How can we predict when it's going to storm?
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How can we predict when it's going to storm?
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Extensions

Below are ideas for extending this topic beyond the activity & exploration which you just completed.

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Readings:

These Common-Core-aligned readings are free with registration on ReadWorks. All readings include comprehension questions.

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Cloud poetry

Poets and scientists both carefully observe and describe the world around them. Develop these skills with your students by having them write poetry about clouds.

  • Read Clouds, a poem that compares clouds to sheep.
  • Show your students pictures of clouds from the Cloudman’s Gallery. Ask students to describe these clouds. Fill the board with cloud words and cloud comparisons.
  • Write a poem that answers a question, like “how does the cloud make you feel?” or “what does the cloud do?” or "what does this cloud make me think about?"
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More Sights in the Sky

Now that your students are watching the sky with their Storm Spotter’s Guide, they may notice these sky sights.

  • Cirrus clouds — These wispy clouds usually signal fair weather. Learn more about them here.
  • Contrails — These white lines that stretch across the sky are clouds that form around small particles that exist in airplane exhaust. Learn more about them here and here. See photos of contrails here.
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Activity: Weather Watcher’s Journal

Have your students keep a daily weather journal — observing the sky, drawing the clouds, noting wind direction and weather (sunny/cloudy, warm/cold, windy/still), and predicting the next day’s weather. (Here’s a form for each day’s observations.)

Each day, discuss what students are noticing. Are there any observations they would like to add to their journal? Have they noticed patterns that help predict changes in the weather?

At the end of a week, review the results. Has students’ awareness of the sky and the weather changed?

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How Far Away Is That Thunderstorm?

It’s easy to figure out how far away a thunderstorm is.

When you see a flash of lightning, start counting off the seconds like this: one-one thousand, two-one thousand, three-one thousand. Stop counting as soon as you hear the thunder.

Every five seconds you count equals about one mile. So if you counted 5 seconds, the storm is about a mile away. If you see lightning but never hear the thunder, the storm is more than 12 miles away — too far for you to hear the thunder.

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Image & Video Credits

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Exploration
storm clouds by NOAA Photo Library , used under CC BY / cropped
lightning storm by Mary Qin , used under CC BY / cropped, trimmed
thunder storm by Sarah Coyne , used under CC BY / cropped, trimmed
plane flying by Elizabeth Hunter , used under CC BY
plane by TSgt. Michael Haggerty, USAF / heavily modified
clouds seen from plane by Jakec , used under CC BY-SA / heavily modified
cockpit by Airman 1st Class Veronica Pierce, U.S. Air Force / heavily modified
large puffy cloud by Ron Pieket , used under CC BY / cropped
hand break by Ildar Sagdejev , used under CC BY-SA / cropped
man skydiving by skeeze / heavily modified
sky by Kevin Dooley , used under CC BY / heavily modified
man parachuting by skeeze / heavily modified
rain clouds by GPS , used under CC BY / heavily modified
lightning bolt by Unsplash / heavily modified
parachuter by tpsdave / heavily modified
hail by FCB Excalibur , used under CC BY-SA / cropped, adjusted color
cumulus clouds by Colorado Clouds Blog , used under CC BY-SA
wrist watch by stock.tookapic.com
cloud watching by Leland Francisco , used under CC BY / Heavily Photoshopped
cloud formation by epSos.de , used under CC BY
off trail view by Nicholas A. Tonelli , used under CC BY
beach by Darkest tree , used under CC BY-SA
time lapse cloud formation by Mathieu Descombes
cumulonimbious 2 by Sfortis , used under CC BY-SA
cumulonimbious 4 by Neil Tackaberry , used under CC BY-ND
thunder cloud by Neil Tackaberry , used under CC BY-ND
raining cloud by Aislinn Ritchie , used under CC BY-SA
tall cloud by Neil Tackaberry , used under CC BY-ND
bedroom by Amy Gizienski , used under CC BY
map by Ktrinko
grassy area by Nicholas A. Tonelli , used under CC BY
Print Prep
Activity Prep

In this lesson, students learn how to make predictions about the weather by observing clouds and their changes. In the activity, Storm Spotter's Guide, students create a small book to record their notes, identify different types of clouds, and think about wind direction to figure out if a storm is heading their way.

COVID-19 Adaptations
Students can work solo
Digital worksheets available

Students at home
Students need the Storm Spotter's Guide and the Will It Storm? worksheets (printed or digital).
No activity prep.
Extensions
Download this Lesson to your device so you can play it offline: