K.3.2.2 Weather

Earth & Space Science
Interdependence within the Earth System
Standard K.3.2.2

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

Benchmark: K. Monitoring Weather

Monitor daily and seasonal changes in weather and summarize the changes.

For example: Recording cloudiness, rain, snow and temperature.

Benchmark: K. Sun's Heat & Light

Identify the sun as a source of heat and light.

For example: Record the time of day when the sun shines into different locations of the school and note patterns.


Standard in Lay Terms 

MN Standard in Lay Terms

Students should be able to observe, name, describe, and measure (using some form of data collection and tracking) the many kinds of daily weather and the four yearly seasons, and describe how the weather and seasons change.

Big Ideas and Essential Understandings 

Big Idea

From Benchmarks Online:

  • There are many ways to acquaint children with earth-related phenomena that they will only come to understand later as being cyclic.  For instance, students can start to keep daily records of temperature (hot, cold, pleasant) and precipitation (none, some, lots), and plot them by week, month, and years.

From NSES:

  • Emphasis in grades K-4 should be on developing observation and description skills and the explanations based on observations.  Younger children should be encouraged to talk about and draw what they see and think.
Benchmark Cluster 

MN Standard Benchmarks  Monitor daily and seasonal changes in weather and summarize the changes.  Identify the sun as a source of heat and light.

The Essentials

Video/song: What's the weather?


NSES Standards

  • 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. 

AAAS Atlas:

  • Change is something that happens to many things.  4C/P2
  • Temperature and the amount of rain (or snow) tend to be high, low, or medium at the same months each year.  4B/P1

Benchmarks of Science Literacy

  • The temperature and amount of rain (or snow) tend to be high, low, or medium in the same months every year.


The sun warms the land, air and water.


Common Core Standards

Math  Strand: Number and Operation: Standard: Understand the relationship between quantities and whole numbers up to 31.

  • Benchmark K.1.1.1  Recognize that a number can be used to represent how many objects are in a set or to represent the position of an object in a sequence.

English Language Arts  Strand: Speaking,Viewing, Listening and Media Skills 

  • Benchmark  Describe familiar people, places, things, and events and, with prompting and support, provide additional detail.
  • Benchmark  Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions as desired to provide additional detail.


Student Misconceptions 
  • Some students believe that the side of the sun not facing the earth experiences winter, indicating a confusion between the daily rotation of the earth and its yearly revolution around the sun. DLESE
  • The ideas "the sun is a star" and "the earth orbits the sun" appear counter-intuitive to elementary-school students.1  The ideas "the sun is a star" and "the earth orbits the sun" are not likely to be believed or even understood in elementary grades.2  Whether it is possible for elementary students to understand these concepts even with good teaching needs further investigation.3


1 Baxter, J. (1989). Children's understanding of familiar astronomical events.                     International Journal of Science Education, 11, 502-513.

Vosniadou, S., & Brewer, W. (1992). Mental models of the earth: A study of conceptual change in childhood. Cognitive Psychology, 24, 535-585.

2 Vosniadou, S. (1991). Designing curricula for conceptual restructuring; lessons from the study of knowledge acquisition in astronomy. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 23, 219-237.

3 American Association for the Advancement of Science, Project 2061 (2001). Atlas for Science Literacy, 44.


A teacher introduces weather by telling children s/he will describe what it looks like outside the window.  "Today, outside I notice that it looks really bright.  I think that means the sun is shining and it is called a sunny day.  I can see a few white puffy clouds but they don't look dark like it might rain.  I don't see the trees moving at all so it must be still and not windy.  I also notice that people are not wearing coats so I think it must not be cold."  Then the teacher tells the children "Please review with a partner what kind of day I saw out the window."  The children will share with the large group.  The teacher should point out some of the weather vocabulary words that are being used and have children repeat them.  "You can really tell a lot about the weather by just looking out the window!  Next we are going to read a weather book What Will the Weather Be Like Today? by Paul Rogers (or Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett or any other fun weather book).  I want you to listen for words that describe the weather as I read the book.  When you think you hear a weather word or a word that tells about the weather, pat your head.  I will know you are listening closely for weather words."  The teacher asks the children "Tell a partner what weather words or words that describe the weather you heard in the book.  Who would like to share what words they heard?  I will write the describing word on our weather word wall chart."  As the provide words, the teacher could say "Great describing words!"  Then "Now we are going to make some of our own weather right hear in our room!  Your job is to listen for different weather sounds as we act out the weather with our hands and feet.  (At this time, the students should be at their tables or desks.)   As a group, right in this room, we are going to create a rainstorm. You will need to concentrate and use your imagination. We will make the rainstorm using our hands and feet, so make sure you have enough room to do so.  Let's review the different things we will do. (The teacher goes through each movement.)  Now, watch my hands and as I change what they are doing, you follow and do the same thing."

