Year 5 students learning about condensation

Cooking Up The Weather

Students are immersed in this integrated learning unit through instruction / activities that lead to a cohesive, in-depth study of the topic of weather. Students practice and apply skills in multiple meaningful contexts. Each day flows from one subject area into another, with an emphasis on a holistic rather than an isolated approach to the understanding weather systems.

LU Title: Cooking Up The Weather : Sun, Wind and Water

Author: Lucinda R. Riedl, Hamilton Central School, West Kendrick Street, Hamilton, N.Y. 13346

Grade Level: 5th

Subject Area: Writing Intensive Integrated Science Unit

Time Frame: 6 Weeks Total Immersion

Pre-Requisite Knowledge: The teacher needs to review the K-5 curriculum to identify weather/graph concepts that were taught at previous grade levels. It would be wise to initiate dialogue between those teachers to identify the “taught” curriculum. After the “Window” activity in the Initiating Activity, the teacher will have a strong sense of what the students already know about weather.

Content Knowledge

The concept of air pressure.
The relationships of air pressure to wind and weather forecasting
The characteristics of an air mass from the region in which it forms and the changes that occur as it moves.
The distinguishing features of different types of fronts.
The distinguishing features of three types of clouds and related weather.
The concept of weather systems.
The necessary components to create a weather station.
Weather related vocabulary.
Weather folklore
Read, interpret, and construct weather maps, charts, graphs, and tables.
Infer, hypothesize, and generalize weather conditions and trends (weather patterns).
Compare/contrast: types of clouds, storms, weather systems over a period of time
Synthesize and prioritize information from a series of of weather satellite images.
Analyzing errors-Fact verse Fiction: Weather folklore.
Construct support for predictions/conclusions.

Essential Questions

How is the study of weather important to our livelihood?
How might weather-related folklore be scientifically explained?
In what ways does the weather station save lives?

Initiating Activity

Learning Context:

Students will be immersed in this integrated learning unit through instruction/activities in a variety of subject areas, each day, that lead to a cohesive, in-depth study of the topic of weather. Students will be practicing and applying a variety of skills in multiple meaningful contexts. Each day will flow from one subject area into another with an emphasis on a holistic rather than an isolated approach to the topic.

The “Weather Learning Log” is utilized extensively throughout the unit as a tool for writing and reflection. It is used as an active response journal where students summarize content reading, record the scientific process during experiments during “Center Activity Time”, relate results and reactions to activities, and their thoughts and feelings during the unit. For the teacher, it is a tool for checking student understanding of the content; for expanding student thinking and reflection; for having students generate new ideas, think creatively, make personal connections, and clarify thoughts and feelings. Learning Logs help students retain and make sense of information. They also help students improve their communication skills in writing, listening, and speaking. A rubric is used by the students to help guide them during the thinking and writing process. It stimulates students to self-reflect and self-evaluate.

Although the activities in this unit require some type of written response, the teacher can “Kindle” by providing prompts using a question or “Think Aloud” to start students thinking about a topic, a concern, or a solution to a problem. Students are given 3 to 5 minutes to respond in their logs. Their responses do not always need to be shared with a peer or in a small group, but this type of interaction, where students look for similarities between responses, critique ideas, or draw conclusions can be extremely powerful and inspiring.

Another technique the teacher can use to encourage the “writer” to emerge is “Writing Frames” that are written on a chart or board and students respond to them as they transition from one subject to another. The following are several examples:

Compare & Contrast: (Students determine differences or similarities on the basis of certain criteria determined by the teacher.)

List similarities and differences:
Compare and Contrast the following ___________________________________________.
What are the significant similarities or differences between __________________________ and
Which two are most similar or most different?

Identify & Describe: (Students identify the properties of particular items, happenings or concepts.)

What did you see, hear, note ______________________________________?
Describe the facts _________________________________________.
What did you observe _____________________________________?
Describe the characteristics of the properties of the object.

Define: (Students give the meaning of a word or concept.)

Define the following concept ______________________?
Define what is meant by _________________________?
Define the word from the context clues ________________.

Explore & Predict: (Students generate alternatives and assumptions concerning cause and effect.)

How many ways can you _________________?
What would happen if ___________________?
Suppose ________________ happened? What would be the consequences?

The Learning Logs can also be utilized during lessons where lecture must occur. Information is provided by the teacher or other speaker. The class stops after a number of key ideas have been presented. The teacher frames reflective questions for students to ponder. Students organize their thoughts and record their ideas. Students match thoughts with other students and discuss. Finally students summarize and synthesize. This technique is often extremely effective in bringing closure to a lesson. As the unit progresses, the student’s “Weather Log” becomes their own reference, which they will utilize during the final assessment activity of the unit.

Day 1:

Language Arts Lesson: Building Background and Interest (Standard # 2 Literary Response/Expression)

Procedure: Teacher Read-Aloud the book, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs by Judy Barrett.

Teacher models the “Q.A.D. Outline” as students answer questions: where, who, what was the problem, how was the problem solved, etc. and the students supply the supporting details with their answers to the questions. (Q.A.D. is a graphic organizer that helps students frame their ideas.)

Descriptive Writing: Working in pairs, students will choose one of the five story starters below and write an adventure story using their own Q.A.D. to help organize their thoughts during the discussion phase of the writing process. This assignment will continue to progress through the other phases of the writing process during this Language Arts block of time each day for the rest of the week or until a final copy is completed on the word processor and printed. These stories can be turned into books with illustrations for their second grade partners (An Extending/Refining Activity). Students will utilize their writing rubrics during the reflection stage as they identify ways in which they can improve their stories.

Story Starters:

  1. Once it rained fish in Louisiana! It really did. Once it rained lizards in Montreal, Canada! It really did. You are in Montreal when it begins to rain, and you look out your window and see it is raining live lizards. Oh my . . .
  2. Herbie is not the boy down the street. A Herbie is a wall of snow that suddenly smashes into you. You are outside playing on a sunny winter day. Suddenly you are hit by a Herbie and . .
  3. There is a terrible thunderstorm. Suddenly you look up and see lightning balls. They red, yellow and orange, and as large as grapefruits. They are glowing in the sky and seem to be heading your way . . .
  4. Sometimes hailstones get trapped in a cloud. They are pushed up and down by strong air currents. Each time they go up, another layer of water freezes on them. The hailstones get so heavy, they fall to the ground. Sometimes, they get sucked up so hard, they shoot out the top of the cloud. You’re in a plane during a hailstorm. Your plane has trouble and you parachute out. You get trapped in a cloud. You feel . . .
  5. A tornado is a very powerful, twisting wind storm. The winds around the center of a tornado go more than 300 miles per hour. Tornadoes uproot trees, destroy buildings, and carry cars. You have a tornado for a pet. You decide to take it for a walk in your neighborhood, and . . .

Math: Standard 3 (Reading, interpreting, and creating graphs)

Procedure: Teacher introduces and models how to read graphs using a temperature line graph, a rain bar graph, a barometric pressure and a wind graph. She will demonstrate how these instruments are used to gather and communicate information. Guided practice is provided as students interpret a variety of information represented by other topic graphs on the overhead display. Students partner (Think/Pair/Share) and utilize a variety of graphs to find the answers to questions on a worksheet. Their answers and the thought process which they went through is shared in large group. Concerns and misunderstandings are addressed at this time. Teacher identifies who needs re-teaching in a small group and additional guided practice. The needs of these students will be addressed during “Centers” which occur each morning for 45 minutes. (This mathematics graph unit will be further developed as students learn to gather, record, and interpret weather data using a series of weather satellite images from Netscape at http. // and http. //

Science: Standard 4.1/4. 2 (Physical Setting)

Procedure: “WHAT IS WEATHER?” in 3 inch block letters identify the “Knowledge Wall” (Using a full wall of the classroom.) where artifacts, information, and study tools can be displayed throughout this six week learning unit.”

