Earth & Space Science
Interdependence within the Earth System

Weather can be described in measurable quantities and changes from day to day and with the seasons.

Benchmark: Recording Weather Conditions

Measure, record and describe weather conditions using common tools.

For example: Temperature, precipitation, sunrise/sunset, and wind speed/direction.


Standard in Lay Terms 

MN Standard in Lay Terms

Students will observe that the weather can change daily and that weather patterns change over the seasons.  Weather also has characteristics that can be measured and predicted.

Big Ideas and Essential Understandings 

Big Idea

Weather is a part of everyday life and can affect little things such as your choice of clothes or activities.  Weather can also be severe and affect your life in bigger ways, as seen in the damage done by a hurricane or tornado.  Meteorologists study the components of weather - the conditions of the atmosphere such as temperature, precipitation, wind, and clouds - in an effort to predict the weather and help people be better prepared.

Benchmark Cluster 

MN Standard Benchmarks  Measure, record and describe weather conditions using common tools.  For example: Temperature, precipitation, sunrise/sunset, and wind speed/direction.

The Essentials

Select any of these great weather jokes to share with your students.

Weather 101 (3 min video)

From heat waves and hailstorms to typhoons and tornadoes, our planet's weather can be intense.  Learn what makes nature unleash her fury.


NSES Standards:

NSES Content Standard D Earth and Space Science

Changes in earth and sky

  • Weather changes from day to day and over the seasons.  Weather can be described by measurable quantities, such as temperature, wind direction and speed, and precipitation.  See this source.

AAAS Atlas:

The temperature and amount of rain (or snow) tend to be high, low, or medium in the same months every year. 4B/P1 (ID: SMS-BMK-0139)

Grade range: K - 2

The weather is always changing and can be described by measurable quantities such as temperature, wind direction and speed, and precipitation.  Large masses of air with certain properties move across the surface of the earth.  The movement and interaction of these air masses is used to forecast the weather. 4B/E5 (ID: SMS-BMK-2044)

Some things in nature have a repeating pattern, such as the day-night cycle, the phases of the moon, and seasons. 11C/E4 (ID: SMS-BMK-2449) See this source and this source.

Benchmarks of Science Literacy:

Change is something that happens to many things. 4C/P2. See this source.

Common Core Standards


The K-2 student...learns best by building understanding from their own actions upon objects and by telling stories about what they did and what they found out.

As they impose their ideas on the world, trying things out to see what will happen (poking, pushing, feeling, etc...), children see the results of their actions and thus come to understand how part of their world works.  If these experiences are connected with language experiences (e.g. talking with students as they explore instead of having a summary discussion after an exploration), primary students will learn how to express what they have learned in clear and accurate terms.  See this source.


Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., read a number of books on a single topic to produce a report; record science observations).

Social Studies:

1. US/World History

1. Historical Thinking

1. Historians organize the past into chronological units of time.

Use and create calendars to identify days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries, and seasons; use and create timelines to chronicle personal, school, community, and world events.


Student Misconceptions 
  • Wind speed is related to temperature of air - high speed means cold air and gentle or slow winds are warm.
  • Water only gets evaporated from the ocean or lakes.
  • The H on weather maps stands for hot temperatures whereas L means cold weather.
  • Cold days are caused by the clouds covering the sun.
  • Rain falls out of the sky when the clouds evaporate.
  • Rain comes from holes in clouds (like salt from a salt shaker).
  • Rain comes from clouds melting.
  • Clouds move when we move.  We walk and the clouds move with us.
  • Rain occurs when clouds get scrambled and melt.
  • Rain occurs when clouds are shaken (by the wind).
  • Rain occurs when clouds become too heavy.
  • Lightning never strikes the same place twice.
  • Thunder occurs when two clouds collide.

See this source.


