Tuesday, 18 February 2014
The weather is a popular topic in primary schools, providing many opportunity for teaching maths - particularly in rounding, ordering and  comparing numbers, finding averages, and using data handling. It is obviously a topic that will link well to the recent flooding in the UK.

I looked at the Met Office climate averages and was surprised that February has the second lowest average rainfall over this period, with only July drier. This weather table is a great resource for a context to teach decimals (using tenths). Here are a few problems for your class to explore.

I have taken a look at February.

#### February is a really wet month. True or False?

Ask the class to:

Order the months starting with the month with the most rainy days.
Round each number of rainy days to the nearest whole day.
Draw a bar graph, using the rounded results to show the number of rainy days each month.

#### February has an average amount of rainfall for the year. True or False?

Ask the class to:

Order the rainfall starting with the month with the greatest amount on rainfall.
Round each monthly amount of rain to the nearest whole mm.
Calculate the mean, mode and median for the amount of rainfall. Which is the average month?
Draw a bar graph, using the rounded results to show the rainfall each month.

#### February has hardly any sunshine. True or False?

Ask the class to:

Order the hours of sunshine starting with the month with the fewest hours of sunshine
Round each monthly amount of sunshine to the nearest whole hour and to the nearest 10 hours.
Make generalisations from the raw data, and both sets of rounded data. Ask them to compare the results and say how they are the same or different – which set of date is most useful?
Draw a bar graph, using the rounded results to show the sunshine hours each month.

Look at the tenths figures and explain that 65.4 hours of sunshine in February is actually 65 and 4/10 of an hour. Ask them to calculate each monthly sunshine in hours and minutes rather than decimals.  February has 65 hours and 24 minutes of average sunshine.

Use information from each activity to produce a display answering the problems. Each of the graphs can be displayed with three interesting facts about each graph presented as speech bubbles.

Further questions will arise from comparing the data:

Does the sunniest month have the least amount of rain in mm ?
Does the wettest month (greatest amount of rain in mm) also have the most number of rainy days?
Does the month with the fewest number of rainy days also have the most hours of sunshine?

Here’s hoping for a dry February half-term – have fun!

You might like to take a look at these other articles that are related to the month of February.
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