Teacher directs students to brainstorm a definition of “WEATHER” using the “Window Pane” Activity in cooperative teams of four students. Students take turns as they identify what they think weather is. If the other team members agree with the definition presented, the student records the response in the center of the window. If the idea is not accepted by the group, the student records it in his/her own pane (the outside frame of the window, which has been divided into four pane segments, one for each student). Teams rejoin and share center window responses. Teacher records these responses on an enlarged “Word Map”. Students return to teams and review recorded responses. After reaching consensus, they record their definition on a sentence strip. These definitions are placed on the “Knowledge Wall” to be re-evaluated after they experience a video about weather.

As students view one of the following videos, they use a “Web” format (Thinking Skills:Analyzing Attributes) to identify and record the attributes of weather. (Mad-Onieda BOCES Catalog of Instructional Materials)

“Weather: Air in Action Series”, 19 min., 22638, VHS, color.
“The Weather People”, 15 min., 22614, VHS, color.
“Weather Watch”, 15 min., 25172, VHS, color.

Students partner to review/edit their webs. In large group, the teacher records what the students have learned on a wall chart. Students go back to their learning teams of 4 and revisit their definition of weather. They can change or keep their original definition.

Teacher presents the students with their “Learning Logs” for this unit and guides them through the contents: outline of this unit’s objectives, a list of required and optional activities, and a calendar/grid designating a time frame for the activities. The rubric for journal entries will be reviewed. Samples of work will be displayed on the overhead and students will use their rubrics to determine which level of performance is being displayed and what could be done to improve the response. The “Learning Logs” will become 50% of the final assessment grade. The rubric will be their reference and guide as they write their entries. Students will complete page 1 of their logs by reflecting and then recording questions or wonders they have about weather concepts they have been exposed to during the video or thoughts that were triggered by the observations and discussions.

letter to parents will be sent home at this time with the objectives of the unit and list of activities with suggestions of how they might help their child during this unit. Also, it will encourage any parent to share their knowledge and expertise with the class. This is an open invitation to all parents and/or relatives to become assistants and active resources.

Connection to State Learning Standards

The following numerical system identifying the Learning Standards and Benchmarks addressed in this unit were created by McRel to enhance the New York State’s Standards making them clearer and more useful to teachers as they revised their grade level curriculums. If interested in possessing a full set of standards and benchmarks, contact Jim Riedl at Madison-Onieda BOCES at 1-800-724-6511/(315)361-5550 or /Fax (315) 361-5595.

Standard 3.4.2: Mathematics

Students will understand mathematics and become mathematically confident by communicating and reasoning mathematically, by applying mathematics in real-world settings, and by solving problems through the integrated study of number systems, geometry, algebra, data analysis, and trigonometry.

Students use mathematical modeling/multiple representation to provide a means of presenting, interpreting, communicating, and connecting mathematical information and relationships.

Students organize and display data in tables, simple bar graphs, pie charts, and line graphs.


Students use measurement in both metric and English measure to provide a major link between the abstracts of mathematics and the real world in order to describe and compare objects and data.

Students select and use appropriate standard and nonstandard measurement tools in measurement activities.

Standard 1.1.1: Analysis, Inquiry, and Design

Students will use mathematical analysis, scientific inquiry, and engineering design, as appropriate, to pose questions, seek answers and develop solutions.

Students will develop explanations of natural phenomena in a continuing, creative process.

Students will ask ” why” questions in attempts to seek greater understanding concerning objects and events they have observed and heard about.


Students question the explanations they hear from others and read about, seeking clarification and comparing them with their own observations and understandings.


Students will develop relationships among observations to construct descriptions of objects and events and to form their own tentative explanations of what they have observed.


Students will test proposed explanations involving the use of conventional techniques and procedures, using considerable ingenuity.


Students will know that tools can be used to gather information and extend the senses.


The observations made while testing proposed explanations, when analyzed using conventional and invented methods, provide new insights into phenomena.

Students demonstrate that it is helpful to work with a team and share findings with others.


Students adjust their explanations and understanding of objects and events based on their findings and new ideas.

Standard 4: Science

Students will understand and apply scientific concepts, principles, and theories pertaining to the physical setting ad living environment and recognize the historical development of ideas in science.


The Earth and celestial phenomena can be described by principles of relative motion and perspective.

Students know that short-term weather conditions can change daily and weather patterns can change over the seasons.


Many of the phenomena that we observe on Earth involve interactions among components of air, water, and land.

Students know that water can be a liquid or solid and can be made to change from one form to the other, but the amount of water stays the same.

Standard 5: Technology

Students will apply technological knowledge and skills to design, construct, use, and evaluate products and systems to satisfy human and environmental needs.


Engineering design is an iterative process involving modeling and optimization used to develop technological solutions to problems within given constraints.

Students generate ideas for possible solutions to a problem, individually and through group activity. (Investigating/Questioning/Predicting)


Tools, Resources, and Technological Processes

Students know that tools can be used to observe, measure, make things, and do things better or more easily.


Computers as tools for design, modeling, information processing, communication, and system control, have greatly increased human productivity and knowledge.

Students use the computer as a tool for generating and drawing ideas.

Standard 1: Language for Information and Understanding

Students will read, write, listen, and speak for information and understanding. As listeners and readers, students will collect data, facts, and ideas: discover relationships, concepts, and generalizations; and use knowledge generated from oral, written, and electronically produced texts. As speakers and writers, they will use oral and written language to acquire, interpret, apply, and transmit information.


Listening and Reading

Students will use strategies for note-taking and organizing and categorizing information.


Speaking and Writing

Students will present information in a variety of oral and written forms (e.g. summaries, paraphrases, brief reports, stories, posters, and charts.

Standard 2: Language for Literary Response and Expression

As speakers and writers, students will use oral and written self-expression and artistic creation.


Students will apply reading skills to a variety of literary passages and texts.

Standard 4: Language for Social Interaction


Listening and Speaking

Students will respond to questions and feedback about own presentations.

Students will evaluate own and others’ effectiveness in group discussions and in formal presentations.


Students clearly express thoughts and views in conversations.

Learning Experiences

Note: The teacher should refer to the extensive “Teacher Resource” section at the end of this unit to assist in their preparations. The locations for acquiring the included graphic organizers, teaching strategies, cooperative learning behaviors, rubrics, and additional information about how to incorporate technology into the classroom are listed with addresses, Fax, and ISBN to make this unit more user friendly All of these references were utilized in the creation of this unit.

Declarative Knowledge

Learning Experience 1: (90 minutes)

The student will know or understandExperiences & Activities:Strategies:
Concept: Weather is the name given to the changing conditions of the atmosphere, or air, which surrounds the Earth.Science Horizons, Silver Burdett Ginn, 1993Chapter 9: “Predictingthe Weather” p.p. 306-312Reciprocal Teaching (DOL adaptation p. 59.) Cooperative Reading Groups
Leader’s quide with post-reading ques.
Teacher Generated.
Summary Graphic
Organizer (Key Points/Key Points)
In My Own Words
Weather Log Rubric

What will be done:

The class will be divided into 4 cooperative reading groups. The designated reader will orally read a short section of a passage. Another student will be responsible for summarizing what has been read. As the teacher moves from group to group, she/he will model this practice and point out clues (important items/topic sentences) that aid in the construction of good summaries. The leader of the group will then ask some questions concerning important information in the passage which has been designated by the teacher in the leader’s written guide. Other students discuss and answer the questions, referring to the text to clarify points of contention. The recorder charts key ideas on large chart paper as the students identify them. Once the key ideas have been identified, speakers share the group’s results in large groups. Teacher checks for understanding and students record key ideas on their summary sheets and write their own personal summaries in their own words in their “Weather Learning Logs” using the writing rubric as a guide. Reflection time is provided for students to review their entries, self-evaluate, and edit.

