Third Graders Design Climate Friendly Homes

Is your house built to withstand water, drought, harsh sun, and wind? Third-grade students could probably tell you! As they wrapped up their unit on weather, they tackled the difference between weather and climate, enjoyed a visit from a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) meteorologist, and engaged in an engineering assignment to build climate-specific homes.

“Students studied various climates worldwide and the differences and similarities between the climates. For example, in tropical, arctic, or desert climates, the wind is a factor in all three. There are tropical storms, sand storms, and not much landscape in the arctic to block wind,” said Lower School Science Teacher Laura Pupillo.

In addition to their climate study, third-grade students enjoyed a virtual visit with a meteorologist from NOAA who talked about different climates and how the atmosphere affects weather patterns in various ways all over the world, and how to prepare for severe weather conditions.

Also, students studied the types of houses currently built in those areas and how those designs have changed and improved over time. Then, student groups chose the climate in which to engineer their new climate-safe home.

Throughout the process, students had to test their designs against a wind machine, water, and weight (snow in the arctic can be heavy!). They performed many iterations and tested at the different wind-water-weight stations to tweak their roof pitch design, materials, durability, waterproof ability, and more. Students explained what materials they chose and why before rotating a final time through the testing stations when it was time to present their final designs.

The students were pleasantly surprised with how well their designs withstood the elements, and if their designs didn’t hold up, they knew exactly what to fix to make them work.

Students also had the opportunity to be student meteorologists where they worked as a team to make weather forecast videos for all Lower School students. Check them out here and here.

Great work, young climate scientists! We look forward to your contributions to future weather predictions and environmental design!