Climate and Weather Unit
Lesson One: Where to look
- Grade Level: Upper elementary and middle school
- Subject Area: Science
In this lesson, students become familiar with weather terminology
and different representations of data as they explore various on-line weather sites. They will
be given an opportunity to practice using and interpreting data, while determining the effects
of the time of day, time of year, as well as on temperature.
- Locate on-line weather sources.
- Gather and interpret weather data.
- Determining the warmest and coolest time of day.
- Identify the range of temperatures between summer and winter.
- Recognize patterns of temperature change.
Materials and Resources
- Science Journals.
- Thermometers (one-per-group).
- Weather data (can be downloaded from one of the weather organizations listed below).
In developing our lessons and activities, we made some
assumptions about the hardware
and software that would be available in the classroom for teachers who visit the
LETSNet Website. We assume that teachers using our Internet-based lessons or
activities have a computer
(PC or Macintosh) with the necessary hardware components (mouse, keyboard, and
monitor) as well as software (operating system, TCP/IP software, networking or
software, e-mail and a World Wide Web client program, preferably Netscape, but
Mosaic or Lynx). In the section below, we specify any "special"
requirements for a lesson or activity (in addition to those described above)
and the level of Internet access required to do the activity.
hardware requirements: None.
- Special software requirements: None.
- Internet access: Medium-speed (28,000 BPS via modem) or higher.
Before beginning this lesson, have students bring in magazines,
newspaper articles, and library books that relate to weather.
- Introduce the Climate and Weather unit by visiting several of the Internet Resources
- Use the available resources, (e.g., one of the sites listed in the web resources below) to
review basic weather terminology with students, such as temperature, average temperatures,
- Identify the units of measurement for temperature and precipitation.
- Explore a weather database to find the ranges, extremes, and patterns in the data.
- Introduce the NOAA and explain how NOAA keeps detailed records of weather observations from
hundreds of location over a long period of time.
- Ask students to make predictions based on their existing knowledge of weather. For example,
- What time of day is the hottest? The coldest?
- What month of the year is the hottest? The coldest?
- What month has the most precipitation? The least?
- Students may want to keep an accurate log of all activities in their Science
- Arrange the class into small groups where they can discuss their
predictions and form a hypothesis based on those predictions, example: ________is the hottest
time of day.
- Have students test their hypothesis against the data available or
students can gather their own data to find the temperature changes during a twenty-four-hour day.
They can do this by measuring the temperature at various times during the day over a period of
several days, or they can look at one of the resources available on-line. If they measure it
themselves, they might consider using computer temperature probes - frequently available from
the high school science laboratory.
- In order to answer the long-range questions such as the hottest time of year,
or most rainfall, students will need to rely on information provided by local/national weather
- Encourage students to form conclusions based on the information and
data provided. Write their conclusion in their journal.
- Gather as a large group to discuss their findings. Were their predictions
correct? Why of why not? What evidence did they find to support their conclusion? Is it reliable?
What makes a reliable source? Emphasize the importance of using reliable sources and accurate data
when forming a conclusion.
On-Line hourly data
The WeatherNet site provides access to dozens of weather products, including hourly weather updates, specific to each of the fifty United States, includes: conditions, forecasts, warnings, radar, climate information, satellite photos, and much more.
Archived monthly/yearly data
- EARTHSTORM's Online Weather Glossary
Glossary containing common weather termonology.
- NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA (NWS)
Comprehensive weather glossary.
- Meteorology A to Z
Today's Weather, glossary, songs, activities, stuff for kids/teachers/parents,
questions & quizzes, and weather news.
- The Weather Calculator
Welcome to the El Paso National Weather Service Office's weather calculator. This convertor will convert Fahrenheit to Celsius or Celsius to Fahrenheit.
- Guide to Weather Maps and Images
The University of Illinois Weather Machine and Weather World are well
known for providing the latest and up-to-date weather maps, satellite images,
and forecasts to many users around the globe. This module has been designed to instruct, even the "Beginning Meteorologist", on how to read and interpret the useful information that these maps and images convey.
General Weather Sites
- WeatherNet's Travel Cities Weather page
WeatherNet's Travel Cities Weather page. forecasts, current conditions, color
satellite imagery, and radar are available for 20 cities nationwide. Additional cities will be added in coming months, so check here often for improvements.
NOAA maintains several useful sites, including: The Climate Diagnostics Center, The Global Climate Perspectives System, and The National Climatic Data Center, provide live access to climate data.
- The Weather Channel
Choose a state and participating city to see current weather information, weather maps, weekly forecasts, and Doppler Radar images.
- Interactive Weather Browser
MSU maintains an on-line weather browser.
The WeatherNet at the University of Michigan contains a wealth of current and historical
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