Learning Experience 2: (90 Minutes)

The student will know or understand:Experiences & Activities:Strategies:
The four components of weather are humidity, temperature,pressure, and windFilm: “Weather: Air In Action Series” Temperature, Wind, Pressure, and Humidity. (22638 VHS color 14 min.) Text: 206 -212“From Topics to Key Concepts” Wiggins & McTighe
“Think/Share” Quads
Peer Coaching

What will be done:

The teacher reviews the procedure for using the “Topic/Concept” map. Each student receives a copy and a topic (temperature, pressure, humidity, or wind) in their “Quad” team. As the students watch the film, they take notes about their topic. The teacher will stop the film after each topic to allow “Think/Share” and recording time. At the end of the film, each student will write a summary using his or her text pages as a reference. When completed, each student will present their topic and points of interest to their team. These students will continue to remain the “experts” on their topics as they research their area on Internet Links working with other students that are researching the same topic during “Centers” in the morning each day, rotating through the computer center and the other experiment centers.

Internet Links:

  • (A comprehensive weather site with many links.)
  • (General information and resources.)
  • (Measuring weather conditions).

Learning Experience 3: (Independent Student Homework)

The student will know or understand:Experiences & ActivitiesStrategies:
Vocabulary terms:
Relative humidity
Air mass
Air pressure
Storms (thunderstorm, hurricane, tornado)
Weather forecast
Rain gauge
Cirrus, stratus, cumulus, nimbus
Fog, etc.(This list will continue to grow as the students progress through the unit. They will add new vocabulary terms to this list as they encounter them.)
Glossary Activity Sheets
(to be maintained in the tool student’s “Weather Log”)
Students create a study for learning the weather terms.
Students organize their list of weather terms into categories, e.g. forecasting devices, types of clouds, weather map information, etc. Students can brain-storm possible categories.

What will be done:

Independent work (homework): Students will use their glossary sheets to record each term displayed on the word wall as they are encountered in the unit. The students will write a definition for each term and create a study tool for learning these terms, e.g. pictionary, flash cards, vocabulary wheels.

As the word wall expands with weather related terms, the teacher can review and extend the student’s knowledge by playing a simple category game where each student is given a card with a weather related vocabulary term. The students are asked to consider the category in which the term belongs. Then they must search for others who fit into the same group. Play stops when most of the students have come together. Each group identifies its items and explains why the terms go together. The remaining students, who have yet to find a group, are coached to identify what group they belong to or why they do not fit in any of the available groups. This is a great warm-up activity because it encourages physical movement. Another technique to make review and renewal fun is to have students line up before it is time to prepare for dismissal or even to enter the room in the morning. Before they can pass through the door, they must select a vocabulary card from the teacher, which requires a description or definition of a weather term. Often this approach encourages students to be better prepared for school – not just writing the definitions but learning them.

Learning Experience 4: (90 minutes)

The student will know or understand:Experiences & Activities:Strategies:
Instruments used by meteorologists and how they collect weather data:
pschrometer-relative humidity
barometer-air pressure
weather vane/wind
sock-wind direction
anemometer-wind guage
VHS-teacher recorded TV weather forecastVHS-“Weather Watch” 15 min. 25172 color (Tools used by meteorologists)Weather LogsAdvanced Organizer
(Instrument-What/Purpose-Why/ Procedure-How) “Why Forecast Weather?”
data gathering organizer.

What will be done:

Students observe a local TV weather forecast. They are asked to record the key points and ideas that they observe the 3 minute weather forecast segment in their Weather Logs. As partners, students review and discuss what they learned and identify questions they might have. These questions are recorded in their logs. The teacher creates a wall chart with the data headings (temperature, pressure, humidity, wind direction/velocity, etc. The 3-minute segment is shown again and stopped periodically for students identify data and the teacher records their responses on the chart. Teacher hands out “Why Forecast the Weather?” worksheets. An overhead of a weather forecast map and symbols from a USA today newspaper is displayed. The teacher guides the students as they locate similar weather terms and information that was also found in the TV weather forecast. Students compare and contrast the way information is displayed by both weather information sources. (Venn Diagram on Board) Students receive another forecast and as partners, identify and record the data for that day on their data gathering organizers under each heading.

Daily homework assignments for the next six weeks will required each student to complete their weather data chart each day. Students can use a variety of sources, e.g. TV station/radio forecast, newspaper forecast, or one of the Internet Links. Those students who do not have newspapers or a computer at home, will have an opportunity to utilize the classroom’s newspapers and computer center during recess and task support periods (study hall with peer coaching/study buddies/Big Brother/Sister support services).

Learning Experience 5: (2 Hours)

The student will know or understand:Experiences & ActivitiesStrategies:
Weather instruments and how they are used by meteorologists.Guest speaker: A meteorologist from Colgate University. (Could be a meteorologist from a local weather station.)Partners/Peer Coaching
Advanced Organizer
In the “Weather Log”

What will be done:

A meteorologist will come to share and demonstrate how each weather instrument is used. Students will record what they have learned in their advanced organizers identifying each instrument, its purpose, and how it is used. Teacher engages students in a game “What Am I” where students take turns using their notes to describe the purpose of one of the instruments or a description and the other students try to identify what instrument is being described. The students will have the opportunity to experience each instrument in quad teams. They will edit their responses in their organizers with peer and speaker’s assistance. As a class, students identify which instruments they will need as they construct the class’ weather station. A team of students is selected to work with the meteorologist as the design of the weather station is created. A field trip to the Colgate weather station is planned for the next day. During this trip, students will observe Colgate students utilizing the different equipment and participate in their area of “expertise” as weather teams. Each of these teams will be responsible for collecting data from our classroom weather station daily for the next 5 weeks. Students will record any questions or concerns during this fieldtrip, which will be, answered by the college students before we leave their site.

Learning Experience 6: (Over 3 to 4 Days)

The student will know or understand:Experiences & Activities:Strategies:
Weather changes from day to day. Weather patterns can be recorded. Symbols can be used to represent the weather.International weather Symbols. Review weather maps in newspapers, books, Internet Sites that are book marked, e.g.
( homepage.twc.) ( wxnet/)
Teammates Consult “T-Chart”: Symbols/ Meaning
Weather Wall Study Aid
(weather symbols)

What will be done:

Students collect and become familiar with international weather symbols using various resources, e.g. weather maps from Internet weather sites, newspapers, video clips from locally televised weather forecasts, and the Weather Channel. As “Consult Teams” of four students, they share their collective information on their T-Charts. Teams regroup as a class and share their results. A study aid for future reference is designed, focusing on prevalent information and added to the “Weather” wall.

Extending & Refining Activity: Classification

As an optional activity, students are encouraged as individuals or as teams to generate a way to categorize and group the weather symbols and create “Symbols at a Glance” cards that can be used as references as they collect and record data at the classroom weather station or as they review weather conditions across the country on weather maps generated from the Internet Sites.