Last March, Mr. Peterson's 2nd grade class began their science lessons outside, in front of the school.  On days one and two, the students used their thermometers to determine the current temperature.  On day three, Mr. Peterson asked them to describe the type of weather for that day as clear, windy, sunny, or calm.   It was a windy day.  He asked them to observe their surroundings and tell why they classified the weather as windy.  Students gave responses such as: "The trees are moving."  "I feel the air blowing across my face."  "Martha's hat just blew across the street."   On day four, Mr. Peterson asked the students to describe the similarities and differences between the wind on days three and four.  One student responded, "The trees are not moving today like they did yesterday."  Mr. Peterson then invited students to ask questions about how weather might affect their needs and wants.  Once back in the classroom, he jotted their questions on the white board and asked "How might we find answers to your questions?"  Occasionally, he asked them to share their knowledge about the weather and how it affects their daily lives.  Their own words guided Mr. Peterson's first few lessons in his unit on weather and how people live.  See this site.


Instructional Notes 

Suggested Labs and Activities

What's the Weather?

In this lesson, students use daily observations, videos, and activities to learn about meteorology and the changing nature of weather.  Students also identify weather events that are commonly reported in the news and discuss how weather affects lives.  They will understand that weather can change daily and that weather patterns change over the seasons.  In addition, they will understand that weather has characteristics that can be measured and predicted.

Reading Weather Instruments

Teach students how to read weather instruments to measure current conditions.  Depending on the instruments that you have available, explain what each instrument measures.

(Optional) If you do not have weather instruments available, you can construct some simple versions with common materials.

Weather Patterns

This lesson is the first in a two-part series on the weather.  The study of the weather in these early years is important because it can help students understand that some events in nature have a repeating pattern.  It also is important for students to study the earth repeatedly because they take years to acquire the knowledge that they need to complete the picture.  The full picture requires the introduction of such concepts as temperature, the water cycle, etc.

Forecasting for Kids

Learn how we rely on weather forecasters to help us plan our days and prepare for life-threatening conditions.  Become your own weather forecaster!

Weather Instruments

Instruments that kids can build are shown.  Worksheets provide practice in reading instruments.

Weather Education

This is an excellent resource site.  Materials range from coloring books, puzzles and games, to lesson plans, brochures, satellite images, and career information for weather related fields, such as meteorology, hydrology and climatology.

Weather links

A resource to help students become familiar with clouds and weather forecasting.

Wild and Wonderful Weather

In this lesson, students learn what clouds are, why rain comes from clouds, and other facts about weather.  Students make cloud bottles and create rain gauges and other weather instruments.  This lesson also includes numerous cross-curricular activities linking weather topics with art, citizenship, mathematics, reading, and writing.

Instructional Resources 

Instructional suggestions/options

5 E model for teaching about weather

(for a complete example click on the link)

Step One: Engagement

The engagement phase of the 5-E model is intended to provide a focus for the lesson and to allow the teacher to probe students' initial conceptions.  This engagement stage can be organized around a biography of a famous community leader, a demonstration, a discussion, or other activity.

Step Two: Exploration

In this step, provide opportunities for students to use the inquiry processes of observing, questioning, and investigating.  The objective is for students to develop basic understandings of the concept introduced during engagement and to develop deep knowledge about materials and ideas related to the concept.

Step Three: Explanation

Here are essential questions to guide your lesson planning. 

  • What kinds of information or findings should learners discuss?
  • How can you help students summarize their findings?
  • How can you guide the students and refrain from telling them what they should have found, even if their understanding is incomplete?
  • What concept "labels" should the children discover?
  • Why is the concept important?

Step Four: Extension

The extension lesson provides opportunities for students to apply labels, definitions, explanations, and skills in new, but similar situations.

Step Five: Evaluation

Some of the tools that assist in this diagnostic process are: rubrics, teacher observations checklists, student interviews, and portfolios.  See this site.

Weather Forecasting Lesson Plans, Activities, and Interactive Resources

New Vocabulary 


Anemometer: a weather instrument that measures the wind speed.  Context: The anemometer rotates at the same speed as the wind.

Barometer: an instrument that measures air pressure.  Context: We knew the weather would be changing because the barometer was changing.

