Southwest Guilford Elementary students learn about the water cycle

Piedmont Triad News

HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — Fifth graders at Southwest Guilford Elementary School in High Point got their weather lesson “in the bag,” literally.

Jessica Todd’s fifth graders are studying all things weather, a topic that can be difficult for some of her students.

“Fifth grade, they have to understand all the parts, the fronts, the instruments and how to read them,” Todd said.

So the fifth graders are partnering with their STEM teacher, Matthew McDonough, to get a better understanding of how the weather works.

McDonough is leading the group, building what he calls a weather tank.

The weather tank allows the students to see the water cycle in action.

The group places trays inside of a plastic tub. Then the tub is wrapped inside of a bag. Ice cubes are then placed on top of the bag. In the next step, students wait for the magic to happen.

Gradually, the fifth graders will be able to observe the main steps of the water cycle, evaporation, condensation, precipitation, and collection.

STEM educator Matthew McDonough believes the experiment brings meaning to the terms they have been learning.

“Having the kids see it and make observations and pull that terminology from the classroom and into the experiment,” McDonough said.

And if the experiment doesn’t go according to plan, that’s OK because you learn from your mistakes.

“Sometimes I like to see them mess up,” said McDonough. “I then ask, ‘What can you do to make it work the next time?'”

Today’s STEM lesson is about weather, but Todd said any STEM lesson can give a child a chance to succeed.

“I know that kids who typically struggle in reading or math really do find success in technology or science. They get so excited and feel a sense of accomplishment,” Todd said.

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