Lesson 2: Operation Weather Station
Lesson Introduction: Students work in cooperative groups
to create a working weather station that they use to collect data
from over a one-week period. During that time, students also collect
actual weather information from newspapers or online sources.
Students then compare the two sets of data and draw conclusions
about weather patterns.
Grade Level: 35
Seven class sessions
- Understand when exact measurements are preferred over estimates.
- Learn to use different instruments to report wind speed, wind direction, air pressure, snow/rainfall, and temperature
- Work cooperatively with classmates to create an operational
- Copies of the Weather
Data Sheet two copies per student sheets
- Daily weather reports (e.g., from daily newspaper or online
at sites such as www.weather.com,
www.noaa.com, or Web site
of local news)
- See the materials needed to build each weather
- Assess students' prior knowledge through discussion and
by asking questions such as:
What is weather?
Why is the sky blue?
How can meteorologists predict tomorrow's weather or that a snowstorm
is possible in three days?
- Discuss the difference between guessing or predicting and taking
an exact measurement. Ask students to think about instances when
you want an exact measurement instead of a prediction. For
example: If you were sick, would you want the doctor to guess
what your temperature was? Or if your parents are driving a car,
should they guess how fast they are going or use a tool to measure
their exact miles per hour?
- Ask students if they know of any tools that can be used for
measuring weather. These include an anemometer, barometer, thermometer,
rain gauge, and wind vane. Write the names of each of these on
the board or in a word bank as you discuss it so students may
refer to them later.
- Have students go to the Gather
Data section of Weather Watch to investigate the six different
weather forecasting tools.
- Explain to students they will be creating a weather station
with the forecasting tool, which they will use to learn about
the weather for the next several days. (Depending on current weather
conditions, the weather stations can include either a rain gauge
or a snow gauge.)
- Set up a supply station where students can easily pick up
all the materials they need to build their weather tools.
- Divide students into either five or ten groups. Each group
will be responsible for one of the tools needed for the weather
station (so you will be able to set up one or two complete stations).
- Give each group a copy of the directions to build an anemometer,
wind vane, barometer, thermometer, or rain or snow gauge.
- Allow approximately 30 minutes for students to build their
tool. After all of the tools are completed, have each group explain
what their tool does and how it works.
- Have students set up their weather stations in an area that
is far from walls, shrubs, and trees.
- Distribute two copies of the Weather
Data Sheet to each student. On the top of one have them
write, "Weather Station Data" and atop the other,
"Actual Weather Data."
- Next, have students visit the weather station and follow the directions
for experimenting with an anemometer,
wind vane, barometer,
or rain or snow
gauge. Have them record the data they collect on the "Weather
Station Data" sheet.
- Once students have come back inside, go over their findings
together. Ask students if they believe their results are accurate.
Discuss ways you might get a weather forecast that is accurate
(e.g., on television, on the radio, by calling a weather station,
- Using a reliable print or online weather source, find a current
weather report. Have students record this data on the "Actual
Weather Data" sheet. Compare and contrast any differences
between the real and actual data.
- Repeat steps 2-4 for the next four days.
- After five days of data collecting, have students look over
their results. Discuss how the weather pattern changed over the
week. What were the highest and lowest temperatures? Did temperature
remain consistent? How did temperature and wind speeds compare?
Does one affect the other? Who observed the most rain/snow? How
can location determine if an area gets rain or snow? What did
you observe about air pressure? When the pressure went up, what
happened to your other observations?
Assessment and Evaluation
- Were students able to follow the directions in order to build
their tool properly?
- Could students explain what each tool did?
- Did students perform the experiments accurately in order to
- Did students correctly record data on both charts?
- Were students able to see differences between real and estimated
- Could students make connections between certain weather conditions
and others such as temperature change and wind direction?
- Was there anything you could have done differently to make
this lesson more successful?
Have students record their daily readings in a line graph for
one or more areas of the forecast. Advise students to color code
their graph for easy reading. The student readings could be in
red while the professional readings could be in blue.