Climate: describes the average weather conditions in a certain place or during a certain season.  Weather may change from day to day, but climate changes only over hundreds or thousands of years.  Context: Dolphins and palm trees can live only in a warm climate, while polar bears and spruce trees need a cold climate.

Clouds: a visible collection of tiny water droplets or, at colder temperatures, ice crystals floating in the air above the surface.  Context: Clouds offer important clues to understanding and forecasting the weather.

Cold front: a boundary between two air masses, one cold and the other warm, moving so that the colder air replaces the warmer air.  Context: I need to get my warm coat out again as there's a cold front coming through.

Meteorologist: a scientist who studies and predicts the weather.  Context: I watch and listen to meteorologist Dave Dahl every night to find out about the weather for tomorrow.

Precipitation: general name for water in any form falling from clouds.  Context: It's a beautiful spring day with no precipitation in sight!

Rain gauge: an instrument used to measure the amount of rain that has fallen.  Context: The rain last night measured 2 inches in our gauge.

Sunrise: the time the sun appears above the horizon.  Context: We got up early so we could watch the sun rise over the lake.

Sunset: the time the sun disappears below the horizon.  Context: Last night we saw a beautiful sunset with colors of reds, orange and purples.

Thunder: the explosive sound of air expanding as it is heated by lightning.  Context: Sometimes the sound of thunder makes me jump!

Weather: describes the condition of the air at a particular time and place.  Context: Thunder, lightning, rainbows, haze and other special events are all part of weather.

Technology Connections 

Weather Videos

Check out these cool weather videos and see some spectacular natural phenomena in action.  Witness huge storms, heavy rain, powerful tornadoes, intense lightning, dust storms, dangerous plane landings, giant hail and other extreme conditions in these amazing weather video clips.

Interactive Weather Maker

What would it be like to be a real weather person - not just someone who reports the weather, but someone who can actually control it? Well here's your chance.

The Weather Game

See how much you know about the weather in this interactive game.

Weather Wiz Kids

A web site especially for kids to allow them to learn more about the fascinating world of weather!

Weather Tracking

Students use the internet to locate weather reports.  They present data collected to the class through a poster presentation.  They read aloud the book Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett and answer questions about the book's weather compared to our weather. 

A wide range of resources to observe, measure, and record changes in weather, the night sky, and seasons.

Promethean Planet/SMARTboard Lessons

Weather Conditions flipchart: An introduction to weather.

K-2 Daily Weather Chart

Chart the weather with Annie and Moby.  This flip chart uses actions to reveal the weather forecast when you click on the weather symbol that describes the daily weather.

Sam the Snowman - Changes in Weather

This flipchart will give your students an idea of what happens to water (and snow) before, during, and after it comes to the earth. Vocabulary: Water Cycle, Precipitation, Evaporation, and Condensation.

Eyes on the Weather flipchart

Matching weather type with pictures, Answering True & False Questions.

Thermometers flipchart

Explore how weather changes temperature.  Discuss tools that can tell temperature.  Practice reading and marking thermometers.

A wonderful assortment of all types of on-line science activities.  These work great on a Smartboard.

Smart Board Lesson Plans & Activities for weather

Record the Weather flipchart

Drag the pictures to the graph to record the type of weather for each day in the month.

Weather Report (SMART interactive)

This is a basic map of the United States with animated weather symbols that a student can use to present a weather report.  The symbols can be moved around so that no student presents the same report twice!

Learn about the weather (SMART Notebook lesson)

Observe and describe different types of weather and changes in weather.

Weather (SMART Notebook lesson)

This presentation includes use of weather words, the water cycle, using a thermometer, and descriptive writing.

Temperature, Temperature Vocabulary and Weather

A second grade lesson on thermometers, telling temperature, weather and temperature-related words.


Additional resources

Weather tools

  • Make an Anemometer and measure how fast the wind blows.
  • This is an excellent site for students to learn/make the tools scientists use to predict the weather.
  • Weather Watch!  Welcome to the Weather Lab!  Here you can test drive the tools meteorologists use every day.


