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16.5: Lesson 16.4: Weather Forecasting

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
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Key Concepts

  • How meteorologists predict weather
  • Technology and computers in weather forecasting
  • Weather instruments
  • Weather maps

Lesson Objectives

  • State how meteorologists predict the weather.
  • Outline how technology and computers are used to forecast the weather.
  • Describe what weather maps show.

Lesson Vocabulary

  • anemometer: instrument that measures wind speed
  • barometer: instrument that measures air pressure
  • hygrometer: instrument that measures humidity
  • meteorologist: scientist who studies weather and makes weather forecasts
  • rain gauge: instrument that measures the amount of rainfall
  • snow gauge: instrument that measures the amount of snowfall
  • thermometer: instrument that measures temperature
  • weather balloon: balloon that rises into the troposphere where it gathers weather data and sends them to the surface
  • weather map: map that shows actual or predicted weather conditions for a particular geographic area
  • weather satellite: satellite that orbits Earth and constantly collects and transmits weather data from high above the surface
  • weather station: one of thousands of devices that each collect weather data at a specific point on Earth’s surface
  • wind vane: instrument that measures wind direction

Teaching Strategies

Introducing the Lesson

Call on students to predict what the weather in their area is likely to be the next day. Then show them tomorrow’s weather forecast for their region. (You can obtain a weather forecast from a newspaper or Web site.) Ask students if they know how the weather was predicted. Accept all reasonable responses at this point, and then tell students they will learn how weather is predicted when they read this lesson.


Students can create natural “hygrometers” to measure humidity with the activity at the following URL. The activity uses pine cones as indicators of humidity. Pine cones open their scales in dry weather in order to disperse their seeds and close their scales in wet weather in order to protect the seeds.


Building Science Skills

With the activity at the following URL, students will learn some basic rules of thumb for predicting the weather. Then they will practice using the rules to make weather predictions.


Differentiated Instruction

Make a display of several of the common weather instruments described in the lesson (e.g., thermometer, barometer, anemometer, hygrometer, rain or snow gauge, and/or wind vane). Write the name of each instrument on a card and the weather factor it measures. Give students a chance to manipulate and observe the instruments, and have them practice reading current conditions from the instruments. The activity will help students—especially kinesthetic and visual learners—appreciate how weather instruments are used to collect atmospheric data.


Have creative students do the activity at the URL below. They will read a comic about predicting the weather and then use a comic template to create their own weather comic. Make copies of their creations to share with the class.


Science Inquiry

In the inquiry activity at the following URL, students will build an anemometer and use it to measure wind speed. They will also apply the Beaufort wind scale to describe the wind speed they measure.


Real-World Connection

Have groups of students assume they are TV meteorologists and make a weather report. Assign each group a different recent date, and have groups research what the weather was like in their community on that date. They should find data on temperature, precipitation, wind, clouds, and other weather elements. Then they should use the data to make a weather map depicting the weather on that date. Finally, each person in the group should assume the role of a TV meteorologist and use the weather map to describe one of the weather elements.

Reinforce and Review

Lesson Worksheets

Copy and distribute the Lesson 16.4 worksheets in CK-12 Earth Science for Middle School Workbook. Ask students to complete the worksheets alone or in pairs to reinforce lesson content.

Lesson Review Questions

Have students answer the Review Questions at the end of Lesson 16.4 in CK–12 Earth Science for Middle School. Answers are provided below.

Lesson Quiz

Check students’ mastery of the lesson with Lesson 16.4 Quiz in CK-12 Earth Science for Middle School Quizzes and Tests.

Points to Consider

In this chapter you learned about weather. Weather is sometimes confused with climate. The two are related but not the same. What is climate?

How does climate differ from weather?

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