zippy for a walk, the temperature was 0, but the windchill brought the “feels like” temperature down to -13.
We have talked in our class, as much as we possibly can, about frostbite. How do you explain such a thing to people who are experiencing their first snow??? But we have looked at charts that show how long exposed skin can be outside before damage. We have learned how to use the app. And we have visited our school’s clothing closet to make sure that everybody has gloves and hats and scarves and coats and boots.
In PE, if it’s not inhumanely frigid, students are going outside. Last week I found one of my students walking in the hallway. I asked what class he had. He said, “PE, but we play outside.” They are learning how to cross-country ski. How cool is that? I never had that program in Kansas when I was in high school.
But our kids seem to think that if they don’t want to go, it’s optional. And it’s not. The administration has become pretty Draconian for students who think class is optional. You skip, you stay after school. It’s that simple.
But my student was not dressed for the occasion. The clothes closet is an invaluable asset, especially when it’s well stocked. The National Honor Society here does a coat drive. But sometimes things get pretty well depleted. And sometimes, there just are no boots your size.
We were able to find a good coat, some gloves and a hat so he could participate. We let him know it was important. And he went.
Good deed done.
But we wanted to translate all this looking up and tracking data into a usable skill.
So Partner Teacher Suzy taught us how to use the Numbers app.
I’m not great at spreadsheets. But this was awesome! The example one is up above. We’ll be continuing this through February. And that’s not only so we practice saying “February,” but also so we can see whether there is a general upward trend in temperatures.
And to bring awareness to windchill…
The next few days are supposed to be bringing in some pretty dangerous winds.
And our students just might be prepared.