Weather Scope
Table of Contents Using Real-Time Data Lesson Plans Implementation Assistance
Lesson 5: Are weather forecasts always right?
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In this lesson students will make a forecast for the weather for the next several days based on the graphs and data analysis from the last activity and real-time satellite images. Students will then compare the weather forecast with the actual weather for a given time period.

Students will:
  • Use information from radar and satellite images to make weather predictions for their area;
  • Check the accuracy of internet weather predictions;
  • Summarize important information and use written communication skills to inform and report;
  • use technological skills to share information with others.

Two 45 minute class periods to complete the activities however students may need additional time to write their final conclusions. Additionally, this lesson should be completed IMMEDIATELY after the two-week weather data collection period.

  • Weather Learning Log or Student Worksheet
  • Results from the last activity (Activity 4)
  • Computer with Internet access.

Teacher Preparation
  • LIMITED ACCESS: If technology resources are limited, you can access the weather web site previously and print the weather data or display the weather web site using a projector or television screen.
  • Weather related-topics:


Part 1: How do meteorologists predict the weather?
Lead a discussion on what tools meteorologists use to predict weather. The students may talk about the weather instruments that they made and used in an earlier lesson.

Part 2: Are weather forecasters always right?
After students have answered the questions in Part 1, tell them that weather predicting information that was once available only to experts is now accessible to everyone via the internet. Tell the students that they will now access the same webs sites they've been using in other lessons as well as other specialized weather web sites to look at radar and satellite images and try to predict the weather themselves.

  1. Have a class discussion in which students will share what they observed after studying all of the CNN Weather satellite and radar images.
  2. From the animated images, students should notice the weather moving in one direction.
  3. Have them make predictions as a group first about what they think the weather will be like in their area for the next day solely based on the satellite and radar images. After you feel they understand what to do, move on to the next question.
  4. In addition to satellite images, a general forecast can be made using wind direction, observations of cloud type (see Enrichment Activity 2: Cloudy Weather), and trends in air pressure. Students can also estimate the temperature range based on the changes in temperature from the previous two-weeks.
  5. Students should now independently or in small groups make predictions for the weather for the next four (4) days based for their city. They should consult their graphs and data analysis from the last activity in addition to the satellite and radar images. As an additional assignment, they can forecast the weather in New York and Sao Paolo.
  6. After students have recorded their forecast, students should go to the Weather Underground (back-up) and compare their forecast with the one published.
  7. Students should describe why or why not they agree or disagree with the posted forecast.
  8. THE NEXT DAY:  Students should check back the next day, and if possible, each of the subsequent days, to compare their forecast with the actual weather.

Part 3: Final Conclusions
Individually or in a small group, students can create a brochure, a poster display, a web page, or a multi-media presentation (i.e. PowerPoint, etc.) to present to classmates and / or the school community what they have learned by participating in this project. A suggested format is described in the Student Activity. You may choose to modify or limit the final product choices depending on your school resources and time constraints. Additionally, you should plan on a time when students can present their final projects.

Assessment Suggestions

You might want to consider the following categories and questions. These categories will vary depending on the ability and age of the students, as well as the time you allot for them to complete the project.

  • Appearance: Does the project show effort? Is it creative? Is the material well organized and presented in logical sequence?
  • Content: Is the information accurate? Are the concepts are accurately identified and clearly understood? Does the information show that the student learned what was intended?
  • Language mechanics: Did the student check grammar, spelling, and word usage?

It is also recommended that you develop a rubric to grade the final projects. The following are web sites that you can go to for guidance on developing rubrics. The rubric should be developed with your students so that they can help set the expectations.

Student Activity

NOTE: The following instructions also appear in Student Activities.
Notebook Top Left Corner  Activity 5: Are weather forecasts always right? Notebook Top Right Corner

Part 1: How do meteorologists predict the weather?
Discuss and answer the following questions:
  • What tools do meteorologists use to predict weather?
  • Are they always right? List several examples when they were right or wrong.

Part 2: Are weather forecasters always right?
  1. Go to the CNN Weather Maps weather web site and access the satellite and radar images for your country/region. After you access each of the maps, view the animated version.
    • satellite image for your region / country;
    • animated satellite image for their region / country;
    • radar image for region / country; and
    • regional animated radar image for your region / country.
  2. In the animated images, was the weather generally moving in one direction? If so, which?
  3. How do you think this might assist you to predict, or forecast the weather?
  4. In Part 3 of the previous activity, you analyzed the weather from the previous two weeks to look for trends. How do you think this might assist you to forecast the weather? For example, was the air pressure falling or raising at the end of the two-weeks? Did the temperature hold steady?, etc.
  5. Make predictions for the weather for the next four (4) days based on the graphs and data analysis from the last activity in addition to the satellite and radar images. Explain your reasons for your forecast.
  6. Once you have recorded your forecast, use a newspaper or go to the Weather Underground (back-up) and look at the forecast for the next four days. How do your predictions compare with the predictions on the site?
  7. Do you agree with the forecast? Why or why not?
  8. THE NEXT DAY: Check the accuracy of your forecast with he actual weather of the day? Was it correct? Was the weather web site's forecast correct?

Write a few paragraphs describing your final conclusions of this investigative study. You should include the following:
  1. Introduction - basic information such as:
    • School name, location, grade and/or subject area, etc.
  2. Main Body
    • Name, place, and description of where you measured the weather (temperature, precipitation, sky conditions, wind, etc.).
    • Description of your investigation (e.g. what you did, how long, etc.)
    • Description of each of the weather variables (temperature, etc.) and the tools used to measure them.
    • Summary of the observed weather in each of the three cities during the two week period (you can include graphs, charts, etc. for this)
  3. Conclusions
    • What is weather?
    • How do meteorologists predict weather?

EXTENSION: this last section can be completed over the next several days.
  1. Record the actual weather for the next four (4) days using the class instruments and the weather web site every day. At the end of the four days, answer the following:
  2. Which forecast was more accurate? yours, the weather web site, both, or neither?
  3. Were the four-day forecasts accurate every day or were they more accurate for the first couple of days or last couple of days? Why do you think so?

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