Watching Weather

Discovery Education
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Lesson/Lesson Plan , Experiment/Lab Activity , Activity
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.



Students will make their own weather station consisting of actual and simplified versions of real weather equipment. The weather station will consist of a thermometer and a student-made weather vane. They will use that equipment to make observations about the local weather.

Intended Audience

Educational Level
  • Grade 2
  • Grade 1
  • Kindergarten
  • Pre-Kindergarten
  • 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
To fully meet Performance Expectation, students will observe weather for more than five days. Students use the weather station to make observations about local weather. Students can use observations from the weather station to collect data describe patterns over time.

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
Students may be directed to make a number of observations before creating and using the student made weather vane. Observations can include: movement of the leaves, changing position of the flag outside the school, bending of branches. The weather vane will further illustrate what children have already begun to observe.

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
The teacher and students may collect data through the use of weather vanes or thermometers; and by making observations of the weather to notice weather patterns over time. Students may make a correlation between the bright sun and a higher temperature on the thermometer. Likewise, cool wind and lack of sun can suggest lower air temperature..

Crosscutting Concepts

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

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Kindergarten students can be capable scientists. The teacher may set the stage for students to identify causes and events by the use of questions such as, “What do we know?” and “What do we notice?” This reliance on observation and data builds toward understanding of scientific evidence and claim.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: The activity is useful in providing students experience with relevant phenomena through first-hand experience. With purposeful teaching, this activity is age-appropriate and engaging. To meet the standard this cannot be a stand alone activity, but embedded in a instructional sequence with a primary focus on patterns over time.

  • Instructional Supports: The lesson plan and activity is detailed and easily understood. The author instructs the teacher to use his/her discretion and knowledge of the ability level of the class as a guide as he/she teaches this lesson.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: The activity does not provide a method for monitoring student progress. The teacher may gather progress information while asking probing questions to determine student understanding. Other summative evaluation techniques may be needed to fully assess student progress.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: No technology is needed to complete this lesson.