Lesson 3: Forecast the Weather
Lesson Introduction: Students analyze different weather
conditions before creating their very own first-person report
from the eye of a storm.
Grade Level: 38
Nine class sessions
- Draw conclusions about the effects of weather
- Compare and contrast different weather forecasts
- Use maps to analyze different weather conditions
- Complete and record an online weather script
- Write a first-person report from the center of a storm
- Props students have brought from home
- Video camera(s) and VCR
Familiarize yourself with the Analyze:
Forecast the Weather section of Weather Watch to help students
navigate the site.
- Assess students' prior knowledge by discussing television
weather forecasts. Questions or prompts you may want to use include:
What does a TV weather reporter do?
Where does weather information come from?
How is a news story about the weather different from a weather
Is reporting the weather a science?
What types of weather cause weather alerts to be issued?
- Either show a video of a weather forecast, or have students
come to this session prepared to discuss report they had previously
- Discuss the information the reporter focused on (air temperature,
wind speed, humidity, etc.).
- Tell students they will now have the opportunity to try their
hand at being a weather reporter. First have them choose an area to
report on: hurricanes, tornadoes, winter storms, or droughts.
- Provide time for students to use the Weather Watch resources
to research the weather conditions they will be forecasting.
- Direct students back to Analyze:
Forecast the Weather where they should select the topic
they will be analyzing, study the maps provided, answer the
questions and generate a script.
- Older students can work in small groups to videotape each other's
forecasts. With younger students, you may want to involve parent
volunteers to help students record their work.
- Have students share their tapes with the class over the next
- Before class begins write a list of different types of extreme
weather and natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, and earthquakes
on the board.
- Explain to students that while they were fortunate to do their
forecasts from nice dry and warm "studios," many reporters
actually conduct their forecasts from the middle of the action
outdoors. Discuss why reporters might be outside. What are the
advantages of these reports? What are the downsides?
- Inform students that they are now going to be working with
a small group to give a live report from the center of one of
the storms just like the pros. Point to the list of extreme
weather conditions you have written on the board.
- Assign students to groups of three. One person will act as
a news anchor in the studio, the second will be reporting from
the center of a storm, and the third will be a cameraman. All
three will collaborate writing their script. Have students select
their roles before they start working.
- Using the computers, allow students to visit the extreme weather
site appropriate for the type of weather they will be reporting
about. Referring to the in-depth areas and first-person accounts,
especially, have student take notes about conditions they would
encounter if they were standing in the middle of that weather
- Discuss the components that should go into an eyewitness
account of weather stories. If necessary, prompt students on the
importance of including sensory information such as what they
see, feel, or hear.
- Have students draft, revise, and complete their weather report.
Before they begin writing, however, clearly define the roles of
each person in the group. With older students you might discuss
the fact that one newsperson, usually a veteran, is safe and warm
in the newsroom while another, often a less experienced reporter,
is in the center of severe conditions.
- News Anchor: The person in the studio introduces the
story by telling the viewers about the Storm of the Century. This
portion of the script should include background information and
an introduction of the reporter on the scene.
- Reporter on the Scene: This person is trying to give
a serious report on the dangerous conditions while they are in
the center of the storm. Obstacles this reporter may face include
being blown around by gale force winds, the ground shaking during
an earthquake, or snow piling up in front of him during a blizzard.
- Camera Person: This person will be responsible for taping
both the news anchor and the reporter.
- Let students rehearse their scripts and gather props (from
school or brought in from home) for special effects. Props might
include microphones, umbrellas, winter wear, a fan for wind, Styrofoam
peanuts for snow, or a hard hat for an earthquake.
- During rehearsals, advise students how someone might react
to different weather conditions (e.g., how he might stand in a
hurricane or what she might do during blinding snowfalls).
- Haves students videotape their weather reports in small groups.
- Finally, students will share their videotaped presentations
with the class.
Assessment and Evaluation
- Were students able to analyze the maps of different weather
conditions to create a weather forecast?
- Were the students able to effectively navigate the site in order
to complete their online weather forecast?
- Was the extreme outdoor weather report written in first person?
- Did students incorporate appropriate weather conditions in
their first-person report?
- Did the students in the small groups work well together? Was
the work shared equally?
- What else could have been done to make this a more successful
experience for the students?
- Students can work individually to create their own scripts
and videotape a report at home with the help of family members
- Invite a local television meteorologist to visit your school
to speak about how the science of weather forecasting is meshed
with the logistics of television.