Grade: elementary

Teachers.Net Lesson Plans

#21. Weather Thematic Unit

English/Grammar/Reading, level: elementary
Posted by Kyle Yamnitz (
The Lesson Plans Page
University of Missouri, USA
Materials Required: Vary
Activity Time: Varies
Concepts Taught: Numerous

Grade Level: Fourth or Fifth

Topic: Weather

Goals: The goals for this thematic unit are for the students
to gain an understanding of the causes and controls of
weather, as well as an understanding of the differences
in climate between different nations. Additional goals
are to develop listening skills, creative problem
solving skills, and speaking skills.

Lesson Plan: Listening 1(Other concepts include Problem Solving and Reasoning)

Title: The Sounds of Weather

Objective: This lesson is intended to promote critical listening. Following the lesson,
students will have learned creative problem solving skills. In addition, students
will become familiar with the various audible effects of weather, that is, the sounds
of precipitation and sounds related to weather.

Tape Recorder (with microphone)
Blank Tapes
Previously Recorded Sounds of Weather. These may be self made, or store
bought (such as the "Nature Quest" Compact Disks and Cassettes available at
Target). Some examples are:
Rain falling on a rooftop, sidewalk, and/or pond
Wind of varying strengths
Hail falling
Water running through gutters or drains
Cars driving through puddles
Snow grinding under car tires
Construction work, etc. that would occur on a warm sunny day
Waves from a lake crashing against the rocks
Blowing snow
Walking through dry leaves

1. To begin with, have the various sounds recorded before beginning the project.
2. Ask students to make a list of all the different sounds that can be heard from
3. Have students listen to the recordings and look for clues in the sounds as to
what the weather may be like.
4. Students should number their papers for each of the different sounds with a
large amount of space between each. They may illustrate what they think the
scene looks like and/or describe it in words. In their writings, students need to
explain their reasoning.
5. After the children are given time to record their responses, ask for volunteers to
share their answers and explanations.
6. Evaluation can be partially based upon the explanation of their reasoning as to
what the weather scene may be.

Lesson Plan: Listening 2 (Another concept is Working Together in a Group)

Title: The Causes of Weather

Objective: Students will be able to demonstrate the basic causes of weather patterns as
well as what causes the weather to change.


Colgren, John. (1993). Exploring Weather. Niles, IL: United.


1. After a discussion of the causes of weather, show the video Exploring Weather,
which will effectively illustrate the sights and sounds of normal and extreme
weather, both locally and worldwide.

2. Following the video, have students meet in groups to discuss the reasons for
our own weather and its variations. They should include in their discussion
what controls on weather that were presented in the video have an effect where
we live.
3. Evaluation may not be needed for this lesson. If anything, look at how well
groups are working together.

Lesson Plan: Speaking (Also includes Research and Group Cohesion)

Title: Weather Reporters

Objective: The students will learn how to predict the weather, how information on the
weather is gathered, what is involved in a typical television weather report, and
gain experience in speaking in front of a group or to a video camera. In addition,
the students will be able to comprehend the local weather reports on television.
Also, students will learn the limitations of and difficulty in predicting the weather.

Recorded Television News Broadcast (weather portion)
Video Camera (if money and time permits)
Weather Reporter (if available)

1. After watching a typical television weather report students will have a good
idea of what is involved in a weather report. This will assist in the construction
of their own weather report.
2. In class the basic methods of predicting weather will be presented. If one is
available, a weather reporter could come as a guest speaker to explain how
weather data is gathered as well as to describe the job of reporting weather and
what is involved. He or she may give some tips on how to arrange their own
weather reports.
3. Groups of two, three, or four should work together to prepare their own
weather broadcast. Most data should come from newspapers, the previous
evenings news, and/or from internet weather providers. A great deal of
weather information exists on the World Wide Web.
4. Depending on class size and available time, two or three groups can present
their report each day, so that weather reports for several different days will be

Lesson Plan: Writing 1 (Also includes Creative Thinking)

Title: If There Were No...

Objective: The writing of this story will cause the students to think about what weather
would be like without certain normal controls on the climate. This will help them
to understand how important these controls are in worldwide weather patterns.

Topics, such as:
If there were no sun, weather would change by... (change in temperature, no
winds, no evaporation, etc.)
If there were no winds, weather would change by... (no precipitation over land,
If water did not freeze, weather would change by... (no glaciers, elevated sea
level, etc.)
If there were no ozone layer, weather would change by... (global warming,
melting of glaciers, etc.)
If warm air did not rise, weather would change by... (no condensation so no
precipitation, no winds, etc.)
If water did not evaporate, weather would change by... (no clouds, no
precipitation, etc.)
If there were no volcanoes, weather would change by... (no water anywhere,
few gasses in the atmosphere, etc.)
Invent your own control on weather

1. Before discussing the paper, students should have an idea of what controls the
weather and how each control effects the weather. Direct instruction or the
movie for the listening lesson plan can serve the purpose of teaching about the
controls of weather.
2. A brief paper should be assigned with the option for students to choose
between the various topics given previously.