1.      The teacher starts by rubbing his or her palms together. S/he can narrate the storm.  "It's summer, and a rainstorm is brewing.  The wind is picking up, the leaves start to rustle, and a cloud covers the sun."

2.      The teacher snaps his or her fingers.  "The raindrops are starting to fall, lightly at first."

3.      The teacher claps with two fingers to palm.  "The rain is starting to fall a little harder."

4.      Claps.  "The storm is getting more intense. The raindrops are falling harder and heavier."  NOTE: This can get noisy (in a good way)!

5.      The teacher slaps his or her lap and stamps feet.  "The rain is reaching its peak as the wind rushes through the trees and the rain comes hard and fast."

6.      Claps.  "It has been a hard rain, but like many summer storms, it doesn't last long.  The rain is starting to slack off and the wind is dying down."

7.      Claps with two fingers to palm.

8.      Snaps fingers.

9.      Rubs palms together.  "The sun comes out from behind the clouds, the leaves are fresh and wet and green.  Small streams and puddles rush over the sloping ground."  The teacher whispers "And our rainstorm is over."

10.  Stops rubbing palms together.  Remains silent for a few moments.

"What words could you use to describe the weather we made in our classroom?"  List the words on the weather word chart.  "When might I use these words?  Who else might use these words?"

"How many of you have ever seen the weather person on TV?  What do you think that person does?"  The children give ideas.  "That is right, the weather person tells use what the weather is like, not only today but maybe yesterday or last week and they even guess about what it will be like tomorrow!  Do you think he or she uses some of the words that we have on our weather word chart?  Yes!  Well guess what?  Each of you will get a a few chances to be the weather person in our classroom.  It will be your job to describe what the weather is like.  You will also have to help us keep some information about the day on our weather graph and even ask us a few questions to make sure WE are listening!  (See sample graph.)  I will be the model weather person for a few days and I want you to watch and listen to what I say and do so when it is your turn, you will be able to be our classroom weather person."

Then the teacher introduces the role of a "Weather Person" and a weather graph.  The teacher could begin the year by modeling the Weather Person's role.  The teacher will use weather vocabulary to describe what the weather is like for the day and write them down to use all year.  Weather pictures can also be used along with the words.  The teacher will then add this data to the graph.  The teacher will ask questions about the weather using the graph, such as:  "What kind of day has the most? least? equal?  How many more ___ than ___?  How many less is _____ than _____?"  As the children become familiar with this routine, they can take over as the Weather Person and describe the weather, add data to the graph, and ask the questions. 

Sample of Simple Weather Graph


































































Instructional Notes 

Selected Labs and Activities

  • Weather Patterns:  A complete lesson plan to help students understand how the weather changes from day to day.  (Benchmark
  • What's the Season?  A complete lesson plan to help students understand how weather can change from season to season.  (Benchmark
  • Warmth of the Sun: A complete lesson plan to help students broaden their understanding of the sun, particularly its critical role in warming the land, air, and water around us.  (Benchmark
  • Sun lesson: A lesson about the sun based on the book, Our Sun.  (Benchmark
Instructional Resources 

Instructional Suggestions/Options

  • Keep a daily weather graph (see vignette).  Model this first for many days then each day a student can act as the weather person and give a description of the weather outside using vocabulary words, adding data to the graph and asking questions about the graph to classmates.
  • Keep a class weather journal: students can describe the weather by writing/drawing in the journal each day.
  • Have students make a weather book, have a page dedicated to each season with a tree showing seasonal changes.
  • Compare/contrast winter and spring, summer and fall, using a Venn diagram or T-chart.
  • Draw items that are heated by the sun.
  • Use these resources to integrate the nature and process of science into your teaching:
New Vocabulary 


  • Seasons: periods of the year characterized by particular conditions and named spring, summer, fall/autumn, and winter
  • Sun: a star that is the basis of the solar system and that sustains life on Earth, being the source of heat and light.
  • Weather: how hot or cold, wet or dry, stormy or calm it is in an area over a short period of time.  Examples of weather words: sunny, cloudy, windy, snowy, rainy, hot, warm, cold.
Technology Connections 
  • Internet4Teachers website with links to many sites for students to practice collecting daily weather data.
  • Control the Weather, a game where by clicking on different buttons, you decide what the weather will be that day. 
  • Dress a Bear for the Weather. This activity asks students to make a judgment about weather based on a thermometer (this also works well for math).
  • Eye on the Sky asks the scientist (your student) to enter weather observations.  Based on the entries, a summary of conditions is compiled.
  • SMART Board sites on weather. 
Cross Curricular Connections 

