weather watch

Weather Watch – lesson

We can take all the measurements of weather that we want – but what do those really mean?  Is this weather science like magic?  And how can we know what weather is coming next when even the pros get it wrong?

In this lesson we will

  • Monitor our current weather
  • Watch the clouds
  • Learn about weather trends
  • Predict the weather for the future!

Time to Complete

5+ days, only 5 minutes a day of actual recording data

Concepts

Weather patterns & prediction

Vocabulary

Weather, atmosphere, climate, precipitation, weather front

Skills Highlight

K-2

Core Concept: Critical

Skill: Pattern Recognition

  • Use the pattern of past weather to predicate future weather patterns

3-5

Core Concept: Critical

Skill: Pattern Recognition

  • Use the pattern of past weather to predicate future weather patterns

Supplies

  • Weather station (optional)
  • Computer to look up weather
  • Weather Watch data sheet  – 1 per child
  • What Weather chart  – 1
  • Cloud descriptions  – 1
weather-walking on ice

Lesson

Before we can predict the weather we have to ask – What is weather?

Well it is the atmospheric conditions over a short period of time.  The atmosphere is that layer of gases (we usually call it the air or sky) between the ground and space.  So when we measure or predict different things about the atmosphere for the next few days, that is the weather!

The weather might be sunny and warm today then cold and rainy tomorrow.  We usually think about weather to include

  • Temperature
  • Precipitation (all that stuff that falls from the sky)
  • Wind
  • Cloud cover

These 4 things are important to farmers, athletes, fisherman, pilots, and anyone else working, traveling, or playing outside.  Being able to predict weather is important to planning ahead.

  • Can you name some weather examples? These may be sunny, rainy, windy, etc.
fluffy clouds

When we talk about weather over a long period of time (like years) in a specific area (like your hometown), we call this climate.  We won’t be talking about climate right now, but that is the difference.

Nope!  It is taking measurements today and using what we know about weather patterns to predicts what will come next.  There are 4 common weather measurements you will take and use to predict your own weather!

  • Cloud type
  • Barometric pressure
  • Relative humidity
  • Wind strength and humidity

You can use the Weather Watch data sheet to track your weather over a few days and use that along with our What Weather Chart to predict what weather is coming.  It is like a weather crystal ball… but a paper.

Clouds

Go outside.  Using the cloud type descriptions and pictures on pages 15-20, identify what type of clouds you see.

→ Mark this down on your weather data sheet.

cirrocumulus clouds

Relative Humidity

The relative humidity is the amount of water in the air compared to what it can hold.  It is measured in percent.  100% means the air is completely full and any more water will fall to the ground as precipitation.

Building a humidity gauge is not difficult but it requires a lot of math.  So, we suggest you find this measurement on the internet.

→ Look up relative humidity and write it on your data sheet.

Wind Direction & Speed

Calculating wind direction is as simple as going outside, licking your finger, and holding it up to “feel” the direction.  Or you can use the weather vane we built for the weather station for more accurate result.

Use the anemometer from the weather station to calculate wind speed or look up on the internet

→ Record wind direction and speed on your data sheet.

weather vane
weather vane
anemometer
anenometer

Barometric Pressure

barometer
homemade barometer

Barometric pressure is not as easy as looking at the clouds or feeling the wind.  You will either need to look up the pressure online or use the homemade barometer.

→ Record the barometric pressure on you data sheet

Temperature

Look up the temperature online or get your own thermometer.  We found a little outdoor thermometer at the local hardware store for about $3.  So a very reasonable instrument!  Just do not put it where it is getting direct sun or you will not have an accurate measurement.

This isn’t essential for predicating the weather but it’s easy for kids to understand and fun to track.

→ Record the temperature on you data sheet

Predicting the weather

Collect weather data for a few days on our Weather Watch data sheet.  Now it is time to see if you can predict the weather for tomorrow!

Use the What Weather chart and compare your data.

K-2

You can mark directly on the sheet or just discuss where your measurements fall.

what weather example

On this sheet, we’ve marked in red our weather measurements.  The pink side is better weather and the blue side is stormy weather.

  • What kind of weather is coming in this example?
  • What do you predict your weather will be?

Now you can use it to create your own Weather Show!  Look at the Weather Show activity for some easy printables and directions.

3-5

You can do the same as the K-2 section but also add in the science of WHY those measurements are bringing the weather they do.  See “The Science” section for explanations and graphics about weather fronts.

Weather prediction is VERY complex. These are just general weather trends and won’t always be accurate.

There so much extra on the PDF!

Our lesson plan PDF is just chock full of good stuff that is too much to put here.  Grab the full lesson plan, vocabulary, science section, cloud description, and worksheets.


This activity is part of Rain, Wind, & Seasons Oh My! [Unit 8].  Jump over to the unit main page to see all lessons and activities.

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