Introduction to Kindergarten Physical Science Microclimates

-Next Generation Science Standard* K-PS3-1,2

In order to cover one of the Next Generation Science Standards* about energy and sunlight, we did this Kindergarten Physical Science Microclimates study.  A microclimate is a small area where the temperature is different from it’s surroundings.  We live near the ocean, so in the spring, the temperature is very different from inland temperatures.  That is what gave me the idea to explore differences in temperature more in depth with Jack.

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Materials List for Kindergarten Physical Science Microclimates

Microclimate Study lesson plan
-large sticks
-large towel or sheet

Step 1: Download the Microclimate Study lesson plan, decide the locations you will study and fill in the data table

We ordered a liquid in glass thermometer and I wanted to teach Jack what it was and how to use it.  You can find a full lesson plan, worksheets, and assessment for this project at our Teachers Pay Teachers Store.

Here is a sample worksheet page from our full lesson:

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Step 2: Record the temperatures of the three locations

The first thing we tested was the temperature in the pots in our garden.  It is hard to tell from this picture, but it was in the mid-90’s.



Then we went down to the beach and stuck the thermometer in the sand in a couple of different spots.  It was significantly chillier here and even more so when we dug down into the sand.

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Finally, we put the thermometer on the grass next to the sidewalk around the corner.  It was less than our garden but warmer than the beach sand.


Step 3: Use the sticks and the towel or sheet to design a way to change the microclimate of a small area

We came up with a way to alter the microclimate of an area.  Our backyard is very sunny and hot so we wanted to build something that could protect us from the sun.

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We used sticks and a beach towel to build a fort.

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We had to try a few different designs before we got it to stand up.

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Our design was a little cramped, but it worked to keep the sun off of us!

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But, we wondered…What would happen if it rained and we only used a towel to protect us?

Step 4: Answer the questions on the Microclimate Study lesson plan data table and assessment

Here is a sample assessment page from our full lesson:

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NGSS Lead States. 2013. Next Generation Science Standards: For States, By States. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

*”Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) is a registered trademark of Achieve. Neither Achieve nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards were involved in the production of this product, and do not endorse it.”