Learning Experience 7: (Over 5 Weeks During “Center Time” – 45 Minutes Daily)

The student will know or understand:Experiences & Activities:Strategies:
(ACTIVITY CENTERS)The formation of clouds, cloud coverage and relative humidityThe causes of several types of winds such as tornadoes, sea and land breezesAir pressure as a main cause of winds(Hands-on Experiments)
Cloud Cover Activity
Cloud In A Bottle
Moisture In The Air
Tornado In A Bottle
Blowing In The Wind
Making A Breeze
Learning Teams
Procedure Guides that model process in a step by step manner(3-2-1 Worksheets)
(3) What did I do?
(2) What did I experience?
(1) What did I learn?

What will be done:

Each morning, while the “news” team is collecting/recording weather data for the day, the other learning teams will be engaged in “Centers” where the above Hands-on experiments will each team as they rotate through each site over the next five weeks. These activities begin the second week into the unit and require 30 minutes to complete each task. These experiments will help students acquire a better understanding of basic weather concepts introduced during this unit. Cooperative groups make it possible for all students to participate regardless of ability level. Each activity has a step by step procedure guide to assure student success. Before completing their experience (3-2-1) worksheets, the team organizes and summarizes all steps in the 3-2-1 progression to clarify and to improve the individual understanding of each topic/concept.

Learning Experience 8: (45 Minutes)

The student will know or understand:Experiences & Activities:Strategies:
Why scientists in weather stations around the world make daily observations of cloud formations.Language Arts: Setting the Stage
Teacher Read Aloud: The Cloud Book by Tomie De Pada
Cloud Web for recording metaphors
Visual Illustrations
(Memory Aid)
Post-Listening Questions

What will be done:

As teacher reads The Cloud Book, the students record the metaphors for types of clouds. After the first reading, the teacher records the metaphors located by the students on the board. Students check their spelling and add any metaphors they missed. During the second reading, students create illustrations on their webs extending the images created in their minds by the words of the author. They complete the worksheet that has post-listening questions that help the students identify what they learned about each type of cloud identified in the story. Answers are reviewed and discussed in large group. Questions or wonders are recorded and placed on the “Weather” wall for future revisiting.

Learning Experience 9: (2 to 3 Hours)

The student will know or understand:Experiences & Activities:Strategies:
(Continue why scientists study clouds.)Science:
Software: “Windows on Science” (Optical Data Corp.)
Laserdisc (Computer for Computer-aided-video)
Internet Links:
(Gh)/guides/mtr/cld/home.rxm photography/index.html(photographs of categorized cloud types) mcema/thunder.htm (thunderstorm signs/warnings)
(Visual Repetition)
“Semantic Feature Analysis” worksheet

(Pathways to Understanding, Patterns and Practices in the Learning Focused Classroom, p. 34 Lipton & Wellman

“Paired Verbal Fluency” p. 85(Same as above)

Text: pp 319- 325 Science Horizons

What will be done:

Teacher shows students a section on cloud formation (Windows on Science). Students view the pictures several times, then identify the different cloud types and characteristics in large group discussion.

Students are paired (Person A/B) and take turns identifying/recording the features of each cloud category,

E.g. features such as shape, composition, distance in relationship to ground (height), and related weather. Students must reach consensus and use sources such as their textbook pages, Internet Links to support and confirm their answers. Students reassemble to examine and discuss their completed grids. They edit their responses and add this grid to their “Weather” logs.

Extending & Refining: Inductive Reasoning

Optional Activity: Individuals, partners, or teams of students can observe the sky for 2 weeks and identify types of clouds seen and the weather observed. Students form generalizations about making weather predictions based on a specific cloud using their observations to support their conclusions. These students are encouraged to share their data and conclusions with the class orally or in written format. Students will follow “Scientific Process” outline and maintain a record of their observations. Internet Links can be used to help students support their conclusions.

Learning Experience 10: (See Duration)

The student will know or understand:Experience & Activities:Strategies:
Why different parts of the country have different types of weather.Collect weather data using the following resources:
a. newspaper with nation wide weather.
b. the Weather Channel
c. Internet site:
Record data collected each day for one week for four or more US cities for high/low temperatures & Precipitation
Internet site bookmarked for easy access.
Chart for recording data.
Cooperative teams:
Reflection Chart
Guiding Questions
(teacher generated)
Color coding information

What will be done:

Duration: One week for research, 15 minutes a day and one class period for compiling data and building classroom charts.

Students (individuals and/or as partners) chart the weather (High/Low temperatures and precipitation) for one or more cities in each US time zone every day for one week using newspapers, Weather Channel, or Internet Link. During the week to stimulate thinking while she/he checks to see how students are progressing with the data collection task, the teacher has discussions about why different parts of the country have different types of weather. Using a large topographical map of the US, students are asked to suggest what might cause differences in weather. Students are encouraged to share their knowledge about possible causes as they are exposed to responses from meteorologists, especially those students using the Weather Channel as their primary source of data. Discuss how the Great Lakes affect the weather in that particular part of the country. Have students think about how the coastal cities compare with the inland cities at about the same latitude. Is the weather noticeably different on the East Coast than it is on the West Coast? Is the weather the same on both sides of the Rocky Mountains? What affects it? Encourage students to come up with their own ideas. After students chart their data for 5 days, they find the average temperatures and precipitation for each city. In teams of 4, students compare their charts and identify which areas of the country have the most and least precipitation. Color codes are used to identify their results on large classroom maps and keyed for explanation. Colored flags are placed and keyed to represent the highest and lowest temperatures for the group. Maps are displayed on the “Weather Wall”. Students roam and observe the differences and similarities among the maps. Teacher records what they have learned on a wall chart to be added to the map collection.

Learning Experience 11: ( Two 45-Minute Blocks of Time During Language Arts)

The student will know or understand:Experiences & Activities:Strategies:
The relationship between folklore and Forecasting.Investigation using weather folklore references:
The Weather Companion G. Lockhart (ISBN 0471620793)
1001 Questions Answered About The Weather F. Forrester (ISBN 0486242188)
Weather Wisdom: Facts and Folklore of Weather ForecastingLee (ISBN 0665532125)
Weather Proverbs: How 600Proverbs, Sayings, and PoemG. Freier (ISBN 1555610455)
The Old Farmer’s Almanac
Book of Weather LoreE. Dolan (ISBN 0899091652)
Rhymes to Predict the WeatherD. Haggerty (ISBN 091470305)
Yankee Weather ProverbsP. Miller (ISBN 0962806412)
A Book of Weather CluesD. Kaiser (ISBN 0913515116)
What Will The Weather Be?No. 2: Animal SignsH. Davis (ISBN0936015128)
Ghosts, Monsters, and LegendsSusannah Brad (ISBN0590208454)

Complete the activity worksheet: “Folklore & Forecasting”/ “Can Folklore Help Predict the Weather?”
Bookmark menu: with a bookmarks for “weather folklore/proverbs” ~jlblaes/general.html

Idea webs

Q-A-D with teacher generated questions

Triads(Students are grouped with one strong reader, a summarizer, a recorder which allows students to participate regardless of ability.)

What will be done:

Resources for the teacher can be found through “The Weather Shops – Books Videos and Posters” (htt://

Introduction: Teacher asks students to imagine what it was like before there were meteorologists to help explain the weather. To imagine that suddenly there was a terrible tornado. After it was over, all your friends and family tried to figure out what had happened and why. Students put their ideas into a web and share their responses with partners. (Teacher can substitute lightning, hail, rainbows, hurricanes, and snow for tornado.)

