The objective of this activity is for children to learn about a snowy location by keeping a journal about winter weather conditions. If you live in a snowy area, the location could be your own place. Or, you could have the students choose from a list of other places known for their winter weather conditions. For my home state, Mount Washington comes to mind as a place that experiences some extreme winter weather. The Farmers’ Almanac has a list of the worst winter weather cities. Students could also choose one of these locations (or another wintery region) as a place to compare the snow conditions of their own backyard. Weather Underground is also a good source of weather-related information.
For each location that is being observed, students should keep a daily snow journal that records:
- Location (can include elevation and latitude)
- General weather conditions (sunny, cloudy, etc.)
- Barometric Pressure
- Amount of snowfall
- Amount of snowpack
After recording the data in their journal on a daily basis for a set amount of time (a week or two, although more is better), have students examine their results. They could make graphs for temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, and snowfall. Use the following discussion questions to gain a better understanding of what factors affect snowfall:
- How do temperature, humidity, and pressure affect snowfall? What patterns were observed for your location(s)?
- Examine the general weather conditions (cloudy, sunny, etc.) and compare this to the amount of snowfall each day. What is the relationship between the general weather conditions and the snowfall?
- How do latitude and elevation affect snowfall?
- If you tracked your own place against another location, how did the amount of snowfall for each location compare? What factors influenced similarities and differences?