Activity 5: Weather: The Many Faces of Mother Nature

Keliann LaConte, Dr. Stephanie Shipp, Yolanda Ballard–Zimmermann Explore Program Team Department of Education and Public Outreach The Lunar and Planetary Institute Universities Space Research Association (USRA) Lunar and Planetary Institute
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Lesson/Lesson Plan
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.



This resource is part of a collection of ten activities in the Discover Earth series, designed to teach the story of Earth and its changing environment for ages 5-13. It includes differentiated task instructions for each age group. Each activity is an individual lesson plan with several activities. Each part of the unit can be used independently to teach the topic of the activity or as an entire unit to provide well rounded coverage of Earth science standards. Activity 5 focuses on tracking and recording changes in local weather conditions and is designed for ages 5-7. Be sure to refer to the Facilitator's Guide:



Intended Audience

Educational Level
  • Early Elementary
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

K-ESS2-1 Use and share observations of local weather conditions to describe patterns over time.

Clarification Statement: Examples of qualitative observations could include descriptions of the weather (such as sunny, cloudy, rainy, and warm); examples of quantitative observations could include numbers of sunny, windy, and rainy days in a month. Examples of patterns could include that it is usually cooler in the morning than in the afternoon and the number of sunny days versus cloudy days in different months.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment of quantitative observations limited to whole numbers and relative measures such as warmer/cooler.

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this performance expectation, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
The stations described in this lesson plan provide opportunities for students to collect and record data based on observations of local weather, and to discuss these observations at length. However, to meet the full text of this Performance Expectation it is necessary for the teacher to continue such data collections and discussions over a period of time. One way would be to leave the stations out over the course of a month (or more) and to have students visit the stations independently. During "calendar time" the teacher could have students present up-to-date findings and comparisons to previous data and help students identify and describe weather patterns over time based on their own data.

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
The stations in this activity include guiding questions and options for student journals. It is suggested to use the questions and have students use the journals as recommended in order to fulfill this practice. Allow time for students to share their observations and discuss patterns they see in their own observations and in the the observations of others. Station 1 mentions a link to a weather journal that is no longer active. Have students create a simple journal with both lined and unlined pages for them to record their observations in both pictures and words.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
There are several suggestions throughout the activity stations to connect to real life examples. It is important for the teacher to make connections to the work of meteorologists and the tools they use for recording and analyzing weather patterns. A trip to a local weather station or a visit from the local weather personality would greatly improve the explicitness of this Core Idea.

Crosscutting Concepts

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

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
The activity stations provide opportunities for students to observe and describe patterns in weather conditions through the collection and recording of data based on their observations. One could add to the explicitness of the Crosscutting Concept by encouraging students to identify and describe these patterns several times over and include them in the wrap-up of Activity 5.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: The teacher needs only to provide the explicit connections as suggested in the Tips for each of the three-dimensions in the above review in order to improve the alignment rating. The resource does provide additional optional activities that, if followed, can also improve this rating. One of the lessons in the activity is an engineering project that adds to the three-dimensional spirit of the standards.

  • Instructional Supports: This resource is highly engaging and provides firsthand experiences with multiple ways for students to show their learning. The Facilitator's Guide (link provided in the resources) includes extensive background knowledge and additional resources. The guide used in conjunction with the suggested differentiation techniques in each lesson allows for sufficient instructional supports for both teachers and students. The link for the facilitator's guide:

  • Monitoring Student Progress: The stations have embedded opportunities for student responses such as cut and paste sheets, journal entries, and discussion starters which provide multiple points for formative assessment. For this particular standard, formative assessment seems most appropriate and sufficient to assess student understanding. It is up to the teacher to develop more formal assessments and rubrics or a cumulative assessment, if desired. There are elements in the resource that can easily be used as performance tasks or incorporated in pre/post formal assessments.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: There is no technology component to this activity.