Strand V
Use Scientific Knowledge from the Earth and Space Sciences in Real-World Contexts


Science/Strand V
Content Standard 3
All students will investigate and describe what makes up weather and how it changes from day to day, from season to season, and over long periods of time; explain what causes different kinds of weather; and analyze the relationships between human activities and the atmosphere. (Atmosphere and Weather)


Science/Strand V/Content Standard 3
Middle School


Science/Strand V/Content Standard 3/Middle School
Benchmark 1
Explain patterns of changing weather and how they are measured.

Benchmark Clarification

Weather scientists/meteorologists try to predict the weather. They use a variety of instruments to measure weather in order to develop patterns. They base their predictions on these measurements and patterns.

Students will:

  • Use weather maps and satellite images to detect weather patterns
  • Use weather maps and satellite images information to write weather predictions
  • Manipulate a variety of weather measuring instruments to measure temperature, wind speed and direction, cloud cover, humidity, dew point, amount of rainfall, and other weather phenomena

Key Concept / Real World Context / Instructional Example / Assessment Example / Resources


Science/Strand V/Content Standard 3/Middle School/Benchmark 1
Key Concept
Weather patterns:

  • cold front
  • warm front
  • stationary front
  • air mass
  • humidity


  • thermometer
  • rain gauge
  • wind direction indicator
  • anemometer
  • weather maps
  • satellite weather images
  • cloud charts
  • barometer


Science/Strand V/Content Standard 3/Middle School/Benchmark 1
Real World Context

  • sudden temperature, pressure, and cloud formation changes
  • records, charts, and graphs of weather changes over period of days
  • lake effect snow


Science/Strand V/Content Standard 3/Middle School/Benchmark 1
Instructional Example

Benchmark Question: What causes different kinds of weather?

Focus Question: How do you interpret and forecast weather?

A local meteorologist could be invited to speak to the class as an introduction or to evaluate projects at the end of the unit. The teacher will introduce students to standard weather symbols. Students will track the movement of weather across a global map using weather symbols. Students will use this data to interpret and predict forecasts of upcoming weather.

Students will observe, identify, and record weather data using weather maps, satellite images, weather measuring instruments, and local weather forecasts. They will record their data in a data table.

Students will design and make one weather instrument.

Using their constructed instrument, students will design an investigation to show how that instrument is used to predict the weather. Students will share their tools and data with the class.

Constructing: (SCI.I.1.MS.1), (SCI.I.1.MS.3), (SCI.I.1.MS.4).

Reflecting: (SCI.II.1.MS.3), (SCI.II.1.MS.5).


Science/Strand V/Content Standard 3/Middle School/Benchmark 1
Assessment Example

From the data collected in the Instructional Example, students will work in small groups to formulate weather patterns and explain relationships. Each group will chart the patterns using weather symbols and use all gathered information to create a forecast to present to the class. This forecast should include weather tools, maps, and data tables.

Note: Changes in the jet stream can produce big changes over a short period of time. Lake effect snow makes snowfall variable. Summer precipitation is notoriously variable over a small area.

Teachers should be looking for logic and consistency in write-up rather than a total reliance on whether a forecast is right or wrong..

(Give students rubric before activity.)

Scoring Rubric






Accuracy of data table

Produces a data table.

Produces a detailed data table.

Produces an organized data table that is detailed.

Produces an organized data table that is accurate and detailed and includes a graph of the weather data.

Accuracy of weather forecast

Makes an inaccurate weather prediction without reference to data table or tools.

Uses tools and data table to make an inaccurate weather prediction.

Uses tools and data table to make an accurate weather prediction.

Uses tools and data table to make detailed and accurate weather predictions.


Science/Strand V/Content Standard 3/Middle School/Benchmark 1


Michigan Weather Conditions: most current weather reports and forecasts from Michigan's weather stations.

Surface Weather Map from Intellicast-see the location of pressure zones, fronts, precipitation, and isobars.

Midwest Temperature Map: color contour of temperature patterns.

Surface Wind Map: Color contour map of surface wind intensity; wind vector arrows are displayed to show the wind direction.

National Jetsteam Chart: undulations in the path of the jet stream are a main determinant in the type of weather we receive.

Weather Radar from Lansing: the closest location for receiving radar imagery of weather systems affecting the state.

Atmosphere/ Flight. Bill Nye Video. Disney Educational. (800/295-5010).

Down To Earth. AIMS.

Global Warming and the Greenhouse Effect. GEMS.

Wild About Weather. RANGER RICKÕS NATURESCOPE SERIES. National Wildlife Federation, 1993.