Assessment of Students

Have students discuss/answer the following:

  • What does a meteorologist do?
  • If you had only one instrument to measure weather, which one would you want it to be? Why?
  • What is your favorite season? Why?
  • How does weather affect people's lives?
  • You have been asked by the local news station to be involved in a series of special "Kid Correspondent" broadcasts on your local TV news station in which you explain weather and climate to the public. See this site.
  • Illustrate weather conditions of different seasons.

(The primary focus of assessment should be to give examples or illustration of the weather conditions from different seasons.  However, appropriate assessments should also require students to recall the four basic seasons; identify different seasonal weather conditions; or recognize different seasonal weather conditions.)

Assessment of Teachers

1. Discuss the importance of weather prediction and how weather forecasts help people.

2. Explain the effects of moving air as it interacts with objects.

(Answer: When air interacts with objects, the objects move.  Examples of things that are affected by moving air are a kite, leaves, or a sailboat.  When air interacts with these objects, they move.  If there is no moving air then the kite, the leaves, nor the sailboat will move.  Moving air can also be called wind.)

3. Answer the following questions:

  • How does weather affect our lives?
  • What are the reasons for the seasons?
  • What are weather systems?
  • What causes change in our weather?
  • How does air pressure affect our weather?


Struggling Learners 

Struggling and At-Risk

Simplify language but not content; emphasize content words and make concepts accessible through the use of pictures, charts, maps, time lines, and diagrams.

Always: use visual aids such as overhead projectors, films, videos, slides, chalkboards, flip charts, computer graphics, or illustrations; use games, songs, rhymes to help students listen to sounds.

Reinforce main ideas concepts through rephrasing rather than through verbatim repetition.

Always: provide intensive instruction until the materials are mastered; allow ample time for learning a task (a student with a learning disability will take longer to master new material); provide instruction to help transfer of learning from one task and setting to another; set-up small discussion groups to allow time for each student to talk and use the language they have already developed.  See this site.

English Language Learners 

Worksheets, flashcards, reading packets and more for teaching ELL learners about the weather.

This article explains how to teach beginning students about weather. 

Extending the Learning 

This site lists several excellent enrichment activities for students.

Weather Classroom Activities and Lesson Plans: A terrific site for extending the basic plans of weather including:

  • building your own weather station,
  • creating a thunderstorm,
  • how to create a tornado.


Dr. Weather needs our class to help create a Dr. Weather website.  You and your partner will be "Junior Meteorologists" and research a weather topic.  Your team will create a web page and quiz about your weather topic.  You and your meteorological buddy will design a Fun With Weather Project for Dr. Weather's website.  Finally we will be sharing Dr. Weather's website.


The Weather Here Is...

Students will gain an insight into the variations in climate around the world and will learn what other people do to cope with extreme temperatures and weather patterns.

Charting the Weather

Students examine weather conditions in the United States and abroad.  They conduct Internet research, record weather conditions, identify weather vocabulary, and create a scrapbook of interesting weather stories.

Weather folklore

Special Education 

Students will tell their class what they should wear outside to protect themselves from the elements.

Students will illustrate if it is a sunny, cloudy, or partly cloudy day.  See this site.

Water, Weather, and the World

A unit developed for students with severe intellectual disabilities and limited language abilities.


Students participate in a variety of mini-lessons including experiments, literature readings, physical education components, music, data gathering and recording, and more to expose them to several themes of weather; i.e. water cycle, temperature, etc.


Classroom Observation 


An administrator observing a lesson on this standard might see teachers introducing atmospheric processes and the science of meteorology through experimentation and hands-on activities in the classroom. By learning a few basic principles about the air around them through classroom demonstrations, and extrapolating to the larger atmosphere, students can begin to explain the whys about weather.


Welcome to the weather education site especially for students, parents, kids and teachers from national TV meteorologist Nick Walker.

Weather Wiz Kids is designed to teach our kids about the weather, how it happens and why - and offers an array of activity sheets, games, and experiments.

Weather Related Science Projects for Kids (and their parents)

This site is dedicated to science projects for kids and the rest of the family, to help with understanding weather and other aspects of meteorology.