Using worksheet, “Can Folklore Help Predict Weather?” students are grouped into teams of 3.Teacher states that for centuries people have learned to predict the weather by observing natural signs. They match the first part of the rhyme in column A to the second part of the rhyme in column B. Each triad has a resource selected by the teacher to check and confirm their matches. Once this is completed, the recorder writes the type of weather that is being predicted. In this triad, there is a teacher chosen reader, recorder, and reporter with a balance of abilities. The triad chooses one of the rhymes and gives an explanation why it could be scientifically true. Recorders join and debrief with the class. Students regroup into triads. Using the resources available, they try to find a scientific explanation for the following sayings:

  1. A ring around the sun or moon brings rain or snow upon you soon.
  2. Red sky at night, sailor’s delight.
  3. A line of black thunderstorms out of the west means a twister is coming so hope for the best.
  4. Mackerel scales furl your sails.
  5. When windows won’t open and salt clogs the shaker, the weather will favor the umbrella maker.
  6. Wind from the northeast is bad for man and beast.

Each triad is given a proverb. They discuss and record what they think might be the scientific explanation for this folklore saying. Then they write their own saying, based on their own observations of the weather/weather data that they have collected. A convincing scientific explanation is developed for their saying. In large group, readers read their sayings and reporters give the response. The triad team responds to questions from the class about their response to clarify and support their position. The next stage, concerning this topic (weather proverbs/fact or fiction), will be addressed by addressed by Activity # 6 in Procedural Knowledge then followed the last activity in Declarative Knowledge, which is in the area of written language and extends and refines the knowledge collected during the Procedural Activity.

Learning Experience 12: (2 /45 Minute Blocks of Time

The student will know or understand:Experiences & Activities:Strategies:
How to construct support to convinceothers that their weather proverb is fact or fiction.Write a paragraph that constructs support for a specific position.Same triad groups from Procedural Experience
Review information/conclusions acquired from “analyzing errors” activity.

Teacher models constructing support rubric & parts to a constructing support paragraph.

Teachers opinion/point of view with evidence rubric.

What will be done:

Teacher uses same statement/information from Procedural Experience # 6 to walk students through the “Constructing Support” graphic organizer on the overhead. The statement is supported by 3 reasons, each of which is supported by facts. Students complete this graphic organizer in their triad teams. Teacher demonstrates how to write a paragraph (s) expressing a point of view with evidence, e.g. Topic sentence (states opinion), then the reasons given to support the opinion, followed by a closing sentence. Teacher goes over rubric. Guides students as they use the rubric to identify 2 exemplar examples of this type of writing experience. Students write their own paragraph and use their triad peers as coaches during the editing process. The rubric is also used during the self-reflection stage to assist in the editing/revising process.

Procedural Knowledge

Learning Experience 1: (3 to 4 Hours to Completion)

Students will be able to:What will be done to help students construct models, shape & internalize the knowledge?
Read and interpret a series of weather satellite images in order to make a hypothesis about the direction the weather patterns move in the United States.(Netscape) URL The Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC) at
Teacher makes a bookmark for the site so that students can easily navigate.
Teacher creates a task card to duplicate what students will be doing as a “student guide”.
Student Task Card: 12 written steps for students to follow from making an Internet connection to Completing the questions below the map of the US:Describe the changes in the cloud patterns.Was there a pattern in the way in which storms moved across the US? If so, what was it?Can you think of any reason that the storms might move in this directions?
Demonstration and guided practice provided by the teacher.
Students “self-evaluate” during debriefing session.

What will be done:

Students are placed in pairs. Students look at satellite pictures of US taken from a weather satellite and make a hypothesis about: weather patterns/storm movement. Teacher demonstrates steps in Student Task Card and provides guided practice as the pairs work through the process. Teacher brainstorms with students pitfalls in the process and how they might be avoided or corrected. Students follow steps and complete the map of the US and answer the questions about changes in cloud patterns/how storms moved across our country. Students “self-evaluate” by debriefing their results with a group of 3 pairs. Students identify how they could improve their skill and make a plan to improve.

Extending & Refining: Demonstrate Knowledge

Optional activity where students have a creative opportunity for further practice. Students track storms as they move over several days. Students bring up the satellite images on the computer screen or large screen projection device and video tape the screen as they explain the weather patterns. They create a teaching tool that they utilize during peer coaching stages.

Learning Experience 2: (30 to 45 Minutes Each Day For A Week)

The student will be able to:What will be done to help students construct models, shape & internalize the knowledge?
Use forecasting devices in a weather station to collect data to prepare accurate short range weather forecasts.Professors and students from Colgate University will be available as resources as students work in the weather station using a variety of instruments and recording information each morning for 45minutes.

Set of written step for each device (Visual Guides)
Guided support and practice over 4 days.

Presentation rubric

Fieldtrip to Colgate’s weather station
(This may happen more than once each team with their Colgate student.)

What will be done:

Students will be divided into 5 teams of four students. Each team will work in the weather station during “Center Time” for 45 minutes using the instruments to collect and record weather data. A student or professor from Colgate’s Earth Science Dept. will assist the group to assure students understand how to use the instruments and record accurately. On Thursday, they will act as a resource to these students as they produce their weather forecast for Friday afternoon, which will predict the weekend weather. To check for accuracy, students will maintain daily contact with a link from Weathernet for our zip code zone. The “Presentation Rubric” will assist the students as they organize their data/prediction sheets. Additional time to prepare the presentation will be arranged during recess and after school. A panel of peers will critic the presentation on Friday. They will be allowed to ask the presenters questions and must support their evaluation. The presenters will make suggestions for improvement. Each presentation will be video taped for the Science Fair.

Learning Experience 3: (2 Hours)

The student will be able to:What will be done to help students construct models, shape & internalize the knowledge?
Students create a book of clouds using KidPix 2Students refer to previously completed work sheetsthat identify the 3 major types of clouds and their different characteristics/weather connections of each type.

Steps listed on a checklist to assist students in Procedures using KidPix 2, e.g. drawing background for the picture, creating a cloud, labeling, creating a booklet or a slide show.

What will be done:

Students use their knowledge of the different kinds of clouds to create three cloud pictures to be made into booklets and/or slide shows using KidPix 2. Students use their booklets as memory tools for identifying clouds and weather related features. Teacher evaluates this tool for accuracy and expression.

Learning Experience 4: (2 Hours)

The student will be able to:What will be done to help students construct models, shape & internalize the knowledge?
Create a spreadsheet using “ClarisWorks”Temperature Log (Students record daily high temperatures.)
Step by step guide: On laminated cards that act as a check sheet)

Step 1: Log of weekly high temperatures
Step 2: Procedures to create a spreadsheet
Step 3: Procedures to create a graph.
Step 4: Procedures to import the graph into Word Processing
Step 5: Writing a reflection –clear expectations
Reflection Groups

What will be done:

Students record daily high temperatures, create a graph to represent the information and write a reflection of the activity in “ClarisWorks” using graphs with an explanation that indicates what was learned. Students share their results and discuss what they have learned in their teams. The teacher uses the students’ spreadsheets and reflections to evaluate student progress and identify those students whom require “reteaching” in a smaller group. Note: the partner option should always be available for students who need peer coaching to be successful.

Learning Experience 5: (2 Hours)

The student will be able to:What will be done to help students construct models, shape & internalize the knowledge?
Create a pie graph.Data collection work sheets: (Tally chart card with the headings: sunny, rainy, cloudy, snowy)
Partner option.
Students refer to laminated guides to assist in the creation of a pie graph ad importing the graph into Word-processing.
Share and reflection in work teams.

