The Curriculum of the Steiner School - Class 8

Notes and Lesson Plans

updated August 11, 2023

Recorded here is my own personal collection of articles, resources, favorite links, teaching ideas, and lesson plans. It encompasses many years, from the very beginning of my experience studying and learning about Waldorf to the present time. People from all around the world visit my site and recommend it to others. Welcome!

This site records my journey. I hope my honesty is encouraging and helps break down some barriers that may prevent people from trying Waldorf methods. Because this is an ongoing site documenting my curriculum planning and ideas, some materials are more Waldorf-y than others. Please feel free to take what you like and leave the rest.

This page has helpful links and LOADS of free resources to help you plan your eighth grade year. Enjoy!

Mission Statement - Consulting Services - Lending Library

for Class 8


I have never taught weather before! This year, the 2022-2023 school year, will be my first time. Why?

First, it has just never seemed to fit very well in a crowded 8th grade school year. So I am going to do what I did several years ago with Ecology... make it our Science Club topic. Science Club meets weekly and it seems like doing Weather over the course of time will actually work out very well. That will allow us to study different things we observe from month to month.

Second, the reason why Waldorf saves Meteorology for grade 8 is because children have had enough Physics to understand what is really going on with the weather (thermodynamics, hydrodynamics, aerodynamics). They are meant to be able to decode all of the terminology in a weather forecast. I find that intimidating! I think it is wonderful, but it seems hard to handle.

In the U.S. we do typically do weather at an earlier age (elementary school) and skim over quite a bit of the science behind it. We look at types of clouds, the water cycle, and some weather phenomena like hurricanes and tornadoes. But as far as understanding NWS and NOAA documents, no. Being clear on the relationship between barometric pressure and temperature, and how cold and warm fronts collide in relationship to topographic maps, no. And by teaching it early on when children can't possibly understand those things, we neatly avoid having to present the content correctly (and grapple with it ourselves) when they are old enough.

    Mesoscale Precipitation Discussion 0470
    NWS Weather Prediction Center College Park MD
    1120 AM EDT Sat Jul 09 2022

    Areas affected...Southeast VA

    Concerning...Heavy rainfall...Flash flooding possible

    Valid 091519Z - 091919Z

    Summary...Heavy rainfall through this afternoon may produce 1-2"/hr rates and lead to localized flash flooding, particularly for urban and other sensitive locations.

    Discussion...Convection this morning continues to blossom around a weak surface low analyzed near/east of Richmond and along a quasi stationary boundary draped across the area. This activity is working on favorable low level convergence in the highly anomalous precipitable water axis. The most recent blended TPW product shows values exceeding 2.25", which is near 2.5 standard deviations above the climatological normal. The latest SPC mesoanalysis shows a bubble of untapped SBCAPE approaching 1500-2000 J/kg.

    The 12Z hi-res guidance indicates that ongoing convection south and east of Richmond is likely to grow upscale and move into the favorable instability into the afternoon while outflows from ongoing convection to the north should lay up in the outlook area as well. This increased low level convergence may allow for multiple cell mergers and boundary interactions. The environment (high PWs, available instability) suggests potential for intense hourly totals up to 2" at times with isolated near 3" totals through the afternoon possible. This may fall over the more sensitive urban and other low-lying locations resulting in flash flooding.

I am here to confront my own ignorance!

I will post my notes here as we go along.

Pinterest - Renee Schwartz
My curated collection of visuals! Browse sample main lesson book pages, watercolor paintings, chalkboard drawings, etc. for Weather.

FREE eBooks at the Online Waldorf Library
Excellent resource! Published Waldorf curriculum books provided here in PDF format for you to download, keep, and read... for free!

Sample Lessons and Free Curriculum

Other Helpful Links

Books I Am Using

The First Book of Weather

by Rose Wyler

Eric Sloane's Weather Book

by Eric Sloane

Look at the Sky and Tell the Weather

by Eric Sloane

Other Notes & Miscellaneous Ideas

Wed Sep 14

  • review the water cycle with the Water Cycle Mat by Waseca Biomes
  • discuss student prior knowledge and questions about acid rain

  • explain pH scale and practice using litmus paper on acidic foods

    a good example of an acid is battery acid (about 1); a good example of an alkali is lye (about 14)

  • EXPERIMENT: Miracle Berry and the Science of Taste (PDF)
  • Notes: When we talked about student prior knowledge about acid rain, one child offered that it rains acid rain on Venus. Another child offered that it rains diamonds on Jupiter. They ended up having a lot of questions about the weather on other planets and asked that we learn about that next. The photos from Science Club this week are here.

