6 of the Best Creative Weather Lesson Plans for Your Classroom
- May 25, 2018
Weather is a part of everyday life for students. That’s why weather lesson plans are a great way to engage students of all ages in STEM. While STEM concepts aren’t obvious in everyday life to most students, most understand – or at least care about – the weather.
The weather affects little things such as choice of clothing or activities, but it also affects big things. For example, hurricanes and snowstorms can cancel school, create damage, and even be dangerous to students and their families. And behind all of these real-world connections for students there is a strong presence of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics that goes into forecasting, preparing for, and understanding the weather.
Weather Lesson Plan Contest
Recently, we held a contest celebrating Teachers Appreciation Week and invited teachers from around the country to submit their best weather lesson plans. We’re excited to share with you the winning lesson plan as well as five other honorable mentions. Our meteorologists selected these lesson plans as the most creative and useful ones for teachers to promote STEM learning.
We hope you utilize this array of weather lesson plans in your classroom and encourage you to come up with your own weather lesson plans that promote STEM learning. Please download the printable sheet that includes all the six lesson plans so you can use them in your classroom.
The Top 6 Weather Lesson Plans
1. Weather and the Sun’s Effects on the Earth’s Surface
Teacher: Ruth Palmer
Our first place submission from Kindergarten teacher, Ruth Palmer, is a science and engineering lesson plan that focuses on understanding the relationship between the Sun and the Earth. Students work in groups and are given a simple and relatable problem: What can you build to keep your chocolate bars from melting in the sun? For this weather lesson plan, students are going to craft. Therefore, you’ll need the following materials:
- Craft sticks
- Coffee filters
- Index cards
- Aluminum foil
- Paper bags
- Pipe Cleaners
Once students finish their engineering designs, take them outside and test them out (with real chocolate, of course!) This is a great group learning activity that keeps students’ interests with both the weather and chocolate bars.
2. Introduction to Modeling: Flood Risk in New Orleans
Teacher: Amy Mallozzi
This lesson plan is a great way to have students predict the impact of real-life rainfall events in New Orleans by collecting data remotely and creating a model. Amy’s high schoolers start off this lesson the night before by measuring the height of their house off of the ground. Then, students research news articles about the New Orleans pump system, past rainfall events, and upcoming storms and prepare to solve the following problem:
With 100% pump failure, which neighborhoods would flood in an extreme rain storm?
Students investigate in groups and identify assumptions that must be accounted for in future models. We love this lesson plan because it is a great example of a real-world problem that require professionals to understand and use STEM concepts. What a great high school weather lesson plan!
3. Weather Journal
Teacher: Hannah Christenson
The Weather Journal project is a great way to teach students about data collection and visualization. The journal consists of pages for weather observation including temperature, wind direction, wind speed, sky, and precipitation. There are also information pages that describe different weather tools and a two-page section to graph temperature change throughout the observation day.
Hannah Christenson’s weather lesson plan involves students going outside throughout the school year to complete their observations and then compare the weather using their graph. We love the way this weather journal combines important STEM concepts and everyday topics, like clothing choice. We highly recommend giving this weather lesson plan a chance!
4. Exploring Climate Change Using the Eyes in the Sky
Teacher: Suzanne Banas
The next lesson plan from our contest is this one from Suzanne Banas. This lesson plan instructs students to use NEO (NASA Earth Observations) satellite images and NIH ImageJ to animate the images. This activity helps eighth grade students explore the various aspects of climate change and then report on the different areas of climate change with a synthesis of the observed information. The lesson plan concludes with students comparing their findings to research and developing an action plan.
We love this lesson plan because it really focuses on the problem-solving and cross-cutting concepts sections of the Next Generation Science Standards. This weather lesson plan is extremely detailed and therefore very easy for you to replicate in your classroom.
5. Meteorologist for a Day
Teacher: Michael Reed
It’s impossible to be a meteorologist for only a day, but our team loved this lesson plan because it fosters a positive relationship towards their profession. In this activity, students become meteorologists for a day and gather weather data for any city in the world. Once they have the data, it’s time to complete the other half of being a meteorologist which is presenting! Students love presenting a live weather report and learning about a new area of the world.
A lot times when we talk to schools that use our WeatherSTEM software, we hear from students who are surprised they can combine their unique talents with the weather. This is one of those projects that really applies to students who are very data-focused and students who are more outgoing and love public speaking.
6. Analysis of Radiosonde Data (Weather Balloon)
Teacher: Michael Verdon
The last lesson plan on our list is a very exciting one that focuses on weather balloons. Weather balloons are important instruments that help meteorologists and other climate scientists gather data from the upper atmosphere. For this weather lesson plan, you’ll have to access local weather balloon data. Your students should use this data to answer a variety of questions that combine different STEM concepts. You can ask questions about temperature, humidity, clouds, and more! This lesson plan is perfect for teaching students how to analyze data and cut through the noise to come to actionable conclusions.
We Want to Hear from You!
Which lesson plan is your favorite from our list? Let us know in the comments below and feel free to post your own lesson plan ideas as well. The best part about this contest has been all the enthusiastic entries from teachers really pushing the boundaries of education. We commend all teachers for their hard work both in and outside of the classroom. Thank you for nurturing tomorrow’s leaders and keeping up with the Next Generation Science Standards.