Grade Level: 5 Unit Title

Explain: They should realize the main areas affects such as

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Explain: They should realize the main areas affects such as;

  • High Pressure-cooler temperatures, less moisture

  • Low Pressure-higher temperatures, more moisture

  • Precipitation- depends on the temperatures of the ground and atmosphere

  • Wind Speed and direction- extent of unequal heating of air masses, directly related to air pressure differences

  • Temperature- many factors affect this, and it affects many others

  • Cloud cover- caused by pressure systems, but influences precipitation, temperature…etc.

What they should discover is all of these factors are linked to one another. As each individual area is affected by weather, the others will be affected as well, if not already. Also, the most basic weather prediction should be evident given various scenarios from their information.

Elaborate: Create a daily weather prediction poster and track the various areas of weather that each expert team researched. Have a column for all areas of study, fill in the appropriate information from a local TV website…then make basic predictions based on what the daily information tells them.

A great way to extend this to the real world would be to have a local meteorologist visit the school and talk about the predictions and affects of the various areas of study.

Evaluate: Each team of experts will teach the class about their specific area of study.

Required parts of the presented product are:

  • Product must give solid definition of specific area

  • Affects on weather

  • Affects from weather

  • Other variables that are related to it

  • Weather prediction scenarios throughout (min. of two)

  • Optional handouts appropriate to information

Rubric created using RubiStar


Well-rehearsed with smooth delivery that holds audience attention.

Rehearsed with fairly smooth delivery that holds audience attention most of the time.

Delivery not smooth, but able to maintain interest of the audience most of the time.

Delivery not smooth and audience attention often lost.


Covers topic in-depth with details and examples. Subject knowledge is excellent.

Includes essential knowledge about the topic. Subject knowledge appears to be good.

Includes essential information about the topic but there are 1-2 factual errors.

Content is minimal OR there are several factual errors.


All requirements are met and exceeded.

All requirements are met.

One requirement was not completely met.

More than one requirement was not completely met.


Product shows a large amount of original thought. Ideas are creative and inventive.

Product shows some original thought. Work shows new ideas and insights.

Uses other people's ideas (giving them credit), but there is little evidence of original thinking.

Uses other people's ideas, but does not give them credit











Quick Starter Quest…Questions!

  1. What is a good definition of our subject?

  1. What relationships exist between our subject and weather?

  1. What makes our subject change?

  1. What other factors affect our subject?

Quick Starter Quest…Questions!

  1. What is a good definition of our subject?

  1. What relationships exist between our subject and weather?

  1. What makes our subject change?

  1. What other factors affect our subject?

Quick Starter Quest…Questions!

  1. What is a good definition of our subject?

  1. What relationships exist between our subject and weather?

  1. What makes our subject change?

  1. What other factors affect our subject?

Lesson 3: Clouds in a Bottle

3.03 Describe and analyze the formation of various types of clouds and discuss their relation to weather systems.

Materials: ice cube, hot water, and clear, clean jar
Concepts: How clouds are formed?
Process Skills: observing, communicating, making models, experimenting
Engage: Ask students these series of questions. [Listen for responses so you can understand misconceptions and invite more questions]

  • What are clouds?

  • How do clouds look?

  • What is the purpose of clouds?

  • How are clouds formed?

  • How many different types of clouds are there?

Explore: Tell students that you are going to demonstrate how clouds are formed. [The following website gives instructions on how to make Clouds in a Bottle.]

  • Pour about 1/2 inch of very hot water into a clear bottle. 

  • Immediately cover the mouth of the bottle with an ice cube.  

Explain: Ask students to tell some of the things that they have observed. [Make sure that they include as many observations as possible.] Explain Clouds are formed when water vapor in the air is cooled and condenses as part of the water cycle. Clouds consist of billions of tiny water droplets (and even ice crystals) floating in the sky and appear in a variety of shapes and sizes depending on how and where they formed. In other words, we know that clouds form when rising air cools and the moisture in it condenses to form water droplets. [Referenced from]

Three things are needed for clouds to form: evaporation, cooling, and condensation

Extension/Elaboration: Have students take the time in their notebooks to explain how the demonstration relates to cloud formation. [Allow students to share their notebook entries and take the time to tie any loose ends.]
Evaluation: Evaluate student notebook entries.
Lesson 4: It Looked Like Spilt Milk (Types of Clouds)

3.03 Describe and analyze the formation of various types of clouds and discuss their relation to weather systems.


  • Book: It Looked Like Spilt Milk

  • Pictures of the following cloud types: cirrus, stratus, cumulus, and cumulonimbus


  • A PowerPoint on the Gaston County Schools website [Click 3-5 and choose Clouds 2 under Earth Science]

Concepts: cloud variety and weather predictions
Process Skills: inferring, predicting, and classifying
Engage: Read It Looked Like Spilt Milk
Explore/ Explain: Teach from PPT [If using pictures, take information from PPT]
Extension/Elaboration: Have students to complete the enclosed graphic organizer.
Evaluation: Evaluate the graphic organizer.