Wed Sep 21

Wed Sep 28

  • recall the Carbon Cycle, explain the difference between a carbon source and a carbon sink, add "ocean" to the list of major carbon sinks
  • recall last week's experiment (what temperature water absorbs more CO2?)
  • recall the pH scale, explain the chemical formula for Alka-Seltzer

    Alka-Seltzer is a combination of aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid, C9H8O4), sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3), and citric acid (C6H8O7), designed to treat pain and simultaneously neutralize excess stomach acid (the "Alka" being derived from the word "alkali").

  • observe an Alka-Seltzer tablet when it is placed in water, explain that the bubbles formed are CO2

    The pain reliever used is aspirin and the antacid used is baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate. The tablets also include other ingredients, such as citric acid (a weak acid that adds flavor -- as well as provides important hydrogen ions, which will come into play as you shall soon see).

    As the tablets dissolve, the sodium bicarbonate splits apart to form sodium and bicarbonate ions. The bicarbonate ions react with hydrogen ions from the citric acid to form carbon dioxide gas (and water). This is how the bubbles are made.

  • explain the difference between an independent variable and a dependent variable
  • EXPERIMENT: Lab Design and Conducting the Investigation portions of "It's a Gassy World! Exploring the relationship between CO2, rising ocean temperature and climate change" from Towson University Center for STEM Excellence (print p.39)

    there's nice teacher background information in this packet (pages 7-9)

  • Notes: This experiment worked much better than last week's and I highly recommend it. Because the students have to design the lab protocol themselves, be aware that that whole process will take much longer than you expect. You also may have students who come up with a design that you don't have the supplies for, or is not feasible, and they will be disappointed that you didn't really mean it and are actually steering them in a specific direction. I have conflicted feelings about this. If I say they get to design the experiment, I shouldn't limit them to what the Towson packet recommends as the "best" protocol. Yet there is value in having them think through what the steps in an experiment should be.

Wed Oct 5

Wed Oct 12

    special guest Dr. Scott Hamilton-Brehm
    the role of microbes in carbon sequestration

Wed Oct 19

  • retry the experiment from the week of Oct 5 using silicone stoppers to plug the top of our flasks and hold the thermometers (in addition to the Plastilina)

  • add the Carbon Cycle to science club notebooks using the blackline master and three part cards from Introduction to the Biomes with Curriculum - Elementary by Waseca Biomes
  • recall that our special guest from today, Derek Ervin from Glacier's End, mentioned nitrogen-fixing legumes as being important for soil health; do the Nitrogen Cycle lesson Montessori-style using our Backyard Biome tapestry along with four boxes of sewn felt pieces
  • check on results of experiment (which failed again) and brainstorm why it did not work

Temperature: How and Why blog post
weather instrument: thermometer

    Oct 26, Nov 2, Nov 9

    Exploring Heat in Solids, Liquids, and Gases 1
    Exploring Heat in Solids, Liquids, and Gases 2

    another experiment option could be Create a Thermometer

Air Pressure: How and Why blog post
weather instrument: barometer

Wind Direction: How and Why blog post
weather instrument: windvane

Wind Speed: How and Why blog post
weather instrument: anemometer

Humidity: How and Why blog post
weather instrument: hygrometer
weather instrument: weather stick

Rainfall: How and Why blog post
weather instrument: rain gauge

    Apr 5, Apr 12

It seems to really help them to learn about these concepts to think first in terms of understanding the instrument that measures them.

ideas of weather activities for the future:

chapter 4, "Weather on Parade," and chapter 5, "Forecasters at Work," from Rose Wyler's book

Cloud Classification
National Weather Service

The Height of Clouds (polar, temperate, and tropical regions)
National Weather Service

Types of Clouds Worksheet (PDF)

Isobar Worksheet with Answer Key (PDF)

Reading Weather Maps (PDF)

How to Read a Weather Map

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