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!
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
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
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!
A barometer that is falling indicates that a low pressure system is moving in, and you can expect poorer weather. How bad that weather becomes is the result of how great the difference is between the high pressure and low pressure system.
experiments with water - if I go to the pond and throw in a rock it makes a ripple... if I go to my bathtub and throw
in a rock it makes a splash... but drops of water in the bathtub make a ripple... why?
Wind direction is measured with a wind vane. One end of the vane has a small, heavy object, and the other end has a flat object with a large area. The wind pushes the flat object more than the small, heavy objects, so the vane swings around to be parallel to the wind.
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
recall last week's experiment and student questions
Notes: This experiment did not work for us, most likely because I used carbonated coconut water instead of "clear soda or seltzer water." I also
found the experiment protocol to be unclear as to whether the carbonated water and the water in the bowl are allowed to combine.
Do you lower
the cup in but keep it above the water's surface and not let them touch? Or do you pour the carbonated water in?
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
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
recall last week's experiment (warm water holds less CO2, so a warming ocean would become less effective as a carbon sink)
explain that the absorption of CO2 also changes the pH and creates a more acidic ocean, which damages coral reefs
explain that coral reefs are a useful hurricane barrier
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
It seems to really help them to learn about these concepts in terms of understanding the instrument that measures them. Future posts:
Wind Speed: How and Why
weather instrument: anemometer
Humidity: How and Why
weather instrument: hygrometer
Rainfall: How and Why
weather instrument: rain gauge
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