Evaluation after Writing 1 Lesson Plan:


Yes No

____ ____ Student chooses a topic he or she understands and can competently write

____ ____ Writing expresses thorough consideration of what the climatic situations
might be if weather controls were different.

____ ____ Understanding of the weather control itself is demonstrated, that is, the
student understands what effect the control does have on the climate.

____ ____ Descriptions of what weather might be like are accurate.

____ ____ Creativity is shown in the students writing.

Lesson Plan: Writing 2 (A related concept is Reasoning)

Title: Evaporation (Adapted from Kohls Science Arts (1993).)

Objective: Students will learn how evaporation occurs through an artistic activity. They
will also learn how the amount of heat available controls the rate of evaporation.
Students will write up a lab report describing how evaporation occurs.

Measuring Cups
Torn Newspaper
Spray Vegetable Oil
Candy Molds
Torn Colored Tissue Paper

1. Mix 4 cups of water with one fourth cup torn newspaper in a blender.
2. Add torn tissue paper for color, if desired.
3. Strain off as much water as possible.
4. Spray oil on the candy molds.
5. Press the paper in the molds evenly.
6. Use a sponge to remove excess water from the paper.
7. Set some of the molds outside in direct sunlight, some in the shade, some inside
in a windowsill, and some in a darker area inside.
8. Monitor the drying times of the paper in various places.
9. Allow to dry, then remove the dried paper from the molds.
10. After experiment, have students write up a lab report on what happened to the
paper and what caused the paper to dry faster in some places than in others.
11. Evaluation may include consideration of how logical students reasoning is,
and how accurate their writings are.

Lesson Plan: Reading

Title: Independent Learning of Important Aspects of Weather

Objective: Students will choose their own books to help them construct their own
knowledge of the way that weather works. They will learn various aspects of
weather and share them with the class, thus learning from each other. Students
will also learn helpful notetaking skills.

Large Number of Books From Resource List

1. Students will be allowed to choose an informational book on weather from the
resources list at the end of this thematic unit. If they have or find other books
on weather, they may be used as well.
2. Children should choose books based on their interests and their own reading
3. During the course of their reading, students should take notes on important or
interesting facts or myths that they come across.
4. After the students are finished with their readings, they will take turns sharing
some of their most important and interesting information with the rest of the
5. Other students should take notes on each others information that was
6. Evaluation may include whether or not the information that students shared was
significant and relevant to the topic. Also, check to see that students chose an
appropriate book for the topic and thier reading level.

Lesson Plan: Multicultural (Additional concept is Research)

Title: The Weather Here Is...

Objective: Students will gain an insight into the variations in climate around the world and
will learn what other people do to cope with extreme temperatures and weather

Computers With Internet Access (if available)
Computers With Programs Such as World Book Information Finder, World Atlas,
etc. (if available)

1. Each student should begin by picking a different country around the world,
with all continents being represented.
2. Students should have a large amount of time to do research on the country they
chose using internet resource, World Book Information Finder, computer and
library atlases, and any other available resources. They should find out the
typical climates of these regions and how the inhabitants deal with the weather.
3. After the students have done sufficient research, they will assume that they are
on vacation in the country that they chose. After being gone so long, they miss
mom and dad so much and decide to write to them and let them know what the
weather is like. This letter should include descriptions of the current weather as
well as how the climate varies over the different seasons. They should discuss
in depth how everyone there deals with the weather and give their own ideas as
well for staying warm, cool, dry, or whatever.

Evaluation after Multicultural Lesson Plan:

Student Self-Evaluation

1. The country I went to was ___________________________________________.

2. I chose this country because ___________________________________________

3. The most important thing I learned about this countrys climate was ___________

4. The most interesting aspect of this countrys weather is _____________________

5. The people of this country cope with their weather conditions by ______________

6. I (would) (would not) want to live in this country because ____________________

7. I found that the climate of this region affects the culture by ___________________




Barrett, Judi. (1978). Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. NY: MacMillan Publishing
A grandfather tells a story about a town where it rained food.

Pearson, S. (1988). My Favorite Time of Year. NY: HarperCollins Publishers.
A young girl goes through a typical year and says how she likes each season the
best, but in the end says that she likes them all the best.

Skofield, J. (1984). All Wet! All Wet! NY: Harper & Row, Publishers.
Strong attention to detail in this description of a rainy summer day from the point
of view of a young boy.

Szilagyi, M. (1985). Thunderstorm. NY: Bradberry Press.
A young girl is comforted by her mother in a thunderstorm and in turn comforts
her dog. Contains a good amount of information about weather.

Tresselt, A. (1988). White Snow, Bright Snow. NY: Mulberry Books.
As it begins to look like snow is coming, everyone prepares for a winter blizzard,
with a description of the transition of the seasons.

Wisniewski, D. (1991). Rain Player. NY: Clarion Books.
A boy named Pic challenges the rain god to a game in order to bring rain to his
village. Based on an ancient Mayan tale.

