National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Classroom Weather




Teaching about weather can often boil down to showing and telling...about tornadoes, hurricanes, flash floods, thunderstorms and lightning, blizzards, outbreaks of arctic cold, heat waves, and other extremes in atmospheric phenomena. Some students may actually be observing and recording temperatures, precipitation, clouds, and perhaps even relative humidity, winds, and barometric pressure. Others with high speed Internet access may be downloading weather data, including satellite imagery and radar information, from a variety of sources around the country and around the world!

As neat as all this is, does the information we gather about weather explain why it is happening? Can we teach our students to explain the processes they observe in a satellite picture, a radar image, or a weather map with plotted weather data? Can we conduct weather experiments in the classroom that relate to what we see outside?

One of the goals of Classroom Weather is to help teachers introduce atmospheric processes and the science of meteorology through experimentation and hands-on activities in the classroom. By learning a few basic principles about the air around us through classroom demonstrations, and extrapolating to the larger atmosphere, students can begin to explain the whys about weather.

Meteorology, as with any science, is meant to be learned through experimentation and observations, and the process of hypotheses, analyses, tests, and conclusions. Let us move beyond the "gee whiz" of weather to help our students use their imaginations to gain an understanding about the forces of nature in the atmosphere around us.