Weather Stations and Weather Forecasts: Can You Do It Yourself?
Area of Science
Weather & Atmosphere
Weather, weather forecasting
Can define and use the weather-related terms, variables, and instruments used in the lesson
Can collect weather-related data and represent the data graphically
Can explain how the weather is forecast using the method explained in this lesson
Can explain at least one relationship between two weather-related variables
Sabine De Brabandere, PhD, Science Buddies
How do scientists know what the weather will be like in the future? In this fun weather lesson, students set up a weather station and collect data such as sky coverage, temperature, and rainfall. As they identify connections in their data, students will realize that these connections can help forecast what the weather will be like in the short-term future. The lesson culminates in students making and presenting a weather forecast for their fellow students.
Represent data in tables and graphical displays to describe typical weather conditions expected during a particular season.
This lesson focuses on these aspects of NGSS Three Dimensional Learning:
Science & Engineering Practices
Disciplinary Core Ideas
Planning and Carrying Out Investigations.
Make observations and/or measurements to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence for an explanation of a phenomenon or test a design solution.
Analyzing and Interpreting Data.
Represent data in tables and various graphical displays (bar graphs and pictographs) to reveal patterns that indicate relationship.
Using Mathematical and computational thinking.
Organize simple data sets to reveal patterns that suggest relationships.
Engaging in Argument from Evidence.
Construct and/or support an argument with evidence, data, and/or a model. Use data to evaluate claims about cause and effect.
ESS2.D: Weather and Climate.
Scientists record patterns of the weather across different times and areas so that they can make predictions about what kind of weather might happen next.
Patterns of change can be used to make predictions.
Cause and Effect: Mechanism and Prediction.
Cause and effect relationships are routinely identified, tested, and used to explain change. Events that occur together with regularity might or might not be a cause and effect relationship.
Measuring instruments; one set per group or one set for the whole class. These instruments can be either made by the student or can be store-bought. Make your weather station(s) as complete as you can; a few easy-to-make or easy-to-obtain instruments are a good start.
Consult the Teacher Prep section for hints on how to choose instruments.
Thermometer; instructions on how to make a thermometer yourself can be found in this
Rain gauge; instructions on how to make a rain gauge yourself can be found in this
Anemometer; instructions on how to make an anemometer yourself can be found in this
Optional: Hygrometer; instructions on how to make a hygrometer yourself can be found in this
Optional: Barometer; instructions for homemade barometers can be found online. Unfortunately, homemade barometers tend to only work in temperature-controlled situations.
For reliable measurements, you are better off with a store-bought instrument.
For the class:
Graphing paper or tools to collect and graph data electronically, such as Excel or Google Sheets
Optional: A few empty, flimsy water bottles with lids
Optional: Poster board
Optional: Huge cardboard box that can be transformed into a make-believe TV-frame.
Optional: Equipment to enable students to make and display their own videos.