Severe Weather-Blizzards-Let it Snow!

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 is #5 in a unit about severe weather. Using the book, Whiteout by Rick Thomas, images taken from space, and observing crystals students will learn about blizzards.

Intended Audience

Educator and learner
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
Students look at images, pictures, and listen to a story about blizzards that explain how they are formed. They will then observe and sketch various types of crystals to learn more about their formation in relation to snowflakes which are an element of a blizzard. If students are not familiar with snow or blizzards they may need more experience with books, pictures, and videos to guide their understanding of this type of severe weather.

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 are sketching pictures of the three types of crystals they observe to identify the features and compare the differences. They are using a teacher created data sheet and may add a sentence or descriptive words to their sketch.

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
Students are learning about a blizzard as being a kind of severe weather that occurs when snow and wind are combined. An extension of this lesson could include having students find geographical areas where and when blizzards occur.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource was not designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Students learn about blizzards as an event that are caused by snow and wind in this lesson. Observable patterns are not discussed but could be added to the lesson by having students do some research to see where blizzards take place and when they occur to show a pattern.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: The lesson leads to student questions and uses prior experience with severe weather conditions that help to make sense about the phenomenon of a blizzard. The sketching of the crystals and comparing them develops the science and engineering practice listed.

  • Instructional Supports: Students are engaged by using prior experience and questioning as they study about blizzards as a form of severe weather. Opportunities are provided for students to express, clarify, and represent their ideas and to respond to peer and teacher feedback orally and with their sketches of the crystals.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: The lesson uses pre-assessment to start the lesson and then formative assessment by having students answer orally in a group, talk with a partner and discuss their sketches and fill in a group chart.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: No technology is needed other than the internet to access satellite photos or pictures.