Additional Resources

Use these resources to integrate the nature and process of science into your teaching

Books to use in class

  • Keats, E. J. (1968). A Letter to Amy. New York: Harper & Row.
    • Weather plays a central role in this story.  A young boy writes a letter to his friend.  The weather affects what happens next.  This is a wonderful read-aloud story and a nice way to introduce how weather affects people.
  • Rogers, P. (1990). What Will the Weather Be Like Today? New York: Greenwillow.
    • From various areas and habitats of the world, animals and humans discuss the possibilities of their day's weather and how weather affects people and cultures.  This is also an excellent read-aloud choice for introducing the unit on weather.
  • Butler, D. (1991). First Look at Changing Seasons. Milwaukee: Gareth Stevens.
    • This simple introduction to the changes that occur in nature during the four seasons is just right for reading aloud to young children
  • Evans, D. & Williams, C. (1993). Seasons & Weather. New York: Dorling Kindersley.
    • Part of the "Let's Explore Science" series, this book with large print and beautiful photographs helps young children become more aware of weather and seasonal phenomena.  This is a wonderful book to share with the children.
  • Iverson, D. (1996). Discover the Seasons. Nevada City, CA: Dawn Publications.
    • This beautifully illustrated book explains the changes in nature through each season.  A two-page craft and recipe section is included to accompany each season.  This is a lovely read-aloud book.
  • Thomson, R. & Hewitt, S. (1994) Spring. Chicago: Childrens Press.
    • After a short introduction about the reason for the season, this book offers an imaginative collection of craft and science projects, all designed to explore the springtime of the year.  This book is colorful and informative and will appeal to kindergartners.  (See also: Summer, Autumn, and Winter all by the same authors, Childrens Press, 1994.)


Assessment of Students

  • Include questions designed to probe student understanding of concepts, both formative and summative.  Identify taxonomic level of questions.
  • Use observation and a checklist for the following:
    • Children should be able to use weather words to describe the daily weather and its changes from day to day.
    • Children should be able to add data to the class weather graph.
    • Children should be able to answer questions about the weather graph.
    • Children should be able to state that the sun gives us both our source of heat and light.
  • Using a rubric to grade the level of understanding during observation of the lessons along with a checklist for each student during the lessons, is a good way to monitor progress and understanding if this standard.


Just beginning


Below grade level


At grade level


Exceeds grade level

Beginning to understand the concept or standard: relies on teacher support

Developing skills concept or standard with varied performance, needs continued practice and some support from the teacher

Demonstrates secure, consistent understanding of the concept or standard without teacher support; works independently and consistently

Exemplary performance of skills well beyond grade level, insightful responses

Assessment of Teachers

  • Questions could be used as self-reflection or in professional development sessions.
    • What do my students need to know and understand about the standard?
    • What are the misconceptions that children have about the weather? Where can you find the information?
    • How will I know when they do understand and what will I do if they do not understand?  What will I do if they already understand this concept?
    • Ask yourself these three questions: What do my students already know about this standard?  (Did I use a preassessment?)  What will I do if my students do not know the information?  What will I do if my students already know and understand the information?
    • How did I use inquiry in my lessons?  (See Minnesota Standard Scientific Inquiry)
    • What worked well and what should I change?


Struggling Learners 
  • Students can use a journal or word book to list weather or season words and/or pictures for every letter of the alphabet.
  • Students can make a Venn diagram or T-chart and compare/contrast two kinds of weather or seasons in words or pictures.
  • Students could make a diagram/drawing of what the sun warms as it shines. 
  • Students could make up a song or poem about the weather.

Struggling and At-Risk

  • Many strategies and suggestions for special education or ELL students could be used for struggling or at risk students.  Pre-teaching of the vocabulary or content using visuals or hands-on experiences prior to the whole class lesson helps the students stay focused on the lesson and students find they will be able to share information.
  • Teachers need to make sure that students are able to count with one-to-one correspondence and understand how to compare/contrast.  If students have difficulty, then they will need help and support in collecting data and comparing and contrasting.
English Language Learners 

Like special education students, some ELL students need to have vocabulary and concepts taught in small groups before whole group content lessons are taught.  The use of pictures with vocabulary and content is very helpful.  Research shows it is helpful to have vocabulary or content taught in the students' first language before having it taught in English.  Here are a few other helpful tips.

