Abss science Unit 2: Earth Science- weather and Climate

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ABSS Science Unit 2: Earth Science- Weather and Climate
Introduction: Through investigations and teacher led activities, students will explore weather patterns locally and globally. They will collect and compare weather data to predict local weather.

Grade Level: Fifth Grade

Suggested Unit Pacing: 30-34

Conceptual Overview (information for parents)

During this unit students will know…

  • Daily and Seasonal Changes in Weather, Wind

  • Speed, Wind Direction, Precipitation,

  • Temperature, Air Pressure, Weather Patterns,

  • Weather Instruments, Data Collection, Weather

  • Observation and Measurement

  • Global air and water currents

Essential Understandings (information for students)

In this unit, there are 3 clarifying objectives being addressed.
E. 1.1, the students will learn that weather changes from day to day and is described and predicted using wind speed, wind direction, precipitation, temperature and air pressure. They will also understand that seasonal differences occur due to latitude and placement within the hemispheres.

E.1.2, the students will learn that they can collect and compare data to predict the weather using basic weather instruments such as the thermometer, barometer, anemometer, wind vane and rain gauge. Students can also use the basic cloud types (stratus, cumulus, cumulonimbus and cirrus) and the fronts associated with them to predict weather.

E.1.3, students will understand that local weather conditions are influenced by global factors such as air and water currents. Global factors in this unit include the jet stream, the Gulf Stream, the oscillation of water temperatures known as El Nino/La Nina, and hurricanes.
Possible misconceptions students may have…

It is more common for students to know that clouds are made up of tiny droplets of water than it is for them to know that they can be made of tiny droplets of water or tiny ice crystals.

Beware of art-related activities that use cotton balls to simulate clouds. This can lead to the misconception that clouds are made of a cotton-like substance.
When teaching about the water cycle, be careful not to overemphasize the terms evaporation, condensation, and precipitation at the expense of understanding what is actually happening to the water during these processes both in terms of its physical form and its location. Many students believe that the water evaporates to form a cloud and is still in the form of water vapor and that rainfall is the result of condensation.
Be aware of poor diagrams of the water cycle that often show water evaporating and rising to form a “white cloud” and then moving to a “dark cloud”. While the picture is intended to show changes in the same cloud before it rains, to a student it looks like two different clouds made up of seemingly different material- one made up of evaporated water and the other made of condensed water.
“Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears: Common Misconceptions About Polar Climate and Weather” http://beyondpenguins.ehe.osu.edu/issue/weather-and-climate-from-home-to-the-poles/common-misconceptions-about-polar-weather-and-climate

NC Essential Standards

Essential Standard

Understand weather patterns and phenomena, making connections to the weather in a particular place and time.

Clarifying Objectives

5.E.1.1 Compare daily and seasonal changes in weather conditions (including wind speed and direction, precipitation, and temperature) and patterns.

Clarifying Objectives

5.E.1.2 Predict upcoming weather events from weather data collected through observation and measurement.

Clarifying Objectives

5.E.1.3 Explain how global patterns such as the jet stream and water currents influence local weather in measurable terms such as temperature, wind direction, speed, and precipitation.

Scientific and Engineering Practices

The K-12 Scientific and Engineering Practices are based on those that scientists and engineers actually engage in as part of their work. Teachers of science should intentionally provide opportunities for students to immerse themselves in these practices and to explore why they are central to their respective fields of study.


Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)


Developing and using models


Planning and carrying out investigations


Analyzing and interpreting data


Using mathematics and computational thinking


Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)


Engaging in argument from evidence


Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

Learning Targets

These suggested learning targets were determined based on the intentions of the CCSS and/or NCES. Teachers will need to add the criteria for success in order to create outcome-based targets.


I can identify and use instruments that measure weather.

I can collect weather data and create graphs using current data.

I can interpret weather graphs based on weather data.

I can analyze the weather data for current trends and patterns.

I can determine the importance of temperature, air pressure, wind speed and precipitation.


I can understand what each weather instrument measures (thermometer, barometer, anemometer, wind vane and rain gauge).

I can use basic weather instruments (thermometer, barometer, anemometer, wind vane and rain gauge) to predict the weather.

I can create and utilize basic weather instruments (thermometer, barometer, anemometer, wind vane and rain gauge).

I can identify and classify different cloud formations.

I can infer the different type of weather that different weather fronts may bring.

I can identify the difference between warm and cold fronts.


I can define and explain the meaning of jet stream, gulf stream, oscillation, el Niño, La Niña and hurricanes.

I can analyze weather patterns in the Northern Hemisphere.

I understand that the jet stream moves from west to east and changes location (north to south) based on global conditions.

