Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Understanding Negative Temperatures

It is a very cold day here in Maine. It's not the coldest that I've experienced in Maine, but it's still not a pleasant day outside. When I let my dogs out at 5am it was -9F and when I took my daughters to school it was -1F. It was on the way to school that I my five-year-old asked, "what's negative mean?" I did my best to explain it while driving, but I'm not sure I explained it well. We'll revisit that topic at dinner tonight. 

I turned to YouTube for help in my quest to develop a better explanation of negative temperatures to my daughters. I found two videos good explanations that were helpful and whose visuals I'll probably use when I try to explain it negative temperatures to my daughters.

If you find yourself also trying to explain negative temperatures to kids, take a look at the following videos. 

Negative Numbers: An Overview is an animated video from GCF Learn Free. The video explains negative numbers in the context of temperature and in the context of money (debt). One thing for American audiences to note is that the temperatures used in the examples are expressed in Celsius. 

Understanding Positive and Negative Numbers With Temperatures is a LearnZillion video lesson for kids. This video covers the concept of negative and positive numbers in the context of temperatures on both the Celsius and Fahrenheit scales. It also explains how to write negative temperatures.

Both of these videos are just the right length and format to work well as self-paced lessons created and distributed in platforms like EDpuzzle. Here's a tutorial on how to use videos like those above in EDpuzzle.

More tools and ideas for teaching with existing videos are included in my ebook, 50 Tech Tuesday Tips