Weather Unit for Teaching Children

Ready to use weather unit. Learn about what determines the weather, weather around the world, cloud classification, and weather phenomena. Students learn to graph and record weather, and engage in creative problem solving. Free with the optional add on of paid printables.

Teaching children about weather

Free Weather Unit for Children

My mom loves tracking weather, so I grew up with an inherited curiosity. But learning about weather offers an incredible opportunity for developing a range of academic skills, from math to science to literacy to engineering!

Today I’m sharing a weather unit I put together a few years ago as a printable set. You can still buy the printables for a ready made lesson, but you’ll have all the information in this post. You might also enjoy these free weather tracking printables.

Welcome to Mommyhood also has a lovely Montessori Inspired water cycle and weather unit.

What Determines the Weather?

Why is it that some places are hot and sunny while others are cold and rainy? Why does it snow in some parts of the world and not others?

There are all sorts of things that impact the weather, but here are some of the most common ones:

  • Temperature – how hot or cold a place is.
  • Air pressure – the weight of air pressing down on earth. Low pressure can lead to more clouds, rain, and also tropical storms and cyclones. High pressure regions often experience big difference in day and night and also seasonal temperatures since there are no clouds to block the sun or to trap the heat close to the earth at night.
  • Wind – air moving along the surface of the earth.
  • Sun – the heat from the sun plays a huge role in our weather here on earth.
  • Humidity – how much water vapor is in the air. You generally find higher precipitation levels in more humid areas. Humidity can also make high temperatures feel hotter and low temperatures colder than in dry climates.
  • Precipitation – water falling from clouds, including rain, hail, snow, and sleet.
  • Topography – the shape of the land on earth. Valleys can trap heat; and mountains can block wind (although it can be windy up high on a mountain!)

Think About Your Weather and Your Local Geography

Think about the part of the world where you live. When you look around your home and examine where you live on a map are there ways you can see your location and surroundings impacting the weather?

Experiment: Track the Weather Around the World

Let’s take a look at weather around the world!

Spin a globe and drop your finger on a space, then look up the weather there. Or, use our map – close your eyes and see where that finger lands! Hint: use Google maps to help you find the name of a specific location to look up on a website such as weather.com

As you enter your results, think about how each location’s spot on the globe might influence the weather you are seeing.

Record Your Weather

Observing the weather is one of the best ways to learn about it! Use this table to record your weather over time. Record the high and low temperatures for each location (be sure to either use Fahrenheit or Celsius for all of them – don’t mix and match! Add details – is it cloudy? Sunny? Snowing? Raining? How does your weather change over time?

Graph Your Weather

Now that you’ve recorded your weather, let’s put it on a graph! Use one color to graph the high temperatures, and another color to graph the lows. How is your weather changing over time?

Record World Weather

Observing the weather is one of the best ways to learn about it! Use this table to record the weather around the world. Record the high and low temperatures for each location (be sure to either use Fahrenheit or Celsius for all of them – don’t mix and match! Add details – is it cloudy? Sunny? Snowing? Raining?

Plan a Place with Perfect Weather

Everyone’s definition of “perfect weather” is a little bit different. If you were creating a world and wanted it to have perfect weather. Think about how hot or cool your want your perfect weather place to be, whether it should snow, how windy (or not) you want it to be, and more.

Think about the temperatures and other details you recorded around the world. Where in the world would you be most likely to find your magical perfect weather place? How might the place you really live need to look different to create this perfect weather? Does this place need mountains? Ocean? Desert?

Cloud Classification

Go outside on a day that is partly cloudy. Look up into the sky. What kinds of clouds do you see? How did you decide which type of clouds you were seeing? The Weather Service has a great description of different kinds of clouds. Wonder-Filled Days has a fun post on how to use a cloud viewer to learn about different types of clouds.

Cloud Art

Finding animals and other objects in the clouds is a favorite relaxing summer pastime! What kinds of clouds do you think make the best cloud art? Can you make some cloud animals?

Weather Phenomena

We all understand the feeling of rain on our faces, but sometimes the weather likes to show its wild side! Here are a few of the most common weather phenomena.

Lightning

Storms are created by cumulonimbus clouds that grow up into the air instead of spreading across the sky always include lightning and thunder. Very hot electricity sparks are produced during these storms. We see these sparks as lightning bolts in the sky. Thunder is the sound of the air expanding in response to the heat of the lightning.

Tornadoes

Sometimes a very severe thunderstorm drops down funnel clouds with spinning columns of air that become tornadoes when they reach the ground. Tornadoes can be 300 to 2,000 feet wide, and they can travel from 20 to 45 miles per hour. The usually only last a few minutes, but their super fast winds (up to 300 miles per hour) can lift houses into the air and pull trees out of the ground.

Hurricanes, Typhoons, and Cyclones

The words hurricane, typhoon, and cyclone are all used to describe the same phenomenon: very strong storms with swirling winds of up to 150 miles per hour. Hurricanes are very large storms – they are usually about 300 miles wide, making them 1,000-5,000 larger than tornadoes.

Invent a Solution

Both tornadoes and hurricanes regularly destroy cities, towns, and villages around the world. Benjamin Franklin invented lightning rods in 1749 to prevent lightning from striking buildings. What could you invent to prevent hurricanes and tornadoes from creating so much destruction?

Books About Weather

Keep learning about weather using books! Here are some titles that we recommend:

Some links on this site are affiliate links and I may earn a small commission at no cost to you. Click on the images and blue text to be taken to links. Thank you! Learn more.

On the Same Day in March is written by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Frane Lessac. This book illustrates some ways weather could look on a single day. It’s a wonderful companion to the weather around the world activity in this packet.

National Geographic Kids Everything Weather by Kathy Furgang features weather facts, photos, and fun.

The Everything KIDS’ Weather Book by Joe Snedeker features puzzles, games, and facts about all sorts of weather, ranging from snowstorms to tornadoes.

Christiane Dorion’s How the Weather Works offers a hands-on guide to earth’s changing climate. Beverly Young’s illustrations include pop-ups, pull-tabs, and booklets for an interactive learning experience.

DK Publishing offers vivid images and explanations in Eyewitness Explorer: Weather.

Joanna Cole’s The Magic School Bus Inside a Hurricane features fun facts and detailed illustrations by Bruce Degen.

The Kids’ Book of Weather Forecasting by Mark Breen is full of experiments, observations, and activities children can use to learn how weather forecasting works.

free-weather-unit

More Hands On Learning Activities for Kids

Today’s post is Day 2 in a 10 day series. Click on the image below to find more hands on learning activities for kids!

hands-on learning activities for kids

Do you know of any weather related resources that I should add to this post? Please share below!

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MaryAnne lives in Silicon Valley with her Stanford professor husband Mike and their four children. She writes about parenting through education, creativity, and play. Mama Smiles - Joyful Parenting is a space to share crafts, hands on learning activities, and family outings that enrich lives and bring families together.

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