ALEX Lesson Plan


Weather Watchers : 21st Century Style

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Emily Millwood
System: Decatur City
School: Oak Park Middle School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 29288


Weather Watchers : 21st Century Style


Students will work in pairs to create a short video of the next day's local weather forecast. Each team's forecast will air the following day, followed by actual weather readings of instruments such as the barometer and digital hygrometer (provided by AMSTI / GLOBE). The forecast and instrument readings will be recorded and compared over a period of weeks on a weather data table.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
SC (6)
1. Identify global patterns of atmospheric movement, including El Niño, the Gulf Stream, the jet stream, the Coriolis effect, and global winds that influence local weather.
  • Predicting local weather and weather patterns
  • Examples: cold and warm fronts, high and low pressure areas
  • Describing the function of instruments and technology used to investigate Earth's weather, including barometers, thermometers, wind socks, weather vanes, satellites, radar, weather balloons, and rain gauges
  • Using lines of latitude and longitude to locate areas of specific weather events
  • Interpreting weather data through observations collected over time
  • Example: calculating annual precipitation and average temperature
    TC2 (6-8)
    14. Use digital tools to generate new ideas, products, or processes.
    Examples: ideas—predictions, trends
    products—animation, video
    processes—models, simulations
    ELA2015 (6)
    22. Write informative or explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content. [W.6.2]
    a. Introduce a topic; organize ideas, concepts, and information, using strategies such as definition, classification, comparison or contrast, and cause and effect; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., charts, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension. [W.6.2a]
    b. Develop the topic with relevant facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples. [W.6.2b]
    c. Use appropriate transitions to clarify the relationships among ideas and concepts. [W.6.2c]
    d. Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic. [W.6.2d]
    e. Establish and maintain a formal style. [W.6.2e]
    f. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from the information or explanation presented. [W.6.2f]
    ELA2015 (6)
    34. Present claims and findings, sequencing ideas logically and using pertinent descriptions, facts, and details to accentuate main ideas or themes; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation. [SL.6.4]
    ELA2015 (6)
    35. Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, images, music, sound) and visual displays in presentations to clarify information. [SL.6.5]
    SC2015 (6) Earth and Space Science
    12. Integrate qualitative scientific and technical information (e.g., weather maps; diagrams; other visualizations, including radar and computer simulations) to support the claim that motions and complex interactions of air masses result in changes in weather conditions.
    a. Use various instruments (e.g., thermometers, barometers, anemometers, wet bulbs) to monitor local weather and examine weather patterns to predict various weather events, especially the impact of severe weather (e.g., fronts, hurricanes, tornados, blizzards, ice storms, droughts).

    Local/National Standards:

    Science Content Standard A: As a result of activities in grades 5-8, all students should develop abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry.

    Primary Learning Objective(s):

    1. Students will interpret weather data and maps to create a forecast. They will record their forecasts on a weather data table.
    2. Students will engage in taking readings of barometric pressure, temperature, relative humidity, and cloud cover. They will record these readings on a data table and compare them to their predicted forecasts.
    3. Students analyze their data table and develop relationships between certain weather phenomena.

    Additional Learning Objective(s):

    1. Students will read a script fluently while being videoed for classroom viewers.
    2. Students will utilize weather words in writing a paragraph.

     Preparation Information 

    Total Duration:

    Greater than 120 Minutes

    Materials and Resources:



    • Local newspapers to read weather forecasts
    • Weather instruments such as a barometer or hygrometer (provided by GLOBE / AMSTI if you are an AMSTI site)
    • A "weather set" located outside your classroom for videoing the Weather Watchers
    • A pre-recorded video of you and a fellow teacher forecasting the weather (see Steps 3 and 4 in this lesson for further details)

    Technology Resources Needed:

    • Video or Flip camera
    • LCD projector
    • document camera (optional)
    • computers with Internet and printer access


    The students need to know how to calculate Universal Time (UT). The students need to have prior knowledge of relative humidity and barometric pressure. They also need to have prior knowledge of the barometer (used to measure barometric pressure) and the hygrometer (used to measure relative humidity). AMSTI / GLOBE sites should already have these instruments. The AMSTI website has two slideshows used to create an understanding of this weather protocol. Just go to Drop down the Science tab to GLOBE-6th grade.