What will be done:

Students tally weather conditions for one month, create a pie graph displaying the results of their observations and write a reflection of the activity in ClarisWorks. Students record their tally on their charts at the end of each day. At the end of the month, students count and record the total for each weather condition. Students transfer collection of data to a spread sheet. Students create a pie graph then import graph into word processing writing a reflection/printing it and revising using a rubric for the writing process with a peer coach. Revisions are made. Teacher evaluates process and identifies if re-teaching/guided practice is necessary.

Learning Experience 6: (1 Hour & 15 Minutes)

The student will be able to:What will be done to help students construct models, shape & internalize the knowledge?
Analyze errors (a process of identifying and describing errors in thinking)Teacher “Talks Aloud” as she models the thought process of analyzing errors.
Students have opportunities for practicing this process using weather folklore and extending the process into personal life experiences.
Students work in previous triad teams from Declarative Knowledge Learning Experience # 11
As students use process, the teacher and media center technician guides each triad to focus on critical aspects and difficult steps of the process.
Teacher points out where errors occur in understanding, e.g. faulty logic, weak references, attacks, etc
Graphic Organizer for Analyzing Errors
Analyzing Errors Rubric

What will be done:

Teacher states that when we are influenced by flawed information, the consequences can be significant if we act in response to this flawed knowledge. Teacher reviews some of the familiar proverbs the from previous lesson and encourages students to identify how they would react to a partner: 3 minute Pair/Shares.

Teacher states that there is a process that will help them in analyzing errors. On the overhead, four steps are projected:

  1. Is the information I am receiving important or does it try to influence my thinking or my actions.
  2. Does something seem wrong with any of the information?
  3. What is wrong?
  4. How can I get more or better information?

Teacher models the process by talking through it, focusing students on the steps by using overhead transparencies. Each time the teacher models the process, a different type of error is included. This will help increase the students understanding of the types of error to look for when they are receiving information.

Teacher walks students through a graphic organizer for analyzing errors. She/He gives a weather proverb or statement such as :

Animals are supersensitive to the changes of weather because they live closer to nature than man; therefore their behaviors can be observable predictors of future weather. Example: The study of squirrels can provide a clue as to the coming season’s weather.

Teacher guides students through process to determine if this information is important or intended to persuade? If yes, students identify what is wrong with the thinking underlying the information. Is it faulty logic, weak references, attacks, or misinformation. Students then research asking for more information. Teacher directs them to a resource, 1001 Questions Answered About the Weather by Frank H. Forrester, pp. 278-281.

Students are led to identify what information from the reference contradicts the statement. Students identify whether it is an over simplification, or whether the second statement is simply the equivalent of the original claim or was the statement an argument from ignorance/weak reference or simply misinformation.

As triads, students are given statements to analyze for errors. They use the step by step teacher guide and graphic organizer to assist them in collecting the necessary information to respond to the statement in a summarized document.


  1. The ground hog is a reliable forecaster. When it comes out of hibernation on February 2nd. if it sees its shadow (the day is sunny), it goes back for 6 weeks more and winter will be prolonged.
  2. The severity of the coming winter can be predicted by the width of the brown bands or stripes around the woolly bear caterpillar in the autumn. If the brown bands are wide, the winter will be mild.
  3. The air temperature can be estimated by a cricket’s chirp.
  4. Excessive croaking of frogs or quacking of ducks can forecast rain.
  5. If March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, the rest of the spring months will be mild.
  6. Rain before seven, stop by eleven.
  7. Halo around the Sun or Moon, rain or snow soon.
  8. Rainbow in the morning gives you fair warning.

Learning Tools

How’s The Weather?

Task Sheet?

Name: ______________________ Date: _____________

  1. Make an Internet connection and start the Web browsing program.
  2. Go to BOOKMARK menu and select The Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC) bookmark. The connection may take a few minutes to complete.
  3. Click on the hotlink (colored word) for the 36-hour satellite images. This is a picture of the United States from a satellite within the last 36 hours.
  4. With a blue crayon or pencil, copy the outline of the cloud pattern shown on the screen to your map. Use the states as a guide and be as accurate as you can.
  5. Click the Back button at the top of the screen. This will take you back to the last screen.
  6. Click the hotlink for the 24-hour satellite image. This is a satellite picture of the United States 12 hours after the first picture.
  7. With a green crayon repeat step 4 using the 24-hour image as a guide. Use your pencil to draw arrows in the direction the clouds seem to be moving.
  8. Click the Back button at the top of the screen. This will take you back to the last screen.
  9. Click the hotlink for the 12-hour satellite image. This is a satellite picture of the United States 12 hours after the second picture.
  10. With a blue crayon repeat step 4 using the 12-hour image as a guide. Use your pencil to draw arrows in the direction the clouds seem to be moving.
  11. Quit the Web browsing program and close your Internet connection.
  12. Complete the questions on the bottom of the How’s the Weather Map page.


Note: The following 3-2-1 rubrics are adapted from my training with the McRel Institute in Colorado. See “Teacher Resources” at the end of this unit.


I help identify group goals, and I work to meet them.
3- I act like a leader to help identify group goals, and I work to meet them.
2- I help identify group goals, and I work to meet them.
1- I know the group goals, but I so little to help them or work to meet them.

I promote good group interaction.

3- I always promote good group interaction by saying what I believe respectfully and by encouraging others to say what they believe in ways that show that they care about others.
2- I promote good group interaction by saying what I believe respectfully.
1- I make an effort to promote good group interaction only when asked. I say what I believe without thinking about others.

I help identify and make necessary changes or improvements in the group process.

3- I act like a leader to help identify and make necessary changes or improvements.
2- I help identify and make necessary changes or improvements.
1- I help identify and make necessary changes or improvements only when asked.

I can perform different roles within a group.

3- I can perform many roles within a group and change roles easily.
2- I can perform different roles within a group.
1- I perform no more than one role within a group.


I express ideas, and I give support for them.

3. I clearly and effectively express ideas, and I give rich and vivid supporting details.
2. I express ideas, and I give good supporting details.
1. I express ideas in an unclear way or in a way that shows that I am confused about them, and I do not give good supporting details for ideas.

I communicate with different audiences.

3- I communicate with different audiences in a way that catches their attention and interest and in a way that relates to them.
2- I communicate with different audiences in a way that is interesting to them and that relates to them.
1- I communicate with different audiences in a way that, at best, only partially relates to to them.

I use several methods of communication and apply the rules of those methods.

3- I use many ways of communicating (e.g. writing and speaking) and I use these well. I correctly apply the rules of those ways of communicating in highly creative and imaginative ways
2- I use many ways of communicating and I use these well. I correctly apply the rules of those ways of communicating.
1- I use one way of communicating and I use it well, but I do not use others well; or I use several ways of communicating and I use them well, but I incorrectly apply the rules of those ways of communicating.

I create a quality product.

3- I create a product that is creative and that is better than what is expected.
2- I create a product that meets the expected requirements.
1- I create a product that meets some, but not all, of the expected requirements.


I determine if information being presented is intended to persuade, elicit something, or change behavior.

3- I point out subtle as well as obvious parts of the information that are trying to influence me and others.
2- I point out parts of the information that are trying to influence me and others.
1- I point out only some of the parts of the information that are trying to influence me and others.

I identify claims that are unusual or that go beyond what I know to be true.

3- I describe claims that are obvious as well as those that others miss.
2- I describe obvious claims.
1- I describe only some of the obvious.

I analyze the unusual claims to identify any errors (faulty logic, attacks, weak references, and misinformation) in them.

