Thinking Thursday: Whatever the Weather

“Whatever the Weather” is an excerpt from Math Journal Task Cards Mega-Bundle: 312 Ways To Play with Math, available as a digital printable activity guide at my bookstore. Read more about my playful math books here.

Do you want your children to develop the ability to reason creatively and figure out things on their own?

Help kids practice slowing down and taking the time to fully comprehend a math topic or problem-solving situation with these classic tools of learning: See. Wonder. Create.

See: Look carefully at the details of the numbers, shapes, or patterns you see. What are their attributes? How do they relate to each other? Also notice the details of your own mathematical thinking. How do you respond to a tough problem? Which responses are most helpful? Where did you get confused, or what makes you feel discouraged?

Wonder: Ask the journalist’s questions: who, what, where, when, why, and how? Who might need to know about this topic? Where might we see it in the real world? When would things happen this way? What other way might they happen? Why? What if we changed the situation? How might we change it? What would happen then? How might we figure it out?

Create: Create a description, summary, or explanation of what you learned. Make your own related math puzzle, problem, art, poetry, story, game, etc. Or create something totally unrelated, whatever idea may have sparked in your mind.

Math journaling may seem to focus on this third tool, creation. But even with artistic design prompts, we need the first two tools because they lay a solid groundwork to support the child’s imagination.

How To Use a Measurement & Data Prompt

Measurement is our way of connecting numbers to the things we find in the world, in daily life. Those numbers become data that students can examine, compare, and reason about.

Some measurements are clear and easy to determine, such as the length of a stick or the weight of a bunch of bananas. But other measurements are fuzzy and open to debate. For example, how can anyone measure the value of an idea or the intelligence of a puppy?

My Measurement & Data prompts give students a chance to collect and examine a variety of measurements and to practice different ways of representing data with charts or graphs.

Older students may want to examine how data shape the way people understand their society. Two websites to explore: and

Journaling Prompt #191
Whatever the Weather

Find a source of weather data for your area that includes both current and historical measurements. Write a list of things you notice about the numbers that you find.

    Make a chart or graph to visualize your data. Remember to label your chart or graph, so people can tell exactly what you measured.

      Older students: Try several different styles of graph. Which one do you like best for this type of information?

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