The Teaching Weather Packet is available here.Click here to see the Table of Contents. The Packet includes: Structure and composition of the atmosphere, heat
transfer, atmospheric factors that influence weather and how
meteorologists measure those factors, air pressure and fronts, clouds,
weather observation and intrepretation, and possible effects of human
activity on the atmosphere. PLUS: Each lesson will also contain
alternative pages for an INTERACTIVE SCIENCE NOTEBOOK,
with the left side containing input from the teacher and the right side
containing review and interpretation by the student. Based on the inspiring work of Liz
LaRosa of MiddleSchoolScience.com.Click here to see her work! And here!Can be purchased as a Download or a CD.Several items from this Packet are also available below at NO CHARGE!
are welcome to use these ideas in your classroom, within your science
department, within your school district, or to distribute to any
teacher who may find these lessons useful. I only ask that:
1. You cannot sell these lessons or make a profit on them in any way.
2. You cite the lessons original source, and do not white-out the copyright footer on the pdf files
3. Do not copy and paste lessons onto your website. A link to the original is to be used.
4. Do not claim these lessons as your own work. NOTE: This disclaimer is modeled after a couple of my favorite websites: The Science Spot and Middle School Science. Thanks, teachers!
Weather Objectives: -Define weather. -Describe the composition and temperature structure of the atmosphere.
a good introduction
worksheet reviewing the main concepts on the composition of the air on
our planet. Based on Heath Earth
Science. Could be done without my book if you put up a word bank of the answers for them to choose from!
Air Team Game
Enlarge the pie
chart from the
Print out the pie chart without words, in color. Print out the words
separately. Cut out. Give to teams. Say, "On your mark! Get set! Go!"
Each team assembles the pie chart correctly and raises hand when
the Atmosphere Foldable
use this right after I've taught the composition of the air objective.
I have them pick up the blue paper and the cut-out page while entering
the classroom and after Bellwork, we fold, cut out and paste on the
front diagram, add blue and red lines to show the changes in
temperature, cut the
flaps, paste the descriptions inside, and then one at a time, cut out
and paste the little objects on the front. See images below. Fun to watch kids
they can do hard things! Play a White Board Game with them using
here for Foldable and Questions.
Atmosphere Speed Game
This is where I
let them bring
along their Atmosphere Foldables to the Team gathering place: Give each
team a colorful page
with all the
layers and pauses listed. (From Atmosphere Foldable.) I set the timer
for 5 minutes and the teams
must list as many characteristics as they can for each layer right on
that paper in the proper area. Have the
team choose the Recorder to write it all down. The rest of the team
looks up as many different things as they can from their Foldable and
dictate to Recorder.
The Recorder just writes. You can make it trickier by giving points for
correct characteristics, but subtracting for any wrong facts. Keeps
them on their toes!
Layers of the
Atmosphere CrissCross Puzzle
lay puzzles like this out on the Pick-Up Table so they can be picked up
as students enter the room. I write "BONUS" at the top with a marker
before I run it off. They know if it says "BONUS" they can do it
anytime in class when there is a lull in the action. This works great
for the faster students. They have something to do and get Bonus Points
for being efficient workers! Click
concept of all: convection
currents! I've seen many ways to
introduce this concept. One uses Baby
Fill one baby
food jar to
the brim with very
hot, red-dyed water.
Fill another baby food jar with very
blue-dyed water. Cover the red jar
with an index card,
turn it over and
place over the blue jar. Slowly remove the index card. The colors don't
mix, because cold air (water) sinks and warm air (water) rises. Holding
the two jars firmly, flip them over. The warm water will begin to rise
into the blue, turning the color to purple. Very dramatic. They'll want
to see it again and again. Indulge them. They learn it forever! Even
better if they do this themselves. Set up blue ice water station
and hot red water station (coffee put.)
Tip for Convection Currents
draw one small, colored convection current in the Troposphere on the
front of their Atmosphere Foldable. Use red
for rising and blue
for falling. Or
have them add to bottom diagram of their Labsheet.
You want to teach a very complicated concept here: The movement of the
rising hot air as it reaches the tropopause is what causes the Jet
Stream, to which Lows are attached, which is why weather moves
from west to east across the United States! This is also why the
cumulonimbus cloud has an anvil top--it is captured and moved eastward
by the jet stream, which is why we can tell where the troposphere ends
and the stratosphere begins if we see an anvil top! Difficult but
Weather Objectives: -Discuss the ozone layer and its possible reduction by human activity.
Weather Objective: -Compare and contrast the three methods of heat transfer.
transfer as a means
introducing Breezes and Global Wind Patterns. Click
for a quick worksheet that covers radiation,
conduction, and convection.
Team Review Game
a quick team game that
gets their heads together with some peer teaching thrown in for good
measure. Quick but potent learning!
Weather Objective: -Identify the atmospheric factors that influence weather and describe how meteorologists measure and interpret each factor
show the PowerPoint below and they fill out quickly as they watch. Most
middle-school aged students know most of these and it's a review for
them. You're just getting them all on the same page, as some won't know
all of them. If you have time, you can do great labs for each
instrument. Otherwise this can be it. Click
Weather Objectives: -Describe how the uneven heating of earth’s surface is caused by the tilt of the earth
affectionately known in
building as the "Skittles
although this version uses
beans. This lesson is floating around the Internet in many versions. A
good way to teach why right angle sunlight will heat an area more than
a narrower angle. Works! Click
here. Click here for my related Blog entry.
Weather Objective: -Describe the four fronts and explain their origin and structure.
