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Weather Forecasting Unit

Weather Forecasting Unit of Study

Kathleen Silvey

Grand Canyon University

EED 523

June 28, 2009
Weather Forecasting Unit
Weather Forecasting Unit of Study


• Students will discover the different types of ways to measure the weather.

• Students will match the cloud type to a specific kind of weather.

• Students will match temperature, precipitation, wind speed and direction, and cloud conditions

with different weather conditions.

• Students will identify and use the appropriate tools and technology to measure temperature, wind

and precipitation.

• Students will make a weather station to predict the weather.

Michigan Standards:

• Elementary (K-4) Discipline 4 - Earth Science
○ Earth Systems (ES)
 Weather
 Weather Measurement

• Math – Measurement -M.UN.04.01 Measure using common tools and select appropriate units
of measure.

• Technology - Research Tools
1. use web search engines and built-in search functions of other various resources to locate
2. know how to independently use existing databases (e.g., library catalogs, electronic
dictionaries, encyclopedias) to locate, sort, and interpret information on an assigned topic.
3. perform simple queries on existing databases and report results on an assigned topic.

• Technology - Problem-solving and decision-making tools
1. use technology resources to access information that can assist in making informed
decisions about everyday matters (e.g., which movie to see, which product to purchase).
2. use information and communication technology tools (e.g., calculators, probes, videos,
DVDs, educational software) to collect, organize, and evaluate information to assist with
solving real-life problems (personal or community).
Weather Forecasting Unit

Internet access, worksheets, pencils with erasers, black permanent marker, rubbing alcohol, clear,

narrow-necked plastic bottle, food coloring, clear plastic drinking straws, modeling clay, a glass or beaker

with straight sides, a ruler, tape, one foot of clear plastic tubing, chewing gum, water, flat Styrofoam (9

in. long and 4 in. wide), flat piece of plastic (3 in. long and 3 in. wide) that is thin enough to cut, small

nails, long strands of human hair (about 8 inches long), dimes, glue, hammer, scissors, straight pins, paper

plates, manila file folders, 3 ounce Dixie cups, a paper punch, a small stapler, and a large cardboard box

that is big enough for a child to fit into.


This unit will introduce the students to predicting the weather using their senses, their knowledge

of different types of clouds, and various tools and technology. Students will read about how weather is

measured and predicted on their worksheets and the internet. They will then start a weeklong journey

researching, creating and using the tools and technology available in determining the weather. The unit of

study will end with a field study assessment, using a weather station created by the teacher and students

together as a class, where they will individually predict the weather for that day in a final test of what they

have learned during the week.

Day 1- Students will read and complete activities relating to the water cycle and cloud formations

and how they are related and can predict future weather.

1. First, students will read several internet sites about the water cycle and the different types of

clouds, Then the students will complete the following worksheets:



Weather Forecasting Unit
Label Water Cycle Diagram
Read the definitions below then label the water cycle diagram.

Accumulation - the process in which water pools in large bodies (like oceans, seas and
Condensation - the process in which water vapor (a gas) in the air turns into liquid water.
Condensing water forms clouds in the sky. Water drops that form on the outside of a glass of
icy water are condensed water. (This term appears twice in the diagram.)
Evaporation - the process in which liquid water becomes water vapor (a gas). Water
vaporizes from the surfaces of oceans and lakes, from the surface of the land, and from melts
in snow fields.
Precipitation - the process in which water (in the form of rain, snow, sleet, or hail) falls from
clouds in the sky.
Subsurface Runoff - rain, snow melt, or other water that flows in underground streams,
drains, or sewers.
Surface Runoff - rain, snow melt, or other water that flows in surface streams, rivers, or
Transpiration - the process in which some water within plants evaporates into the
atmosphere. Water is first absorbed by the plant's roots, then later exits by evaporating
through pores in the plant.

Copyright ©2001-2009
Weather Forecasting Unit

Label the Clouds
Label the clouds using the terms below.

alto-cumulus - Middle-level, medium-sized puffy clouds.
alto-stratus - Middle-level, layered clouds.
cirro-cumulus - High-altitude, small, wispy, patchy, puffy clouds.
cirro-stratus - High-altitude, thin, wispy clouds in layers.
cirrus - High-altitude, thin, wispy clouds.
cumulo-nimbus- Large, dense, towering clouds that cause thunderstorms.
cumulus - Low, puffy clouds.
fog - Ground-hugging clouds.
nimbo-stratus - Low, dark, rain cloud.
stratus - Low, layered, horizontal, wispy clouds with a flat base.
strato-cumulus - Low clouds, broad and flat on the bottom, puffy on top (higher
than cumulus and lower than altocumulus).

Copyright ©2002-2009
Weather Forecasting Unit
Day 2 – Follow up on what was learned yesterday on clouds with a mini assessment on predicting

the weather with clouds. Click here for the PowerPoint Presentation/Quiz.

Begin making the first of the six weather measurement tools that will be needed for the weather station

field study. Today the teacher will make a thermometer and a barometer:

1. Making a thermometer - pass out this worksheet on how to make a simple thermometer in

school using various items found in a classroom science lab. Create and demonstrate this

thermometer in front of the whole class. This is just for students to see how a thermometer works.

For their weather station, they will be using a real store bought thermometer from the local

hardware store.