Informational Books

Barr, J. (1970). What Will the Weather Be? Chicago: Whitman.
Describes how weathermen go about finding out the weather forecast by using
certain weather tools.

Harvey, F. (1969). Why Does it Rain? NY: Harvey House.
This book briefly explains the causes of various types of precipitation and their

Knapp, B. (1990). Storm. Austin, TX: Steck-Vaughn.
Discusses how storms form, the types of storms, and their benefits and effects.

Simon, S. (1989). Storms. NY: Morrow Junior Books.
This book describes the atmospheric conditions which create thunderstorms and
other weather occurrences.


Fisher, A. (1963). I Like Weather. NY: Crowell.
In a long poem, a young boy tells what he and animals like about the weather and
how the seasons affect them.

Hopkins, L. (1994). Weather: Poems. NY: HarperCollins.
This is a collection of poems describing various weather conditions by various

Prelutsky, J. (1983). The Random House Book of Poetry for Children. NY: Random
This is a great collection of poems with a surprisingly large number of poems that
deal with weather.

Yolen, J. (1993). Weather Report: Poems. NY: Saint Martins Press.
Contains a collection of poems by various authors about different aspects of
weather and the seasons.

Additional Books:


Dyer, N. (1992). The Snow Speaks. Canada: Little, Brown & Company.

Keats, E. (1962). The Snowy Day. NY: The Viking Press.

Mirriam, S. (1960). The Sun, the Wind, the Sea, and the Rain. NY: Abelard-Schuman.

Polacco, P. (1990). Thunder Cake. NY: Scholastic, Inc.

Rockwell, A. (1987). The First Snowfall. NY: MacMillan Publishing Company.

Scheer, J. (1964). Rain Makes Applesauce. NY: Holiday House.

Stanley, S. (1993). The Rains Are Coming. NY: Green Willow Books.

Wilder, L. (1994). Winter Days in the Big Woods. NY: HarperCollins.

Informational Books

Branley, F. (1986). Snow is Falling. NY: Thomas Y. Crowell Junior Books.

Cooper, J. (1992). Wind. Vero Beach, FL: The Rourke Corp., Inc.

Gibbons, G. (1987). Weather Forecasting. NY: Four Winds Press.

Knapp, B. (1991). Science in Our World. Danbury, CT: Grolier.

Merk, A. (1994). Clouds. Vero Beach, FL: The Rourke Corp., Inc.

Palmer, J. (1993). Snow and Ice. Austin, TX: Raintree Steck-Vaughn, Publishers.

Palmer, J. (1993). Sunshine. Austin, TX: Raintree Steck-Vaughn, Publishers.

Palmer, J. (1993). Wind. Austin, TX: Raintree Steck-Vaughn, Publishers.

Taylor, B. (1993). Weather and Climate. NY: Kingfisher Books.


Adoff, A. (1976). Tornado! NY: Delacorte Press.

Anholt, C. (1995). Sun Snow Stars Sky. NY: Viking.

Brewton, J. (1949). Bridled With Rainbows. NY: The MacMillan Company.

Janeczko, P. (1987). This Delicious Day. NY: Orchard Books.

Yolen, J. (1993). Raining Cats and Dogs. NY: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.


Apollo Educational Video. (1988). Weather Volume I. Oklahoma City, OK: Concord
This video shows how the forces of nature interact to create our weather. Covers
all essential components of weather and precipitation.

Colgren, J. (1993). Exploring Weather. Niles, IL: United.
This video discusses the weather, the causes of weather patterns, and changes in
the weather, including how peoples lives are affected by the weather.

Other Resources:

Covent Garden Books. (1995). The Weather Set. NY: Covent Garden Books.
(Collection of weather experiments and equipment for conducting the experiments)

Educational Insights, (1989). Sky Science. Educational Insights.
(Informational cards with experiments)

Internet resources for very up-to-date weather information.

Local news weather person as a guest speaker.

Newspapers for current weather information

Tiger Electronics. (1991). Ecology Kit: Deluxe Ecology Test Kit. Vernon Hills, IL:
Tiger Electronics, Inc.
(Collection of quality experiments, a large portion of which deal with weather, and
equipment for conducting the experiments)

Various weather measurement tools for immediate weather conditions such as
thermometer, barometer, hygrometer, wet-bulb thermometer, etc.



Farndon, J. (1992). Weather. NY: Dorling Kindersley, Inc.

Kohl, M. (1993). Science Arts: Discovering Science Through Art Experiences.
Bellingham, WA: Bright Ring Publishing.

Merk, A. (1994). The Weather and Us. Vero Beach, FL: The Rourke Corp., Inc.

Milliken, L. (1991). Classroom Kickoff. Dana Point, CA: Edupress.

VanCleave, J. (1991). Earth Science For Every Kid. NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Internet Resources:

Sheppard, J. (199?). Understanding Weather. Paragon, IN: Big Sky Telegraph.

Torgerson, J. (1994). Weather Forecasting. Big Sky Telegraph. (CECsci.184)


Weather Here and There Homepage:


Colgren, J. (1993). Exploring Weather. Niles, IL: United.