Curriculum

How Do Weather and Climate Affect Our Lives?

How Do Weather and Climate Affect Our Lives?

How Do Weather and Climate Affect Our Lives? is part of Smithsonian Science for the Classroom, a brand new curriculum series by the Smithsonian Science Education Center. It is aligned to a group of grade 3 standards. It has a focus on Earth and space science with a secondary focus on engineering. In this module, students:

  • Carry out an investigation to determine if weather can vary over short distances
  • Analyze the function of an anemometer in order to adjust the structure and improve the function
  • Represent data on bar graphs to identify annual weather patterns
  • Design, build, and test a roof to withstand the effects of a climate with heavy precipitation
  • Analyze and interpret patterns in climate data to make a claim about which month would be best to host a soccer tournament in a particular city

Below are digital resources that support teaching of this module. 

Lesson 1: Weather Instruments

Types of Weather Videos
These are videos showing a variety of weather conditions

Download Video
This video shows sunny, clear weather.

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This video show dark clouds moving quickly.

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This video shows thunder and lightning.

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This video shows a snowstorm.

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This video shows a hurricane.

Lesson 2: Measuring Weather

Local Weather
http://www.weather.gov/
To get the current weather at the closest weather reporting station, enter the school’s zip code in the box labeled, “Local forecast by City, St; or ZIP code.” 

On the local weather page, the closest weather reporting station is listed under the phrase, “current conditions at.” This webpage shows the current temperature and wind speed and direction. 

Click on the “3 Day History” link to find the precipitation over the last 24 hours. The last 3 columns of the chart report the precipitation over the last 1 hour, 3 hours, and 6 hours. Add the total precipitation in one of these columns (they are equal) for the past 24 hours. 

https://www.weatherbug.com/
To get the current weather, enter the school’s zip code in the box in the upper right corner.
The “Daily Rain” reports the rain that has occurred so far on that day. 
WeatherBug uses data from both privately owned weather stations as well as National Weather Service weather stations.

Reading Weather Instruments
Download PDF
These are examples to practice reading a thermometer, anemometer, wind vane, and rain gauge and practice describing cloud cover.

Lesson 3: Predicting Weather

Live Doppler Radar Map 
https://www.weatherbug.com/
Click on “live radar.” If there is no precipitation in the zoomed region surrounding the school, zoom out. The color key at the top of the screen shows colors that represent rain, mixed rain and snow, and snow. Clicking on the (play button) shows radar over the past hour. 

https://weather.com/
Navigate to “Radar Map.” If there is no precipitation in the zoomed region surrounding the school, zoom out. The color key on the side of the screen shows colors that represent light and heavy rain, mixed rain and snow, and snow. Clicking on the (play button) shows radar over the past two hours.

Live Satellite Map 
https://www.weatherbug.com/
Click on “live radar.” Under “weather overlays” choose “satellite.” Clicking on the (play button) shows satellite images over the past 12 hours.

https://www.weather.gov/satellite
Under the heading “Visible” choose “GOES West” or “GOES East” depending on your location in the United States. Click “View Loop” to show satellite images over the past 2 hours (East) or 7 hours (West).

Cloud Identification Chart
https://www.globe.gov/documents/348614/782194b1-b5c3-4416-b3aa-b4a208ea5812
Use this chart to learn how to identify different types of clouds and cloud coverage for participating in the GLOBE Observer program.

GLOBE Observer App
https://observer.globe.gov/about/get-the-app
Download this app to participate in the GLOBE Observer program, a citizen science program to help scientists studying Earth and the global environment.

Online Cloud Chart
https://scool.larc.nasa.gov/GLOBE/cldchart.html
This online cloud chart shows examples of each cloud type.

Lesson 5: High and Low

Past Weather 
https://www.wunderground.com/
This website gives past weather data for different locations in the U.S. Type in the location of your school in the search field. Select the History and then the Monthly tab to get high and low temperatures for past months.

Average Weather 
https://www.usclimatedata.com/
This website gives average monthly weather data for different locations in the U.S. Type in the location of your school in the search field.

Lesson 6: Travel Plans

Average Precipitation
http://www.weatherbase.com/
This website is an alternative source for data on number of days of precipitation. Type in the location of your school in the search field.

Weather Words
Download PDF
This file gives students simple words to use to describe different climates.

Lesson 7: Around the World

Climate Zone Map
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This image is a simplified version of the Köppen Map showing five climate zones.

Interactive Climate Zones
https://aamboceanservice.blob.core.windows.net/oceanservice-prod/education/pd/oceans_weather_climate/media/climate_zones.swf
This website allows students to determine the climate subzone for different places. The Adobe Flash plugin is needed to view this website. Please enable your Flash settings on your web browser. For issues with Google Chrome or Chromebook, please see Google Chrome Help. We recommend using another browser, such as Firefox.

Lesson 8: North and South

SH Winter
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This image shows people skiing in July in New Zealand.

Map with Matching Cities
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This image shows the cities on the Matching City cards on a simplified version of the Köppen Map.

Lesson 9: Hazardous Weather

Map with Weather Problem Cities
Download PDF
This image shows the cities with weather problems on a simplified version of the Köppen Map.

Lesson 10: Roof Research

Hurricane Shutters
http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/shutters/index3.html
This web link describes different types of hurricane shutters and the cost by square foot.

Lesson 11: Design and Build a Roof

Design a Roof Criteria and Constraints
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This file describes the criteria and constraints to design and build a roof.

Lightning Safety Resources
http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/
This web link provides resources about lightning safety. Use the “Information, Brochures” link to find simple and clear presentations about lightning safety by Dr. Lightning.

Lesson 13: Kids Cup Part 1

Map with Kids Cup Cities
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This image shows the possible cities for the Kids Cup on a simplified version of the Köppen Map.

Lesson 14: Kids Cup Part 2

Recommendation Requirements
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This file gives the requirements students need to include in their recommendation for the Kids Cup science challenge.

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