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Anytime you look out the window, you see the weather that's happening where you live. The weather can be hot or cold, sunny or cloudy, wet or dry. Weather changes as the months and seasons go by, becoming warmer in the summer and colder in the winter. It's helpful to know what type of weather is coming because this helps you plan your activities for the day. Knowing when bad weather is coming gives you time to prepare so you can stay safe and keep your property safe, too. Learning about the weather can be fun, especially when you get to do experiments

  • Types of Thunderstorms: Thunderstorms fall into three different categories, called orographic, air mass, and frontal. Frontal thunderstorms happen along the edges of weather fronts as they move through.
  • Clouds: Earth's Security Blanket: Clouds can form in lots of different shapes, some high in the sky and others almost touching the ground. Clouds are made out of water vapor.
  • Weather and Climate: Weather is what's happening outside during one short time, like a rainy day or a sunny afternoon. Climate is the overall weather pattern over a long period of time.
  • Lightning Questions: When frozen raindrops collide in clouds, electric charges happen that fill up the clouds. Positive charges on the ground attract negative charges inside the clouds, which leads to charges reaching down from the clouds in the form of lightning.
  • The Weather Game: Test your knowledge about weather by playing this game. Answer questions about the wind, clouds, rain, and more.
  • Interactive Weather-Maker: Use this weather-maker to set the weather conditions you want. You can play with the humidity and the temperature to see what happens.
  • Wild Weather Adventure: Test your weather knowledge by answering these questions about snowflakes, Earth's atmosphere, hurricanes, and more.
  • You Can't Walk on These Cloud Streets: When cumulus clouds form in rows parallel to the wind direction, they are called cloud streets.
  • Backyard Weather Stations: With a backyard weather station, you can record things like the temperature, rainfall, wind direction, and humidity to learn about weather.
  • Elementary Weather Teaching Guide (PDF): These lesson plans can help you learn about using your senses to make weather observations, using the scientific method to measure temperature, experimenting to learn about temperature changes, and more.
  • Build Your Own Weather Station (PDF): To create a weather station in your backyard, you will need to make an anemometer to measure the wind speed, a weather vane to see the wind direction, a barometer to measure atmospheric pressure, and a thermometer to measure the temperature.
  • Weather Forecasting (PDF): Forecasting the weather helps people prepare for weather that could damage property and crops, cause injuries, and affect what they can do outside.
  • Make Some Noise: Thunder! Thunder happens when the heat from lightning causes air to expand quickly, which makes a big wave of sound.
  • Meet the Meteorologist: Kids Watch a Weatherman at Work: A visit to a TV studio shows how a weather forecaster spends their day forecasting and reporting the weather.
  • How Do Meteorologists Predict the Weather? Meteorologists use tools that measure the wind speed, air pressure, and temperature as well as weather balloons, satellites, and recorded weather pattern data from the past to help them predict the weather.
  • Weather Patterns: Looking at weather over a period of time gives information about patterns that may repeat at specific times during the year.
  • What's the Weather? The weather can have a big effect on what you can do outside and whether you might face danger.
  • What Is Wind? Wind happens when air moves from high pressure areas to low pressure areas. As air warms, it expands and rises, which causes air pressure closer to the ground to get lower.
  • Learn About Clouds: Looking at the clouds can give clues about the weather that's coming. Wispy cirrus clouds often mean fair weather, while seeing rippled cirrocumulus clouds could mean a storm is coming. A sky filled with thick cirrostratus clouds could mean that rain is on the way.
  • Extreme Weather: Hurricanes: Hurricanes are strong storms that build over warm ocean waters. The center of a hurricane is a low-pressure center, and it rotates and gets stronger as the storm moves.
  • How to Explain the Weather to Kids: Clouds are made of small droplets of water that are floating in the air. As the droplets move and collide with each other, they get heavier. When they get so heavy that they can't float, they fall to the ground.
  • Weather Maps: Meteorologists use weather maps to track and predict weather. You can learn about weather prediction by making your own weather map.
  • What Is the Temperature? (PDF): Print out this thermometer and practice reading it to find different temperatures.
  • How to Make Lightning: This experiment will give you a chance to make your own sparks, which are very similar to lightning bolts that come down out of clouds.
  • Make Your Own Cloud: With a glass jar, black paper, ice cubes, tape, hot water, and a match, you and an adult can make a cloud in a jar.
  • Water Cycle Demonstration: Understand why it rains by doing a water cycle demonstration that helps you see how and why clouds form to produce rain or snow.
  • Introduction to Thunderstorms: Scientists say that about 40,000 thunderstorms happen every day all over the world.
  • Understanding Climate: Climate and weather can seem to be the same thing, but weather is the day-to-day conditions, while climate is the pattern of weather that happens over longer periods of time.
  • How Do Snowflakes Form? When a small particle of dust or pollen combines with water vapor and freezes, a crystal of ice forms, and it can grow into a snowflake.
  • Weather Lab: Choose an ocean current and an air mass in this hands-on weather lab. Your choices will create the weather for the United States for a day.
  • Track Weather Like a Meteorologist: Write down the weather each day to make a weather log of your area.
  • Bringing Rain Lesson Plan: This lesson plan gives instructions for making a water cycle mobile, which will show you how moisture moves into clouds and back down again.
  • Daily Temperature Graph (PDF): Print out this graph to record the daily temperature over a period of time where you live.
  • Climate Systems: Which Location Is Best for Me? With six different major types of climates on Earth, you could choose the place you live based on the type of weather that's common there.
  • Hurricane Preparedness: Anyone who lives in an area where hurricanes are a threat should learn what to do if a storm comes.
  • Weather Forecast Quiz: Take this quiz to see how much you know about forecasting the weather.
  • Effects of Frontal Lifting: If a cold front approaches and there is enough moisture in the air, it's likely that it will rain.
  • Wicked Cool Weather (PDF): You can learn a lot about the weather by just going outside and looking around you to see what's happening.
  • Weather Activities (PDF): A weather log can include writing down each day's temperature and drawing a picture of the weather for that day, such as a sun, a cloud, raindrops, or snowflakes.
Article written by Lexi Westingate
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