NAME: __________________________________________ DATE: ____________________

Type of Cloud

Drawing of Cloud

Description of Cloud

Common Type of Weather Produced





Lesson 5: Weather and Geography
[Data for this lesson will need to be gathered 1-3 weeks prior. The Weather Data Sheet is attached. Also, place the thermometers in places that would “mirror” the natural environment for comparisons. For example, place a thermometer near a pond can “mirror’ sea breezes. This lesson can be done in two days. You can take the time to ensure that students comprehend the Explore and Explain portion of the lesson. Read through the entire lesson before beginning.]

3.06 Discuss and determine the influence of geography on weather and climate.


  • At least 3 thermometers; [Suggestion: 6 thermometers.]

  • Pictures of a mountain/mountain range, with snow on the caps; ocean, wind effects, land, beach area, urbanization (city and country), etc

  • Completed Weather Data Sheets

Concepts: Mountain, wind, and large bodies of water affect weather.
Process Skills: observing, classifying, inferring, predicting, communicating, using number relationship, collecting data, and interpreting data
Engage: Ask students to give you examples of Earth’s geological features, i.e. mountains, valleys, oceans, etc. Place the examples on the board. Tell them that the Earth’s surface effects how the weather and climate of that region will be.
Explore: There are many geographical factors that affect weather and climate. We will cover five of these factors. They are latitude, altitude, winds, distance from the sea, and urbanization. Define each factor:

Latitude: The distance from the equator can determine weather and climate.

Altitude: The farther up you go the temperature decreases. Air is less dense and cannot hold the heat.

Winds: Depending on the origin of the winds, they can increase or decrease temperature. If cold winds blow, temperature is colder and vice versa with warm winds.

Distance from the sea: The closer you are to the ocean the cooler the temperature.

Urbanization: Some consider this to be the human interference component of weather and climate.
Explain: Show the students the picture examples so that they can see the visual aspects of weather.



Mountain (Altitude)

Notice that there is snow at the top of this mountain. The higher up you go the colder it becomes. Therefore, mountain regions have colder temperatures.

Ocean (Sea Breezes)

Land can heat and cool faster than sea water.


When wind blows against a mountain it cause the air to rise and cool. When it flows over the mountain and down the other side it causes the air to become warmer and takes moisture through evaporation. When this happens deserts are formed. This is also called the rain shadow effect.


As you move closer to the equator the temperature increases. The farther away you are from the equator the temperature decreases. This is due to the sun’s rays.


It is typically warmer and rainier in large cities than in rural areas. There are many contributing factors including pavement, large buildings, factories, etc.

Extension/Elaboration: Have students look at their Weather Data Sheet. [The purpose of this portion of the lesson is to show students how their surroundings on campus “mirror” the Earth’s geographical layout. Therefore, your campus acts as a model in producing the same “types” of weather patterns. For example, if you have a pond or lake near your campus, the temperature around the body of water will be cooler.]
Evaluation: Weather Data Sheets and Have students write a paragraph in their notebook connecting the Extension/Elaboration to the Explain. Basically have them write a summary.


NAME: _____________________________________ DATE: ____________________________





Lesson 6: Feeling the Heat
Activity Concepts: Students will be looking at a variety of visualizations to understand the ideas behind Global Warming and how man may be a factor in global climatic change. Before looking at the visualizations, they will learn how to orient themselves to visualizations by doing a part of a GLOBE activity, Learning to Use Visualizations. They will also watch, in sections Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth and discuss man’s impact on Global Warming and climate change.
Process Skills: Observing, inferring, predicting, and communicating

  • Video or DVD- An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore

  • Video or DVD player

  • Book: How We Know What We Know About Our Changing Climate, Scientists and Kids Explore Global Warming by Lynne Cherry and Gary Braasch

  • One copy of each of the graphs found in the appendix of this lesson

  • Chart paper

  • Markers

  • Glue sticks

  • Colored pencil

  • Kids Page from the Pew Center on Global Climate Change

  • []

  • Science notebook for each student

  • White legal size paper

Pre-assessment: Students will make a concept map around the topic of Global Warming in their science notebook. They need to make a key that notes the date they made this concept map and the color they used. [This will be referred to later during the assessment section of the lesson]
Engage: Read pages 28 and 29 of Book: How We Know What We Know About Our Changing Climate, Scientists and Kids Explore Global Warming by Lynne Cherry and Gary Braasch

Have students discuss their thoughts and ideas about what they know about global warming and climate change.