  • Pictures of weather words should be used.
  • Students should work in groups when possible to solve problems or conduct experiments. Provide many hands-on experiences as ELL students learn best by doing and seeing lessons.
  • Show ELL students at all proficiency levels a sample of a completed project or assignment.
  • Have students compile notebooks or science journals.
  • Have students prepare collections of science objects, such as sticks and leaves.
  • Use "hands-on" experiential activities that do not rely on academic language for understanding.
  • Prepare large charts that summarize the steps involved in experiments.

Ideas from: ELL resource

Extending the Learning 

Gifted and Talented Modules for E-learning Leading Teachers From the website:

  • E-learning modules for Gifted and Talented (G&T) leading teachers provide opportunities to reflect on G&T issues and approaches to addressing them, to practise strategies which have been found to be effective and to develop action plans for your own context.  The modules also provide links to a range of resources and exemplification.  Module 1: Teaching and learning, is part of the gap task between face-to-face training provided by LAs.  Other modules cover identification, leadership, good practice, working with parents and carers, transfer and transition, learners with particular needs, learning beyond the classroom, career development, Early Years Foundation Stage, Key Stages 1 and 2, primary science, English, mathematics, secondary science, music, PE and sport and EAL.
  • Primary Science Module From the website:
    • This module will examine using a high degree of challenge to benefit all pupils, including the gifted; how to increase challenge and encourage higher order thinking through discussion, scientific enquiry and focused recording as well as how to map classroom outcomes to the Institutional Quality Standards (IQS) and Classroom Quality Standards (CQS).                                     
  • If students already show that they know and understand this concept they should be able to do a small independent or partner study.
  • The student can choose to do a study of the weather by observing the weather, taking notes in words and pictures about the weather, collect data and make a graph, chart, or line graph of the weather, and finally use the information to make a poster, booklet, scrapbook, etc. to share with the class.
  • S/he could also keep a weather journal for the month, describe the changes to the class and how they affect our daily lives.
  • The child could invent a new way to keep track of the weather and share it with the class.
  • Pictures, photos, and objects used in the lessons should encompass a wide variety of items from around the world.  For example, if you are using or showing various plants, animals, or people, find those that are from around the world.  Use books that show a wide variety of pictures of people, animals, habitats, plants etc. from all over the world.
  • Find the nearest Multicultural Center for lots of information about cultures around the world. Examples: 
  • Northwest Suburban Integration School District
  • St. Paul Public Schools
Special Education 

There are many different kinds of special education students.  Depending on the students' special education needs, some need pre-teaching of the vocabulary or content prior to the whole class lesson, preferably using visuals.  This helps the students stay focused on the lesson and students find they will be able to share information. 


Classroom Observation 


  • Administrators observing a lesson on this standard might expect to see:
    • The teacher acting as a guide. The teacher should be asking many questions; answering a question with a question, guiding the student to find the answer to his/her own questions.
  • From: Tytler, R. & Waldrip, B. (2004). International Journal of Science Education. 26 (2), 171‐194.  The objective should be clearly stated, the level of questioning should be at all levels.:
  • The science teacher must have the content knowledge and the pedagogical content knowledge necessary to deliver their instruction effectively and in an engaging way.  A good science teacher uses a variety of methods to effectively deliver the content to various population groups.  Some researchers have found that pedagogical content knowledge and organizational skill in the planning and development of the lessons are qualities that good teachers have.
  • Student science achievement and student interest in science subjects and careers will improve if teachers consistently use research-based instructional practices, materials, and assessments so that each student:
    • Reveals preconceptions, initial reasoning, and beliefs;
    • Is intellectually engaged;
    • Uses evidence to generate explanations;
    • Communicates and critiques their scientific ideas and the ideas of others;
    • Makes sense of the learning experience and draws appropriate understandings;
    • Makes connections between new and existing scientific concepts by understanding and organizing facts and information in new ways; and
    • Reflects on how personal understanding has changed over time and recognizes cognitive processes that lead to changes. (See Administrators Guide)
  • The students, with teacher help and support, should be able to form a question, make a plan, do the investigation, record and report, reflect, revisit, and plan again, if needed.  These steps should be modeled by the teacher.  It could be used as a shared/guided lesson.
  • Students should should be able to name the objective of the lessons and show understanding.  The students should be able to name, define, and use weather words to describe the daily weather, and demonstrate how to find and use the data on the class weather chart.
  • Students should be able to use the data to answer questions about which kind of day has the most or least, which are equal, how many have more, or how many have less, when comparing two kinds of weather.

Sites for families to review, extend and enhance standards: