Introduction to Inquiry Kindergarten Animal Unit Grade 1 Water Pollution Unit Grade 2 Weather Unit

Weather Inquiry Unit – Grade 2

Grade 2 Weather Unit

I have taught second grade standards for several years now, and I’ve done it before where they just learn about each type of severe weather, and then they tell me safety precautions. I think if I went and asked some of my previous second graders…do you remember when we talked about this, they’d be like, “No.” But I guarantee through this unit…these kids will remember it, because this was something that really they came up with all by themselves. So that’s something important to keep in mind. What’s the lasting effect going to be from the lessons?” -Second Grade Teacher Philippa Haynes

In the Weather Inquiry Unit, Ms. Haynes combines science, social studies, and English/Language Arts through research into staying safe in severe weather. Each group builds expertise through reading and evaluating multiple resources, then writes and acts out its own video on appropriate safety precautions. Collaboration is at the heart of this unit. Children learn from each other, compromise, and provide constructive criticism to create entertaining and effective culminating projects that synthesize their research.

The unit proceeds as follows:


Phase of Inquiry
Video Clips and Supporting Documents
Before the Unit From the beginning of the year, the students learned strategies to comprehend informational text, including using text features, asking and answering their own questions, and making meaningful responses to new learning. Introduction to Inquiry, Preparation – Ms. Haynes discusses how she prepared the students for inquiry, and Artifacts from lessons earlier in the school year.
  • Students explored a variety of resources on severe weather (e-books, videos on iPads, websites, books, and articles.) They identified weather in a particular region of the US and “wow” facts about each region’s weather.
  • They asked “thick” and “thin” questions about their findings, and then chose a type of severe weather as their focus for the rest of the unit.
Sample Lesson 1: “Find Wow Facts from Multiple Resources
  • In their expert groups, the students explored a variety of resources about their type of weather and chose two that they decided would be most helpful to building their expertise.
  • They spent several days digging into each resource, building their knowledge, and responding with questions and reactions.
Lesson Artifacts: Previous Lessons (Anchor charts and student work from Immerse and Investigate lessons)
  • Students compared and contrasted the information in their two resources, and drew conclusions about safety based on synthesizing their research.
  • They deepened their understanding by investigating cause/effect relationships about their type of weather, and writing to summarize their learning.
Go Public
  • Children planned video scripts to convince others to follow their safety precautions.
  • They studied and evaluated other “how-to” videos to decide on craft techniques for making their videos entertaining as well as informative.
  • They provided each other with constructive criticism before final videotaping and presenting to a fourth grade audience.
  • They participated with the teacher in self-evaluating their work.