Lesson 5: Are weather forecasts always right?
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.
- 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
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
- Results from the last activity (Activity 4)
- Computer with Internet access.
- 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:
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.
- Have a class discussion in which students will share
what they observed after studying all of the
satellite and radar images.
- From the animated images, students should notice the
weather moving in one direction.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- After students have recorded their forecast,
students should go to the Weather
and compare their forecast with the one published.
- Students should describe why or why not they agree
or disagree with the posted forecast.
- THE NEXT DAY: Students should check
back the next day, and if possible, each of the
subsequent days, to compare their forecast with the
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
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
- 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
NOTE: The following instructions
also appear in Student Activities.
Activity 5: Are weather
forecasts always right?
Part 1: How do meteorologists predict the
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
Part 2: Are weather forecasters
- 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 /
- In the animated images, was the weather generally
moving in one direction? If so, which?
- How do you think this might assist you to predict,
or forecast the weather?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
How do your
predictions compare with the predictions on the site?
- Do you agree with the
forecast? Why or why not?
- 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
Part 3: FINAL CONCLUSIONS
Write a few paragraphs describing your final conclusions of this
investigative study. You should include the following:
- Introduction - basic information such as:
- School name, location, grade and/or subject area, etc.
- Main Body
- Name, place, and description of where you measured the
(temperature, precipitation, sky conditions, wind, etc.).
- Description of your investigation (e.g. what you did, how
- 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)
- What is weather?
- How do meteorologists predict weather?
EXTENSION: this last section can be completed over the next several days.
- 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:
- Which forecast was more accurate? yours, the weather web site, both,
- 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