Sky Notebook

Seeds of Science Roots of Reading
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Informative Text
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.



The book, Sky Notebook, introduces students to the concept of collecting weather data to observe patterns. The book is written by a scientist who measures daily weather and records his observations in a notebook. The book allows students to examine temperature maps, precipitation maps, and daily data charts to look for patterns and changes in weather.


Intended Audience

Educational Level
  • Upper Elementary
Access Restrictions

Available for purchase - The right to view, keep, and/or download material upon payment of a one-time fee.

Performance Expectations

3-ESS2-1 Represent data in tables and graphical displays to describe typical weather conditions expected during a particular season.

Clarification Statement: Examples of data could include average temperature, precipitation, and wind direction.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment of graphical displays is limited to pictographs and bar graphs. Assessment does not include climate change.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
This book describes typical weather in a certain location in Colorado during the winter, but the weather maps can be used to analyze weather patterns across the US. The teacher could use this book as a model of how scientists collect and record data to describe typical weather conditions during different seasons and look for patterns in order to predict what kind of weather might happen next. Then, students could collect data for their area and record/analyze it in a similar fashion.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
To more fully address this practice, students could connect the weather data in this book with climate data, as noted above, or with weather data from other regions. Students could also use the data in the book to identify patterns and predict possible future weather patterns. It is important to distinguish between the short-term weather data in the book, which is collected over a one-week period, and long term climate data, which is typically averaged over a period of years. Students can find climate data about the area of Colorado that is highlighted in the book at a climate data website, such as this one: To compare weather data with average daily temperatures, more climate data can be found here: Students can then compare the weather patterns observed in the book with the climate patterns for western Colorado. The book also provides maps, which may be used to develop ideas about typical weather patterns in different areas of the United States. For example, students might observe that it is colder in the north than in the south, or that the northwest is rainier than the southwest. They can compare their map observations to climate data observations obtained elsewhere.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
The book describes how meteorologists measure weather and look for patterns to make predictions. There are suggestions for students to look for patterns such as, "Was it colder on clear days or cloudy days?"

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Students are encouraged to look for patterns in the data in the book, and collect their own data to look for patterns.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: Sky Notebook uses scientifically accurate and grade‐appropriate scientific information, phenomena, and representations to support students’ three‐dimensional learning. This book shows students how scientists observe, record, and analyze weather data—looking for patterns that can be used to predict future weather. Each section includes a photograph, a table of weather data, and a map, along with a focus question for students to answer, based on the data.

  • Instructional Supports: This book includes a variety of visual supports, but does not include explicit opportunities for differentiation. By asking the students to collect local data in their notebook, they are making a connection to the local neighborhood and community. The teacher may adjust the kinds of data collected to meet student needs. For example, students may just record sky conditions by drawing cloud cover, or they may introduce more challenging concepts, such as humidity.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: The book includes questions to guide students in analyzing the data, such as, "What parts of the country had the coldest weather this week?" or "Was it colder on clear days or on cloudy days?" Students could be asked to answer the questions in the book orally, or in writing as an assessment.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: This resource does not include a technologically interactive component.