I can evaluate how the movement of the Gulf Stream moderates weather along the Eastern Seaboard.

I can evaluate how the oscillation of water temperatures known as la Niña/el Niño impacts the climate of North and South America.

I can distinguish between local weather patterns and weather in other hemispheres.

I can hypothesize where and when a hurricane will occur based on global weather patterns.

I can plot and track hurricane movement using a coordinate grid map.

Essential Terminology

air, air mass, air pressure, almanac, altitude, anemometer, atmosphere, barometer, barometric

pressure, Celsius, cirrus, cloud, cold front, condensation, cumulonimbus, cumulus, degree,

drought, elevation, equator, evaporation, Fahrenheit, flood, fog, forecast, freezing ,Gulf Stream, hail,

hemisphere, humidity, hurricane, hygrometer, Jet Stream, land breeze, latitude, longitude, meteorology,

meteorologist, mountain breeze, nimbus, overcast, precipitation, pressure, radar, rain gauge, rain

shadow, satellites, season, sea breeze, stratus, temperature, thermometer, transpiration, valley

breeze, vapor, warm front, water cycle, weather, weather vane, wind chill, wind vane

Literature Connections

Student Literature:

Weather Words and What They Mean by Gail Gibbons

Flash, Crash, Rumble, and Roll by Franklyn M. Branley

Night of the Twisters by Ivy Ruckman

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Martin

Flood: Wrestling with the Mississippi by Patricia Lauber

Tornadoes by Gail Gibbons

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett

Weather by Seymour Simon

Wild Weather by Seymour Simon

Tornadoes by Seymour Simon

Storms by Seymour Simon

The Cloud Book by Tomie de Paola

The Magic School Bus Kicks Up a Storm by Joanna Cole

Best Book of Weather by Simon Adams

Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan

It’s Snowing! It’s Snowing by Jack Prelutsky

Blizzard: The Storm That Changed America by Jim Murphy

Thundercake by Patricia Polacco

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse

A Drop of Water by Walter Wick

The Magic School Bus at the Water Works by Joanna Cole

Eye of the Storm: Chasing Storms with Warren Faidley by Stephen P. Kramer

Hurricanes by Gail Gibbons

El Nino: Stormy Weather for People and Wildlife by Caroline Arnold



Scholastic Study Jams (short videos and slide shows on weather topics).

Discovery Education

  • Weather Patterns - Multiple Resources

  • Weather Data – Multiple Resources

School Tube – Weather Gale Info Bits from NC Wise Owl (Weather)

Brain Pop

The Weather Channel

Science News for Kids

Beyond Weather and the Water Cycle

Weather Wiz Kids

NC Science Live Binder

It’s a Breeze: How Air Pressure Affects You

An explanation of air pressure and how it relates to weather is highlighted on this National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) kids page. The site offers experiments, discussion questions, a word search game, and interactive computer animations that explain the relationship between weather and air pressure.

Weather and Atmosphere

Cross Curricular Integration

Quick-Write Prompts

  1. People have favorite weather days. Some people like sunny days, while others enjoy rainy days. Think about your favorite weather day. Write an essay explaining why you like this kind of weather.

  2. Often, people plan for particular activities based on what the weather will be like. Write about how your activities change with different types of weather.

  3. Write a story telling about something fantastic that happens to you when you are stuck indoors on a snowy winter day.

  4. Use the interactive weather prompt generator to get a story starter: http://writingfix.com/right_brain/Who_What_When_Where_Wild_Weather1.htm

  5. Have you ever noticed that the weather can affect your appetite? On cold days, soup sounds tasty and comforting, while on hot days, nothing hits the spot like an ice cream cone or icy slush. Write about a time when you really enjoyed eating something as a result of the weather.


Pre-/Post-assessment and probes

*Construct formative assessment probes – see ‘how to’ on pages 85, 102, and 183 in Science Formative Assessment by Page Keeley.

Use formative probes: Uncovering Student ideas in Science, Volumes 1-4, by Page Keeley

(I)Volume 3 What Are Clouds made of? p. 155 (II) Volume 3 Rainfall p. 171 (III) Volume 4 Camping Trip p. 137

(IV) Volume 4 Global Warming p. 143

Formative Assessment Probes (articles, how-to, free-online) by Page Keeley, et al http://pal.lternet.edu/docs/outreach/educators/education_pedagogy_research/assessment_probes_uncovering_student_ideas.pdf

On-going/ Formative Assessment

See Discovery Education . Click on Builder Tools and select Quiz Builder


See Discovery Education Click on Builder Tools and select Quiz Builder

Considerations for the Learning Plan

Teachers determine the learning plan while reflecting on the range of abilities, styles, interests and needs of students. How will the work be personalized and differentiated in order to achieve the desired learning targets?