3- I thoroughly review the claims: I accurately identify errors in them. I find errors that others miss. I describe the errors thoroughly and accurately.
2- I review the claims. I accurately identify and describe errors in them.
1- I consider the claims only briefly, and I do not thoroughly review them. I identify and describe only a few of the most obvious errors in the claims.

When appropriate, I ask for clarification or more accurate information.

3- I seek out information that I need to clarify a claim or correct an error. I continue to ask questions or seek out information even when the answers or new information are confusing.
2- I ask questions to clarify a claim or correct an error.
3- I ask some questions to clarify a claim or correct an error

Constructing Support

I make a claim based on observations or evidence.

3- I make a statement that needs to be supported with more information. My statement is based on observations or evidence that I have carefully and thoroughly considered.
2- I make a statement that needs to be supported with more information. My statement is based on observations or evidence.
1- I make a statement that needs to be supported with more information. My statement is not well thought out.

I provide information that elaborates on or explains the claim.

3- I use clear, complete, relevant, and convincing information and examples to support and explain my statement. I know what information and examples are missing, and I explain how this might affect someone evaluating my statement.
2- I use enough clear and relevant information and examples to support and explain my statement.
1- I use some relevant information and examples to support and explain my statement, but I use some that are not relevant.

I qualify or restrict a claim.

3- I carefully give relevant and well-thought-out information that explains my original statement or explains situations in which it does not apply. As a result, my statement is well supported.
2- I give relevant information that explains my original statement or explains situations in which it does not apply.
1- I give information to explain my original statement or to explain situations in which it does not apply that shows that I misunderstand the topic.

Weather Log Rubric

4 PointsEntries highly developed. Ideas are clearly elaborated and fully supported with relevant details. Language is lively and descriptive. Meaningful connections made between ideas.Clearly and completely records a personal response to specific experience, event, observation, etc.Superior editing. No more than two errors per page in the following areas:PunctuationCapitalizationSpelling  
3 PointsEntries well developed. Presents ideas clearly with some supporting details or examples. Main points are connected.Clearly records a personal response to specific event, experience, observation, etc. Response may be missing details.Careful editing. No more than three errors per page in the following areas:SentencestructureRun on/fragmentVerb usage 
2 PointsMost entries are developed. Ideas presented with a few supporting details. May wander occasionally from topic.Personal response to specific event, observation, experience is somewhat unclearly recorded.Some editing present. No more than five errors per page in the following areas:SpellingSubject/verbagreementSentenceStructureRun on/fragmentCapitalization
1 PointEntries are limited. Ideas are difficult to follow and lack sufficient supporting details. Difficult to understand.Response is a “re-telling” of the experience, observation, event, etc. with no personal reaction given.Careless editing. More than 5 errors per page in all the above stated areas.

Summary Rubric

4 PointsAccurately presents each important idea in the most logical order.Presents only the essential information without giving extensive details.Constructs a clear specific conclusion that effectively brings the summary to a close.
3 PointsAccurately presents the important ideas in an appropriate order.Presents the essential information but gives several unnecessary details.Constructs a specific conclusion that brings the summary to a close.
2 PointsPresents most of the important ideas in an appropriate order.Presents the essential information but also gives many unnecessary details.Constructs a conclusion that does not effectively bring the summary to a close.
1 PointPresents a few of the key ideas but there is no logical order.Presents some essential information but far too many unnecessary details.Constructs a sentence that is clearly not a conclusion to the summary.

Point of View With Evidence

4 PointsClearly, completely states an opinion/point of view on an issue or topic. May show deeper insight into the issue or topic.Effectively and accurately organizes the material in the most appropriate pattern. Provides well-developed and logical support for opinions or point of view.Constructs a clear specific conclusion that follows logically from the original opinion or point of view.
3 PointsClearly states an opinion or a point of view on an issue or topic.Accurately organizes the material in the most appropriate pattern. Provides logical support(examples, details, reasons) for opinion or point of view.Constructs a specific conclusion that follows logically from the original opinion or point of view.
2 PointsStates an opinion or a point of view on an issue or a topic but it may not be stated as clearly as it should be.Accurately organizes the material into a pattern but the pattern is not the most appropriate. Provides some support for point of view but also has some illogical support.Constructs a conclusion that is unclear in light of the original opinion or point of view.
1 PointStates no opinion or point of view on an issue or topic or states one so unclearly the position is unknown.Material is not organized into any type of pattern. Provides little if any support for opinion or point of view.Constructs no concluding statement.

Culminating Performance

Students will select one of the following performance tasks. The description of each task and accompanying rubric will assist students as they make their selection and during the its performance. Note that each task extends and refines a previous learning experience during the unit. They are fine-tuning the skills and knowledge they have learned throughout this weather unit. Each task is purposefully authentic. Also, students can choose to work independently, in a pair or team. If in a pair or team, each member will evaluate his/her peer (s) when the task is completed.

Performance Task Selection #1

Setting & Role:

You are an author of children’s literature and instructional textbooks at a publishing house in New York City.


The goal is to write and illustrate an instructional story or text that will teacher a second grade student a concept that you have learned during this weather unit.

Product & Purpose:

The concept being taught will be accurate and clearly developed in an interesting and engaging format that is appropriate for a second grade student. Your illustrations will enhance the message for your intended audience.


Your design and writing form, e.g. the level of written language/vocabulary you use, will be understood by a child in the second grade.

Criteria for Success:

Your book/text must:

  1. present a clear and accurate weather concept.
  2. engage and interest intended audience by its format/design/illustrations.
  3. demonstrate an understanding of the language and vocabulary used and understood by a second grade student.
  4. be “field tested” with your second grade partner before revisions can be made. (It might be a good idea to try your ideas out on him/her during your “brainstorming stage” of the task.)

Rubric for Culminating Task 1

4 PointsEffectively selects appropriate content for intended audience. Highly instructional.Presents the concept in a highly effective progression. Unique, inventive, appealing and accurate.Insightful communication with appropriate sentence structure and vocabulary for intended audience.
3 PointsWell-selected content for intended audience. Instructional appeal.Presents the concept in an effective progression. Interesting, clever, and accurate.Sentence structure and vocabulary is appealing and communicates message to intended audience.
2 PointsMaterial selection may need to be adjusted for intended audience. May be more entertaining than instructional although appealing.Concept presented is not clearly recognizable. Has limited substance. Does not fully engage the intended audience.Sentence structure and vocabulary have difficulty communicating the message with clarity to this audience.
1 PointNo match exists between the concept selected or the material for the intended audience.Confusing, misleading, difficult to understand the connections being made. Not appropriate for the intended audience.Incoherent. Beyond the ability of intended audience. Message does not compute!

Performance Task # 2

Setting & Role:

You are a meteorologist presenting a weekend weather forecast for a local television station.


The goal is to accurately predict the weather conditions for two days of the week..


You need to present a credible weekend prediction that is interesting and incorporates the previously gathered weather data that shows a weather pattern or trend over the four or five days before the intended weekend prediction. Your charts and maps must be accurate, colorful and use the international weather symbols. You need to walk your audience through the process that supports your weekend prediction.


Your proposed weather prediction will effect the decision made by the 5th. Grade teachers concerning taking their classes on an overnight weekend field trip to Highland Forest.

Criteria for Success:

Your weather forecast must:

  1. provide a clear and credible weather pattern/trend over four days before the designated weekend.
  2. interest, engage and inform you audience.
  3. show evidence that supports your prediction in a colorful and engaging format that uses charts and maps with the international weather symbols.