    1. Begin the lesson with the Alabama Reading Initiative (ARI) pre-reading strategy, Five Word Prediction. Write these five words on the board: meteorologists, forecast, relative humidity, temperature and barometric pressure.
    • Ask the students to use these five words to write a good paragraph on predicting the weather. Instruct them to demonstrate a relationship between these words in their paragraph.
    • Allow 5-8 minutes to create the paragraph. After this amount of time has passed, call on a few students to share their paragraphs.
    • These paragraphs will help pre-assess how much the students know about these words and how they relate to each other.

    2. Use the class computer and LCD projector to display the local weather from one of the following websites:
    The Weather Channel or USA Today Weather

    • Give them 1 minute to read and study today's forecast.
    • As they are studying the forecast, hand out the the weather data table (see attachment).
    • Guide students in filling out the first row of information on the data table. (A document camera is a great tool to use in guiding the students in this activity).
    • After filling in the first row of the data table, use the weather instruments to take actual readings of the current weather. Record your data in the second row.
    • Hand out copies of the local newspaper and let your students work in groups to study the weather section. Also use your class computer and LCD projector to show the local forecast for tomorrow's weather using one of the Internet sites listed above.
    • The students will use both of these sources of information to create their own forecast for the following day. They will record their predictions in the third row of the weather data table.

    3. Hand out the scripted weather forecast that is titled Weather Watchers (see attachment). Instruct the students to fill in the blanks with their forecast for tomorrow that they just recorded on their data table.
    • After completing Weather Watchers, pair the students and have them practice reading the script to each other.
    • Assign a schedule for the pairs of Weather Watchers to be videoed. There should be two scheduled for each day until everyone has had a turn. Encourage the pair of students to read over their script the night before they are videoed. Also assign a few students to be the "camera crew."They will be the students responsible for using the Flip camera (or other video device) during the recording session.

    4. After the students have practiced reading the script to each other, show the class the Weather Watchers video that you and another fellow teacher created. Inform the students to critique the video as they are viewing and listening. Instruct them to look for things that their teachers could have done to make the broadcast better. (Students really like finding mistakes that their teachers make!)
    • Tips to remember while broadcasting are: speak distinctly, make eye contact with the camera, and smile.

    5. Revisit the five words from the Five Word Prediction strategy that was used at the beginning of this lesson.
    • Now that the students have engaged in the use of these words, instruct the students to use these five words to write a "revised" paragraph. Instruct them to show a connection between the words as they write their paragraph on predicting the weather.
    • Allow 5-8 minutes to create the paragraph. After this amount of time has passed, call on students to share their paragraphs.
    • These paragraphs can be compared to the "prediction" paragraphs to assess what the student has learned.
    (Tip: If these can be written on the same sheet of paper as the prediction paragraph, they can be assessed a lot easier.)

    6. Each day for the next 2-3 weeks, the following should occur for the first 8-10 minutes of each class period:
    • The assigned pair of weather watchers should collect weather data and share it with the class to record today's forecast. (A document camera works great for this.)
    • The class should use newspapers or websites to help create a forecast for the next day's weather.
    • The class should watch a video of that day's forecast that was created by a pair of Weather Watchers.
    • A pair of Weather Watchers should video a forecast for the following day.
    • Students should be able to make ongoing comparisons of the forecast and actual weather data.
    • Students should be able to develop relationships between certain data such as high pressure equals clear skies; low pressure equals heavy clouds and possible storms.


    **Some files will display in a new window. Others will prompt you to download.

    Assessment Strategies

    1. After the students have spent 2-3 weeks recording and forecasting the weather, give students the Weather Data Table Assessment. (See attachment.) This assesses the student's understanding of the information that was recorded on the weather data table.
    2. Students will engage in an interactive weather map assessment. They will be given symbols to place on a map to report or forecast weather for certain areas of the U.S. They will need computers with Internet access and a printer for this assessment. Go to:

    • Click the "Click here to start" icon.
    • Students can go to Report the Weather or Predict the Weather. There are 3 levels of play. They may print their scores and turn in the hard copy.




    How is Doppler radar important to weather forecasting? Students who have an interest in forecasting may want to use the Internet to research the Doppler radar for your location. Examine a Doppler image and describe each element on the map, including the direction of motion and the different colors. Students could present their findings to the class.



    Some students have difficulty interpreting weather maps. There is a site called Web Weather for Kids that explains the symbols and their meanings. This site also gives tips needed to create a good forecast.

    This site is found at:



    Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

    Presentation of Material Environment
    Time Demands Materials
    Attention Using Groups and Peers
    Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
    Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.