  • To find out more about polar bears, go to:

  • To find out more about penguins, go to:

Explore: [Students will be looking at visualization for scientific problem-solving using elevation and temperature (factors of climate) as a tool. More information on background can be found on the full lesson on the GLOBE website]

Discuss with students the different aspects of reading visualization [maps and graphs] such as: data, units, and times, use of color, landmark values, geographical features, scale, and resolution. Remind students that visualizations summarize huge amounts of data that has been collected.

Use the color maps to lead the above discussion. The first map, Earth Elevation and Ocean Depth has different colors for the elevation found at the ocean depths and on land. Have students look at the map and orient themselves to it by looking at the time [year this map was made] and the scale of this visualization. The second map, Surface Temperature, January 1987, uses the colors usually seen as cool [blue] to hot colors [reds and oranges]. Remind them to use the legends and keys to help them understand the symbols and colors used on these visualizations.

[The student worksheet here really guides the students through this activity, but since this is geared for a bit higher student, you may choose to work this through with my students step by step.]

Have students go to their worksheet and orient themselves with the different parts of this visualization. [They will be making the color scale and coloring in this visualization.]

Explain that each square [resolution] on these visualizations equals a 3°x 3°area of latitude and longitude. Compare the resolutions here to the colored visualizations you looked at earlier.

Have students begin with the Average Elevation map. They need to look at the key for this at the bottom of the visualization. Have them show the break between lowlands and mountains as 1500 m, the next break at 3,000 m and the final one at 4,500 m. Since there are no heights above 5,300 m on this visualization, this is the last one on the scale.

Students then will color this visualization.

Repeat the same procedure with the second visualization. [Consider pairing students to work on this together, after figuring out the scales and color for each visualization; students each take one of the visualizations to color, this saves A LOT of time and is appropriate for fifth grade.]

On the Elevation visualization, the heights above 1,500 m are the Himalayas, have the students outline the boundaries of the Himalayas.

Mount Everest is at 8,800 m; see if students can find where it is located on using this visualization.

Have the students look at the Average Surface Temperature visualization, can they find the Himalayas using this visualization? Have students look at the differences in the two visualizations, what conclusions can they draw from these two visualizations? [The higher in elevation they climb, the lower the temperature.]
Extension in Math – Lapse time

[The second part of this looks at the lapse rate. Once the maps are colored, students can explore the relationship between change in elevation and change in temperature. [The change in temperature due to the change in altitude is the lapse rate. Consider using this as an extension during math.]

Explain: Have students read Global Warming – Kids Page from the Pew Center on Global Climate Change

Discuss after reading this page, discuss ideas of global warming and climate change with students. Tell them they are going to look closer at this information using different graphs.


Students will be looking at graphs to further understand the ideas and reasons of global warming. The word anomaly is used in some of the graphs, explain the meaning of anomaly. [Anomaly – a difference from what is expected]

Students will work as two person teams. Hand each pair students chart paper, markers, glue sticks, and one of the visualizations found at the end of this lesson.

Remind students of how to orient themselves to visualizations [part 2 of exploration].

Before having students go through the process, do one as a whole class. Use the graphic

Students need to look at the visualization and find out what information that it is conveying.

Have them glue their visualization on the top of their chart paper. Underneath the visualization they need to write the information they found out by reading the picture of the data in the following categories:

  • Getting Oriented –They record information from the graphs that help them understand what the graph is about.

  • What Does the Data Tell Us? What they have learned from the visualization. After they have written all of their information they found in the previous categories on their chart; they need to write down the questions or wonderings they have based on the information they learned.

  • Add: Questions or Wonderings to chart. Students will post their charts on the wall and explain their visualization and what it shows to the class. They also discuss their questions and wonderings. [I have students present their posters and visualizations mixed in with the movie found in the elaborate section. For example, 1 poster before the first showing on Day 1, one after the movie. The next day they repeat with two more posters.]

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