Rubric for Culminating Performance 2

4 PointsHighly prepared. Included all details. Highly organized and accurate information.Very articulate and clear speech. Highly creative & appropriate visuals.Highly creative.
3 PointsWell prepared. Included most details. Well organized and accurate information.Articulate, clear speech. Appropriate visuals.Creative
2 PointsSomewhat prepared. Some details. Somewhat organized. Some accurate information.Understandable speech. Useful visuals.Basic
1 PointUnprepared. Few details. Unorganized. Inaccurate information.Disjointed speech. Lack of visuals.Just the facts.

Overview of Differentiated Instruction

The design of this weather unit has attempted to provide differentiated instruction to accommodate the mixed-ability classroom by incorporating typical IEP objectives and modifications throughout the unit. These accommodations also impact those students who are struggling, such as providing alternate ways to access information, e.g. text and books on tape. Graphic organizers also help guide these students as they collect and organize information. Rubrics assist in providing a better understanding of the expectations of a task. and help the student reflect as they self-evaluate their progress and ways they can improve their performance. Extending and refining activities address the advanced learner encouraging them to stretch and attempt tasks that require higher level thinking skills. Expectations of these students are often increased as they take on greater responsibility as leaders and mentors of their peers in cooperative learning activities. The choice of culminating activities allows all students to select an area where they can demonstrate their knowledge and skills focusing on their particular strengths and style of learning.

Partners and teaming students provides the social interaction children need and allows for those students who have different abilities in the area of reading and writing to participate actively and contribute when they perform an alternate role in the learning teams.

Multiple approaches to content, process, and product are provided throughout this unit addressing a variety of learning styles. There is a balance between individual and teamwork since this unit is child centered. As a special education teacher, I can assure you that my students would flourish in this type of environment.

Teacher Resources

Rubrics: (Grade 3-5) Collaboration, Classifying, Analyzing Errors, Constructing

Support were adapted from Essential Learning and Complex Reasoning Processes, McRel Institute, 2550 S. Parker Road, Suite 500, Aurora, Colorado 80014.

Worksheets for the Weather Log: Classifying Chart, Key Points, Recording came

from Graphic Organizers Helping Children Think Visually, Kris Flynn, Creative Teaching Press, Inc., Cypress, CA 90630 (CTP 3330 Grades 3-6) and Personal Glossary came from: Graphic Organizers for Social Studies Classes, Daniel J.

Barnekow, J. Weston Walch Publisher, Portland, Maine (ISBN 0-8251-3769-3).

Reflective Writing, Learning Logs, Mapping, Cooperative Learning Strategies were

adapted from Tools for Promoting Active In-Depth Learning, Harvery Silver,

Richard Strong & Associates, Inc. (1-800-962-4432) The Thoughtful Education

Press, Aspen Corporate Park, 1480 Rt. 9 North Woodbridge, NJ 07095.

Paired Verbal Fluency, Walk Around Survey, 3-2-1, Here’s What! So What? Now

What? were adopted from Pathways to Understanding Patterns and Practices in the Learning-Focused Classroom, Laura Lipton & Bruce Wellman, Pathways Publishing, 229 Colyer Road, Guilford, Vermont 05301 (To place an order, call

(315) 655-8009 or Fax (315) 655-4809.)

Comparison/Contrast, Constructing Support, QAD, Summary were adapted from

Learning-Focused Elementary Schools:A High Achievement Project, Learning

Concepts Inc., Dr. Max Thompson & Dr. Julia Thomason, PO Box 2112, Boone,

NC 28607 (828) 264-1527/Fax (828) 262-5952.

Procedure for Analyzing Errors was adopted from Dimensions of Learning Teachers

Manual (2nd Edition), Robert J. Marzano & Debra Pickering, McRel (Mid-

Continental Regional Educational Laboratory), 2550 S. Parker Road, Suite 500,

Aurora, Colorado 80014 (303) 337-0990/Fax (303) 337-3005.

“Differentiated Instruction” background and approaches for application came from

The Use of Learning Maps to Integrate Reading and Writing Within the Curriculum, 53rd Annual ASCD Convention, March 21-24 1998, San Antonio,

Texas presented by Goals 2000 Team of Dr. Thomas L. Higdon Elementary

School, Mewburg, 12872 Rock Point Road, Maryland 20664 (301) 934-4091/

Fax (301) 934-1718.

Internet Links/Resources: “Kids as Global Scientists ‘99”, http://www.onesky.umich.Edu/KGS99/main/phase/.htm/ and “How’s the Weather?”/”Cloud Catelog” came from Internet for Teachers & Parents, (TCM 668) Paul Garcher, Teacher Created Materials, Inc. PO. 1040, Huntington Beach, CA 92647 (ISBN-1-55734-668-2) and “The National School Weather Network” ( which is a system whereby student record weather information and transmit it to schools all over the United States. In addition to real time satellite images, it allows students to closely study the data they collect.

Centers Experiments:

Science Wizardry for Kids (Authentic, safe scientific experiments kids can Perform.), Margaret Kenda & Phyllis S. Williams, Barron’s Educational Series Inc., 250 Wireless Boulevard, Hauppauge, NY 11788 (ISBN 0-590-69326-3).

How To Do Experiments for Science Fair Projects, Joann F. Thomas, 1996 (FS-62105), Frank Schaffer Publications, 23740 Hawthorne Blvd., Torrance, CA 90505 (ISBN 0-7647-0110-X)

Venn Diagram, Web, Mind Maps came from The Cooperative Think Tank (Graphic Organizers to Teach Thinking In the Cooperative Classroom), James Bellanca, IRI Skylight Publishing, Inc., 200 E. Wood Street, Suite 274, Palatine, Illinois 60067 (ISBN 0-932935-45-1).

Tools To Create A Science Unit:

Weather (Thematic Unit), (TCM 273), Teacher Created Materials, Inc., PO Box 1040, Huntington Beach, CA 92647 (ISBN 1-55734-273-3)

Integrating Technology Into The Science Curriculum, (TCM 2428) Paula G. Pattan, Teacher Created Materials, Inc. 6421 Industry Way, Westminister, CA 92683 (ISBN-1-55734-428-2).

Technology Connections For Weather, (TCM 2397) Jennifer Overend Prior, Ms.Ed., Teacher Created Materials, Inc., 6421 Industry Way, Westminster, CA 92683 (ISBN-1-57690-397-4).

Cooperative Learning Interactions came from Designs For Cooperative Interactions, Robin Fogarty, Skylight Publishing, Inc., 200 E. Wood Street, Suite 274, Palatine, Illinois 60067 (800-348-4474)/Fax (708) 991-6420. ISBN 0-932935-28-1

Culminating Performances were assisted by “Constructing a Performance Task Scenario” from Understanding By Design, Grant Wiggins & Jay McTighe, The Center On Learning Assessment and School Structure, 65 South Main Street, Building B, Box 240, Pennington, NJ 08534-2821.

“Culminating Performances: Creating A Meaningful Context”, Curriculum Camp 1998, OCM BOCES, facilitated by Sharon Storrier & Jeff Simons, Staff Dev. Specialist.

Science Textbook: Science Horizons, Silver Burdett Ginn, Morristown, NJ (ISBN 0-382-31837-4).

“Weather Rules of Thumb”, The Old Farmer’s 1999 Almanac, Robert B. Thomas, American Farmland Trust, PO Box 96982, Washington, D.C. 20077


Center for Instructional Support Madison-Onieda BOCES Spring Road, Verona, NY 13478

Further reading: How to Write a Lesson Plan: 7 Steps