Lesson 4: An Extreme Research Report
Lesson Introduction: Older students can focus on researching
the causes and effects of extreme weather.
Grade Level: 68
Ten class sessions
- Investigate various types of extreme weather
- Manipulate virtual temperatures and humidity to create specific
- Use reading strategies to gather information
- Organize information on a graphic organizer
- Use proper writing conventions to complete an informative research
- Share what they have learned with the class through an oral
- Computer with printer
- Organizational Graphic Organizer (PDF)
- Research Paper Assessment Rubric
Review the Be a Weather Detective and Weather Maker areas of Investigate Weather Causes.
- Divide your class into thirds. Assign one group to Case 1,
another to Case 2, and the remaining group to Case 3. Tell students
their goal is to thoroughly investigate the facts provided for
each case in order to determine what caused their particular climate
conditions. Let students know their job will be to report their
findings to the rest of the class.
- Have students visit the Investigate: Explore Climate Conditions
site, so they can find their case and begin gathering facts to
solve their case.
- After their case is solved, have students summarize in writing
their conclusions for the mysterious weather conditions.
- Have students share their findings with the class.
- Review and discuss some of the extreme weather conditions
students encountered as Weather Detectives. Have the class share
other types of extreme weather that they've experienced or read
about; list these on a board or chart paper. (Save this list for
- Inform students they will be creating their own extreme weather
along with calm non-extreme weather. In pairs, have students visit
the Weather Maker section of Weather Watch.
- Allow students to explore creating different weather conditions,
directing them to observe the effects of certain changes. Students
should pay particular attention to air pressure, temperature,
wind, and humidity.
- After students are familiar with how the machine works, ask
them to manipulate the Weather Maker to create specific conditions
such as a blizzard, a warm calm sunny day, or melting snow.
- Revisit the list of extreme weather conditions students generated.
Tell the class they will soon be choosing their own extreme weather
conditions to research and report in.
- Review the Weather Facts (PDF) as a class. Discuss how each
term can be related to an extreme weather condition. As a class,
write a simplified and clear definition for each word. Have students
record these meanings in their notebooks.
- Have students read through the recommended research topics
in the Weather Watch Research Starter. Remind students to visit
as many of the links as possible in order to generate a comprehensive
list of possible topics. Advise students to star one or two topics
that that they would be interested in learning more about.
- Come together as a class and have students share their research
topic ideas. Once all the ideas are on the board, have each student
pick one research topic.
- If possible, arrange for each student to have computer access
for at least one entire class period to do the necessary research.
Also direct students to resources available in the classroom or
- Once students have completed their research, they should outline
their research paper, focusing on causes and effects of their
extreme weather condition. Refer your class to the guidelines
for Writing Workshops: Writing a Research Paper beginning with
the "Draft" section. Once completed, students can publish
their papers online.
- Have students continue following the steps of Writing Workshop
as they edit, revise, and review.
Set aside time for students to share their reports with classmates
through oral presentations.
- What happens when masses of air collide?
- Hurricanes and typhoons
- Weather Forecasting
- Flying into the eye of a hurricane
- Thunderstorms and how they form
- The birth and life of a tornado
Assessment and Evaluation
- Were students able to navigate through the online activities
- Did students narrow possible topics to one appropriate for
- Were students able to meet teacher expectations on the Research
Paper Assessment Rubric?
- Did students clearly present their information in written form?
- Were students able to effectively communicate their findings
during their oral presentation?
There are many possible ways that students can present their research
findings. Students can:
- Use poster board or tri-fold display board to present information
with graphic aids
- Create a PowerPoint presentation to share what they have learned
- Videotape their presentation to show during class