Create a class weather data chart/station to collect daily local weather data, including temperature, barometric pressure, cloud type & cover, rainfall. This can be a white board, chart paper, etc. (See examples in resources)
Discuss the science of meteorology and the job of a meteorologist. If you want to have a local meteorologist come in and speak to the students, this should be arranged as soon as possible. You can contact local news stations to do this.

Discuss weather vs. climate – make sure the students understand the difference between them.

Review Water Cycle/Steps of the Water Cycle:

Evaporation (humidity, hygrometer)

Condensation (dew, frost)

Precipitation (rain, snow, sleet, hail)




Cloud Cover

Build off of condensation from water cycle lessons to introduce cloud cover. Teach the weather associated with each cloud type.
Anemometer measures wind speed –create one for class. Observe different types of anemometers. Add record of daily wind speeds to chart.
Wind Direction

Wind Vanes measure wind direction. Observe different types of wind vanes. Wind is named by the direction from which it comes.


Thermometers measure how hot or how cold something is. Reading Celsius and Fahrenheit on a thermometer.

Air Pressure

High Pressure – weather associated with

Low Pressure – weather associated with

Barometer Measures Air Pressure

Air moves from areas of high pressure to low pressure. Creates wind.

Types of Winds

Land Breezes

Sea Breezes

Valley Breezes

Mountain Breezes

Read/Analyze/Create Weather Graphs

Based on Weather Data to find trends and patterns.

Begin to collect weather data from chosen cities across the United States and around the world to compare to local weather.
Air Mass Movement

Air masses are defined by temperature and moisture.

Continental – Land (hot,dry/cold,dry)

Maritime – Water (cool,moist/warm,moist)

Analyze weather patterns in the Northern Hemisphere.

Global Air Currents: Jet stream (moves west to east and changes location based on global conditions.)

Other important wind patterns to cover:

Prevailing Westerlies

Polar Easterlies

Trade Winds

Teacher Reference, Student Reference and Activity Books:

Scholastic Atlas of Weather by Scholastic

Air, Water and Weather: Stop Faking It! (NSTA Publication)

Answers to Science Questions from the Stop Faking It! Guy by William C. Robertson, PhD

The Kids Book of Weather Forecasting by Mark Green

Sandwich Bag Science by Scholastic Inc.

Air Pressure Bag pg. 39

Coffee Can Science by Scholastic Inc.

Coffee Can Barometer pg. 45

Dew Point Can pg. 47

Soda Bottle Science by Scholastic Inc.

Infiltration Bottle pg. 39

Transpiration Bottle pg. 55

Soda Bottle Thermometer pg. 18

Water Cycle in a Bottle pg. 31

Hot Air Balloon pg. 33

Rain Gauge pg. 37

Weather by Learning Resources Inc.

Science Magnifier (Grades 3‐5) by Carolina Biological Supply Company

Scholastic Inc. Weather Books Activities Linking Science with Math K‐4 by John Eichinger

Exploring Evaporation pg. 144

Differentiated Instruction for K‐8 Math and Science: Ideas, Activities and Lesson Plans by Mary Hamm

and Dennis Adams

Gases Everywhere pg. 124

Simple and Fun Science Simplified: Learning by Doing (Grades 3‐5 Book D) by Essential Learning Products

Snowflakes and Sleet pg. 37

Equalizing Air Pressure pg. 38

Which Balloon is Heavier? pg. 39

What’s the Weather? pg. 40

Nature’s Hygrometer pg. 40

Temperature Determines Movement pg. 45

Simple and Fun Science Simplified: Learning by Doing (Grades 4‐6 Book E) by Essential Learning Products

Weather and the Power of Wind pg. 70

Homemade Barometer pg. 75

Homemade Thermometer pg. 76

Francis Beaufort’s Scale pg. 77

Hard‐to‐Teach Science Concepts: A Framework to Support Learners, Grades 3‐5 by Susan Koba with

Carol T. Mitchell

Global Weather Patterns

Discovery Education

Weather Smart: Global Patterns, El Nino/La Nina

CBS News: The 20th Century: El Nino

Global Climate Zones Video Segment

Types of Climates Exploration

Weather Patterns Video Segment – Prevailing Westerlies
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - El Nino
Weather Wiz Kids – Winds
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - Jet Stream


Individualized assignments on Study Island, Castle Learning, and Discovery Education based on student need. Vocabulary games and flash cards.


Individualized assignments on Study Island, Castle Learning, and Discovery

Students research types of severe weather. Students prepare a presentation to share their findings (posters, PSAs, Prezis, songs, etc)

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