(See photos below)
the front Venn Diagram page off on colored paper, the other two pages
on white. They can put them together several different ways. Have them
fold hamburger bun-style. No flaps. Paste closely cropped symbols on
the front. Paste all other diagrams and info squares inside, then use
what's inside to fill out the front with pen or pencil. They have to
come up with how they are alike by themselves! Good Thinking skills
here! You can give hints or ask them what does the diagram with the
cold and warm fronts attached to the Low tell them? Then they answer
the questions in pairs or small groups or alone. See photos below. Click
Weather Objective: Observe, record, and interpret the factors that affect weather:
this on the day you begin your Weather Unit.
Record for at least one week, more if possible. Then have them answer
analysis questions in small groups or pairs. Click
here for Chart.Click
here for QuestionSheet that also has them copy the national
map each day. You could skip the Observing Weather Chart and just go
with the second option if pressed for time.
Weather Objective: -Discuss the possible effects of human activity on the atmosphere (and other spheres).
state-required objective that asks us to introduce our students to the
concept that changes in the "spheres" occur both naturally and by human
design. We've come up with a "Changes in the Spheres" Project that
takes a total of about one 90-minute class period. We give each small
folder with information from the Internet. They are asked to use the
information to fill out a worksheet
prepare a short presentation to the class.
such as these can be covered: Acid Rain, Chernobyl, The Great Flood of
'93, The 9/11 Contrail Discovery, The Exxon Valdez, Meteorite
Collisions, Volcanic Eruptions, etc. Students take notes during the
speeches using a Listening
Weather Objectives: -Explain the difference between weather and climate. -Show how to describe an area's climate. -Summarize the factors that control climate and climate change.
introduce the concept of Climate. Small groups or pairs come up with a
definition on newsprint. Post where all can see. Or have each group
write on chalkboard in different colors. They arrive at a group
definition by consensus. Post this for all to see. Main rule: can't use
the book's definition! Then discuss the definition of climate from your
book focuses on explanation about the processes that produce Earth's
weather and climate. It emphasizes a non-mathematical understanding of
physical principles as a vehicle for learning about atmospheric
Additionally, difficult-to-visualize topics are reinforced with a
series of software tutorials presented on a CD-ROM packaged with the
Accompanying CD-ROM features Tutorials, Interactive Exercises, and
illustrative movie loops all keyed to the book.
Also, this book includes up-to-date coverage of severe weather events."
should be covered: altitude, latitude, nearness to center of continent
or large body of water, prevailing winds, ocean currents. This is a
difficult for young minds to grasp, since most are not firmly in the
conceptual stage. A chart form of the climate controls, with two
columns, temperature and precipitation, is an organized, more concrete
way for students to learn the material. I use a copyrighted handout
that lists the controls for both temperature and precipitation, then
asks questions that review the concept, then applies it to an imaginary
effective way to involve students with the climate controls. Usually
uses the main areas of continental vs. marine, windward and leeward,
top of a mountain vs. foothills, equator vs. more northern latitudes. Click here
nice imaginary continent by Paula Messina,
geology professor at San José State University who has also
taught high school Earth Science. This works well for my ninth graders!
the three main climates: tropical, temperate, and polar. Later you can
discuss other zones, such as: steppe, continental moist, continental
dry, oceanic moist, highlands, etc. I use copyrighted worksheets. You
could make your own using a world map, on which students color the
three main zones. This makes it easier for students to identify the
main temperatures on their own continents, using the climate control of
latitude. I teach my students to say hot for tropical, warm or cool for
temperate, and cold for polar regions. Many students are capable of
moving to more sophisticated judgments, such as this is a tropical
latitude but the city is atop a mountain, so maybe it's cool or warm
instead of hot. Many can't make that distinction at this age.
the above worksheet, I decided to do something different this semester.
So I made 3 different color sets of laminated cards: 1 set of cards
with the 11 climate names, 1 set of cards in a different color with
descriptions of the 11 climates, and a third set of cards with the
parts of the North American Continent areas that match the 11 climate
zones. I gave the students copies of the Koppen Climate
Climate Names with Descriptions and,
using their World Climate Zone Map, try to match the climate types with
different areas of the North American Continent. I did this activity
BEFORE I taught the Factors that Influence Climate. I heard wonderful
discussions between students as to what area of the country matched
what climate and why!
that has the
student graphing on a climagraph the West
Palm Beach and Kathmandu
climate information. Click
A climate unit
nowadays without touching on the concept of climate change, man-made or
natural causes. Your textbook probably has a section on this topic.
Work up a good study guide/worksheet. Discuss the concepts. Then do the
aerosol science activity mentioned next.
Weather Objectives: -Describe the main types of clouds. -Describe the formation of clouds. -Explain how the amount of cloud cover is determined.
added this section for
those of you with extra time to teach the "fun" stuff. Please consider
moving beyond how to identify clouds. Try also
teaching your students to connect each cloud type with a specific type
of weather. This is learning for life, which truly engages your
is the best
lesson I know
teaching students how to judge the amount of cloud cover in the sky. Do
the classroom before you go outside to observe weather and clouds. Give
them a copy of the actual CLOUD
COVER SYMBOLS at the end of
the lab. They
cloud cover percents!!
love to do the CLOUD
BOOKLET PROJECT during "Cloud
Week." If you can give them time in a computer lab one day, they can
surf for cloud images, print in grayscale, and touch up with colored
pencils. Many will print at night using color printers. This assignment
reinforces types of clouds, the altitude they occupy, and associated
weather. Nice to pass the booklets around on hand-in day to admire!
Here's the Rubric.