2. Making a barometer – Pass out this worksheet on how to make a simple barometer. Again create

and demonstrate the barometer in front of the whole class. Students will each be collecting data

on Friday from the barometer from inside the classroom (it should be kept indoors) for their

weather station field study. Make sure you mark where the water is today on the ruler, as well as

every day until the day of the field study.

Day 3 – Today, the students will begin making their own measuring tools for the weather station

field study. Begin by passing out this worksheet on how to make a hygrometer. Allow students to make

this tool and when they are finished, explain how to read the hygrometer and then determine how humid

the classroom is. Now pass out this worksheet on how to make an anemometer. Allow enough time for

students to complete. Explain, while the students are working, how an anemometer works.

Now, take the students outside with their hygrometers and anemometers. If it is raining, stand

under a covered area outside. What do their hygrometers say now? Compare the humidity of the

classroom to the humidity outside. Is it different? Why? Have the students also determine the wind speed

with their anemometers. Remind them that they will each be using their hygrometer and anemometer on

Friday and to keep them in a safe place.
Weather Forecasting Unit
Day 4 – Have the students take out their hygrometers and anemometers. Go outside again, if

weather permits. Have the students take a reading of each tool. Is it different from yesterday? Why?

Next, the students will make a weather vane from this worksheet. When students are finished

making their weather vanes, take them outside to the north side of the school building, if weather permits.

You will now demonstrate how to make a makeshift compass using outside objects (a stick, several

stones and the sun) as described here. Explain how to do this, even if it is not sunny outside. Students will

need to create this makeshift compass tomorrow to help them collect data. When you are done, put the

stick and stones in a box and take the students inside for use in the field study tomorrow.

Day 5 - Today the students will be assessed on what they learned about predicting the weather

using the tools they’ve been making all week. Using a very large cardboard box (maybe on from the

cafeteria from Styrofoam cups or other supplies kept in large boxes), tape the store bought thermometer

to the bottom of the box. Bring this box, as well as the box with the stick and stones, outside with the

students and find a safe, sturdy location on the north side of the building where it's shadiest. Position the

box securely beside the building, perhaps on a brick foundation. Explain to the students that this is where

they will make their weather observations, using their knowledge of cloud formations, the tools they have

made and the makeshift compass that they will create. Pass out the following question worksheet and

allow them to each take a turn in the weather station to answer the questions.

Predict the Weather! Name _______________________

1. Inside the classroom, observe the barometer on your teacher’s desk. Look at where the previous
days are marked. Is today’s barometric pressure reading higher, lower or the same as the previous
Weather Forecasting Unit
day’s readings? __________________________________________ What does this tell you
about today’s weather? __________________________________

2. Outside the weather station, look at the thermometer on the box. What is the temperature right
now? __________ Predict how warm or cold you think the weather will get today by the current
temperature ____________________________________________________

3. Look up at the clouds. If there are any in the sky, even on the horizon, what type of cloud are
they? ________________________________________________________________ Predict
what the weather will be like today by observing the clouds__________________


4. Using the hygrometer you made, determine the humidity outside. Is it dry or humid? ____ Predict
if it will be a sunny, cloudy or rainy day today? ____________________________

5. Using the anemometer you made, you will be determining the wind speed outside.
What is the RPM? __________ Using that measurement, is it very windy, windy, slightly windy or
not windy at all? __________________________________________________

6. Create a compass out of the stick and stones on the ground near the weather station. Now using
the weather vane you made, determine which direction the wind is blowing. Is it blowing north,
south, east, west or a combination (write in the combination) ___________

7. Using your observations of the anemometer and the weather vane, what do those measurements
predict about the future weather for later today? _____________________



I chose to do a science unit on forecasting the weather because it can easily be used across the

curriculum in other content areas, such as reading, math and technology. The activities I chose give
Weather Forecasting Unit
students a chance to learn how to predict the weather without depending on the current technology, such

as the Doppler radar, news reports and the Internet. This gives students a new, interesting and fun way to

use a vast array of process skills, including observing, measuring, classifying, comparing, analyzing and


The lessons include the other content areas of reading comprehension and technology by having

the students access the Internet to learn how the different types of clouds can help predict the weather.

Lessons also require a lot of measuring, which helps them practice their math skills.

Lastly, the lessons allow the students to create their own personal handmade technology. By using

their own hands and artistic abilities, they develop a new awareness of inventing things that supply data

and information about how stuff works. Also, the girl scout leader in me found these lessons to be useful

in other activities the students might do at home or on outdoor adventures with their families, such as

camping trips, hiking, fishing, biking, and skiing. I think it is important for students to learn survival

techniques and not be so dependent on high tech gadgets. So these activities could also be considered

lessons in life skills as well.


Brooks, S. and Byles, B. (2009). Internet4Classrooms. 3rd Grade Science Skills. Retreived June 27,

2009 from
Weather Forecasting Unit
Enchanted Learning. (2002). Clouds. Retrieved June 27, 2009 from

Michigan Department of Education. (2009). K-4 Grade Level Content Expectations. Retreived June 27,

2009 from,1607,7-140-28753_33232---,00.html.

Stevens Institute of Technology. (2007). Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education

(CIESE). Weather Scope. Retrieved June 28, 2009 from