Lesson Objectives

  • Know the definition of wind and weather
  • Understand why weather changes and what causes wind
  • Distinguish among various forms of precipitation
  • Recognize the tools used for measuring weather conditions and understand their functions
  • Build a barometer out of simple items


Engage: Activate Prior Knowledge; Generate Interest


Show students the video segment The Weather is Different From Day to Day and From Place to Place. This video explores different types of weather we can encounter, and is a good lead-in to talk about the weather. Ask students questions about the weather to assess their prior knowledge. Record their answers on a KWL chart and refer back to them throughout the lessons.

Sample questions could include: What is the weather? Why is weather important? At this point in the lesson it is ok for the questions to be open ended, and to accept all reasonable answers.

Show students the video segment The Importance of Weather Forecasting. Play the video until the 0:40 mark. This clip gives a basic introduction to the importance of weather forecasting. Explain to the students that in these lessons, they will be learning to predict the weather much like a weather forecaster.

Finally, post the Essential Questions that constitute what students will be learning. Students may read them or you may wish to read them aloud together.
  • What is weather?
  • What causes weather to change?
  • What is wind?
  • What causes wind?
  • What is the difference between kinds of precipitation?

Explore: Allowing Students to Experience Content

Provide students with the reading passages Arthur, Bertha, and Cristobal and The World Record. These4-11-2012_7-27-54_PM.jpg reading passages give a basic overview of weather and wind, and are also available as eBooks. Because of differing reading levels of the passages, you may wish to use a mixed group approach to address different reading levels. To do this, have students read the passage appropriate to their reading level and then share their findings to contribute to the understanding of the group. Remind students to use the Essential Questions as their guide as they read. The reading passage is an interesting article for students to discover differences with precipitation and extend their thinking to understand causes and effects related to rain, sleet, snow and hail. Students can complete a cause and effect organizer after reading the passage.


Instruct students to complete the Exploration About Weather. When completed with its accompanying worksheet, this Exploration answers the first three sub-concepts of this lesson. If you wish, students may complete this in pairs or small groups.

Have students watch the video segments Circulation: How Heat, Wind, and Pressure Work Togetherand Heat, Wind, and Pressure: A Review. Students should use the Essential Questions as an organizer to take notes on the videos. These video segments focus on the last two sub-concepts.

Next, provide an example of a process chart for students to create to explain the causes of and the relationship between weather and wind. Students should include the causes of wind, different kind of wind and the different ways that wind affects weather.
As students watch the video segment Precipitation, ask them to create a four square summarizing organizer by folding a regular piece of paper into fourths. Instruct students to write snow, rain, hail and sleet in the boxes and use the organizer to take notes and summarize their understanding about the four types of precipitation.

4-11-2012_7-31-49_PM.jpg 4-11-2012_7-33-06_PM.jpg

Finally, have students explore the interactive glossary terms air pressure, barometer, circulate, climate, temperature, weather, precipitation, rain and hail.
When students have adequately explored the DE Science resources, they will then complete a Hands-On Activity.

Hands-On Activity
Students will complete the Hands-On Activity Build a Barometer.


Explain: Firm Up Understanding; Allow Students to Explain What They Know

Show students the video segment Radiation and the Sun: Energy and Our Weather. This video explains the sun’s role in wind, and thereby weather. After the video, take a few moments to have students summarize the main points, making sure they summarize answers to the Essential Questions. Answer any student questions about the lesson content. Ask students to add any necessary information to the class KWL chart.

Next, show students the video Cloud Types and Precipitation. Ask students to explain any new understandings they have about precipitation by creating a five question true and false test for a classmate. After students create the test, they should switch with a partner and then grade and provide feedback to the partner about correct and incorrect responses.

Elaborate: Allow Students to Apply What They Know

Virtual Lab: What Shall We Do Tomorrow? (Level 1)
Virtual Labs, in addition to being an inquiry instructional tool, can be used to assess students’ skills in science investigation. For this concept, the Virtual Lab What Shall We Do Tomorrow? is particularly appropriate to elaborate this lesson. Before assigning the lab to students, however, you may need to model the appropriate process. The Teacher Guide for this lab will help you achieve this.


Have students analyze their data from the Virtual Lab. Which wind direction produced the most desirable weather? How did changing the temperature change the weather? What does barometric pressure tell us about the weather? What might have caused different types of precipitation?

Project Ideas: To help your students apply their understanding of weather, you may wish to have your students complete some or all of the following projects. The time required to complete each project will vary; some may require students to work outside the classroom.

  • Have students build a simple anemometer using a protractor and ping pong ball. Show the video segment Measuring Wind to instruct students how to build the simple anemometer. Students can then take measurements over a period of time and write a short report to detail their findings.
  • Set up a weather station in the classroom (or outside the classroom window). The weather station could include a thermometer, barometer, and rain gauge. Have students monitor the weather each day and record their measurements on a chart in the classroom. Students can graph the measurements and discuss if any patterns form. Ask students if they feel they could predict the weather for the next few days and then compare what actually occurs with their predictions.
  • Have students build a rain gauge to use at home. The gauge should include measurements along the side. Students then record measurements for a month (or other specified period of time) and record the weather conditions in a weather journal.
  • Have students research ways in which human activities have influenced weather, such as cloud seeding, global warming, etc, and write a short paper or design a presentation for the class.

Evaluate: Check for Understanding

Have students complete the Brief Constructed Response (BCR) item titled About Weather. You may also wish to assign the online concept assessment and use the results in the student reports to guide you in assigning any remediation to students.