ALEX Lesson Plan


Boom Boom Thunder!!

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:kristi oreka
Organization:University of North Alabama
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 32470


Boom Boom Thunder!!


The focus of this lesson is for students to determine why thunder makes the “Boom” sound.  Through hands-on activities students will become familiar with the sound thunder makes.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
SC2015 (2015)
Grade: K
10 ) Ask questions to obtain information about the purpose of weather forecasts in planning for, preparing for, and responding to severe weather.*

Insight Unpacked Content
Scientific And Engineering Practices:
Asking Questions and Defining Problems
Crosscutting Concepts: Cause and Effect
Disciplinary Core Idea: Earth and Human Activity
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
  • Ask questions to obtain information about the purpose of weather forecast in planning for severe weather.
  • Ask questions to obtain information about the purpose of weather forecast in preparing for severe weather.
  • Ask questions to obtain information about the purpose of weather forecast for responding to severe weather.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Weather
  • Forecasting
  • Severe
  • Purpose
  • Obtain Information
Students know:
  • There are patterns related to local severe weather that can be observed (e.g., certain types of severe weather happen more in certain places).
  • Weather patterns (e.g., some events are more likely to occur in certain regions) help scientist predict severe weather before it happens.
  • Severe weather warnings are used to communicate predictions about severe weather.
  • Weather forecasting can help people plan for, and respond to, specific local weather (e.g., responses: stay indoors during severe weather, go to cooling centers during heat waves; preparations: evacuate coastal areas before a hurricane, cover windows before storms).
Students are able to:
  • Ask questions based on observations to find more information about the world.
  • Obtain, evaluate and communicate information from observations and grade appropriate text or media.
  • Obtain information to describe patterns in the natural world.
Students understand that:
  • Severe weather has causes that generate observable patterns.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Weather Walk
*Weather, STC
*Sunny Sandbox, ETA/hand2mind
*Clouds, GLOBE

NAEP Framework
NAEP Statement:
Weather changes from day to day and during the seasons.

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will be able to:

  • Identity what causes thunder
  • How the cool and hot air is involved in thunder
  • Perform an experiment to show how the boom starts

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

0 to 30 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

  1. Balloons
  2. Thumbtacks

Technology Resources Needed:


Preview all the information you will be teaching and be prepared. If you have students that do not understand as well as the other students go over the web page for thunderstorms.


1) Teacher will make a KWL chart, students will tell what they know about the thunder, what they want to know about thunder, and after the lesson the students will tell me what they learned about thunder.

2) Teacher will start by asking:

  • How does thunder happen?
  • How does lightning help make the “boom” sound?


            "In today’s lesson we will learn about thunder. We will do an experiment to help us understand what happens in the sky to make the “boom” sound. We will also discuss how lightning helps the thunder happen. We will be able to answer our objective questions, what exactly makes thunder, how cool and warm air mix to cause thunder, and how lightning helps makes the “boom” sound. We will make a KWL chart to help us keep in order of what we already know, what we want to know, and what we have learned."


            Give each student a balloon and a thumbtack. Specifically tell them to not get the balloon anywhere near the thumbtack, because you will not be able to get another balloon.  You will be able to pop the balloon with the thumbtack and I want you to see and feel what happens. After we have popped them, we will be able to talk about what we think happened and why we hear the sound.


            Activity #1: What causes the pop sound when you pop the balloon? (While I have blown up the balloon hot air has gone into the balloon, after awhile it will cool down. When you stick the needle into the balloon you have cause all that pressure to explode and pop the balloon.) Discuss what you have observed.

When your lungs force air inside the balloon, the rubber stretches and the balloon inflates. When you make a tiny tear in the balloon, you are letting all that build up air inside the balloon. As the compressed air is now releasing and pushes out what causes the pop.

The quick expansion of the air pushes out against the surround balloon. This causes sound waves that get to your ears as a popping sound. Thunder is the same. As lightning strikes, it gives off heat through with it passes. This heated air will cool and contract. The fast expansion and contraction of air around lightning causes air molecules to move back and forth, which in turn produces sound waves that you hear as thunder.

Ways to stay safe during a thunderstorm: Stay away from windows, don’t get a shower, don’t use electronics (anything with metal), if you are outside do not stand under a tree try to find a safe building to get into.


            We will talk about what you should do during a thunderstorm. We will go over one last time exactly what they learned and what else they have questions on.



Assessment Strategies

Draw a picture of a storm and write a sentence
about what is happening. Also, write a plan to do during a thunderstorm to stay




If students are having problems with understanding what a thunderstorm is, go over the website

and let the students do the activities online. Make sure you are by the student to help them whenever possible.

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.