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


Science/Strand V/Content Standard 3/Elementary
Benchmark 1
Describe weather conditions.

Benchmark Clarification

At any given time, various weather conditions occur on the Earth. These conditions change in a predictable pattern. Daily changes and severe weather can be observed.

Students will:

  • Observe weather conditions:
    • temperature
    • cloud cover
    • precipitation
    • wind
  • Distinguish among different types of severe weather:
    • tornadoes
    • blizzards
    • thunderstorms
    • hurricanes
    • lightning
    • high winds
    • droughts (students are more likely to experience this than tornadoes)

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


Science/Strand V/Content Standard 3/Elementary/Benchmark 1
Key Concept
Atmosphere is a blanket of air around the Earth; air is a substance

Attributes of substances

See Atmosphere (SCI.IV.1.E.1).

The temperature of air is:

  • cold
  • hot
  • warm
  • cool

Cloud cover:

  • clear
  • cloudy
  • partly cloudy
  • foggy


  • rain
  • snow
  • hail
  • freezing rain


  • breezy
  • windy
  • calm

Severe weather:

  • tornadoes
  • blizzards
  • thunderstorms
  • lightning
  • high winds (of greatest importance to students would be the dangerous impact of cold temperatures and wind chill. Wind chill and its effects should be included in the discussion of high winds)
  • drought


  • thermometer
  • wind sock
  • rain gauge


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

  • daily changes in weather
  • examples of severe weather


Science/Strand V/Content Standard 3/Elementary/Benchmark 1
Instructional Example

Benchmark Question: What makes up weather and how does it change from day to day, from season to season, and over long periods of time?

Focus Question: What are the daily changes in weather?

Students will keep a daily graphic representation of weather conditions including:

  • Air temperature — cold, hot, warm, cool
  • Cloud cover — cloudy, partly cloudy, foggy, clear
  • Precipitation — rain, snow, hail, freezing rain
  • Wind — windy, calm

The teacher will lead a discussion on the data students collect and help them to see patterns.

Constructing: (SCI.I.1.E.1), (SCI.I.1.E.6).

Reflecting: (SCI.II.1.E.1), (SCI.II.1E.2), (SCI.II.1.E.4).


Science/Strand V/Content Standard 3/Elementary/Benchmark 1
Assessment Example

Each student will compose a shape poem, weather story, picture, or cinquain (a five-line stanza) describing weather and containing at least three of the Key Concepts. The student will present his or her description of weather conditions to the class. The teacher will send a copy of the students’ completed project to a local weather forecaster.

(Give students rubric before activity.)

Scoring Rubric






Description of key concepts

Describes one key concept accurately.

Describes two key concepts accurately.

Describes three key concepts accurately.

Describes all weather conditions including severe weather or tools used to measure it.

Quality of project

Poor quality.

Average quality.

Above average quality.

Excellent quality.


Science/Strand V/Content Standard 3/Elementary/Benchmark 1


Climate Effects on Human Health: long term effects of how temperature, humidity, wind, and pressure affect human health.

Weather Topics: indexed weather topics in the easy to read format characteristic of USA Today.

Weather Animations: USA Today archives a number of effective and quick loading animated gifs depicting weather phenomena relating to air masses, air pressure, El Nino, floods, hurricanes, lightning, optical effects, seasons, storms, winds, and more.

Artell, Mike. Weather Whys: Questions, Facts & Riddles About Weather. Goodyear Publishing, 1995.

Cole, Joanna. Magic School Bus- Inside A Hurricane. Scholastic, 1996.

Cole, Joanna. Magic School Bus- Kicks Up A Storm: A Book About Weather. Scholastic, 2000.

Gibbons, Gail. Weather Words & What They Mean. Holiday House, 1990.

White, Nancy. Magic School Bus- Twister Trouble. Scholastic, 2001.