weather and climate unit
0
-Earth Science Unit Guides

Weather and Climate Unit – Teacher’s Guide

Welcome! This post has been written with the intention of helping you teach an effective Weather and Climate Unit in your middle school science class. If you’re arriving to this page from somewhere other than the Teachers Pay Teachers site, this is the product that this guide was written for. Here’s how I teach using these resources:

Note: Items are listed in the order in which they would be used. Lessons are not broken into specific “days” as many of us have vastly different timings per class period. 

Enduring Understandings in this Weather & Climate Unit

  • The uneven heating of the Earth drives convection currents and weather.
  • Temperature has a large effect on the density of materials.

Teach

  • Convection Currents Google Slides
    After the density virtual lab, your students should be ready to jump straight into convection currents. Convection currents are foundational to understanding how weather and ocean currents work. There is a guided reading that corresponds to this lesson which will make a great homework or classwork review.
  • Global & Local Winds Google Slides
    Help your students apply what they know about convection currents in this lesson on global and local winds. This 14 slide lesson will review density and cover the key points of both global and local winds. There’s a guided reading which corresponds to this lesson which will make a great homework or classwork review.
    Use the winds color by number anytime after this lesson as a review or formative.
  • Ocean Currents Google Slides
    In this lesson on ocean currents, students will again apply their knowledge of convection currents. Hopefully they’ll see the connections between winds and ocean currents too. This 31 slide lesson covers surface and density currents and the causes and major effects of each. It may even be a good idea to split this lesson into two days, depending on the length of your periods. Again, there’s a guided reading which corresponds to this lesson which will make a great homework or classwork review.
  • Air Masses and Fronts Google Slides
    This lesson combines a lot of the learning from winds and ocean currents to describe the types of air masses and how they interact. Students will hopefully find this lesson interesting since it deals with local weather and its causes. This is an interactive lesson with a lot of opportunity for student engagement.
    After this lesson, use the corresponding guided reading as homework or review, and then the weather prediction task cards as either a second review or even an assessment. There is also a fun foldable which can be used to help student remember the various fronts and the weather each brings.

Practice

  • Density Virtual Lab
    I would suggest using this lab as a “hook” for the unit. Density has always been a bit abstract for my students, so I find that spending a least a day talking about density alone
  • Convection Currents Guided Reading
    Use this resource as homework or to reinforce convection currents following the convection currents presentation. I’ve often used these readings in class to work on close reading skills. You could also use this assignment as a station or a square on a choice board. If you use interactive notebooks, then I’d suggest printing these pages in a half size and gluing them in as an easy reference.
  • Water Cycle Guided Practice
    Generally my students come in already knowing at least a little about the water cycle. If your students have never seen it before, I might supplement this topic a bit more. No weather/climate unit is complete without at least a base knowledge of the water cycle!
  • Global and Local Winds Homework
    Use this resource as homework or to reinforce convection currents following the winds presentation. I’ve often used these readings in class to work on close reading skills. You could also use this assignment as a station or a square on a choice board. If you use interactive notebooks, then I’d suggest printing these pages in a half size and gluing them in as an easy reference.
  • Wind – Color by Number *
    If you need a sub day, or just a day to relax, then this is the resource for you! Coloring is a great way to find a chance to unwind with your students and work on building relationships. This resource makes a great review or could be used as an easy to check assessment.
  • Ocean Currents Guided Reading
    Use this resource as homework or to reinforce convection currents following the ocean currents presentation. I’ve often used these readings in class to work on close reading skills. You could also use this assignment as a station or a square on a choice board. If you use interactive notebooks, then I’d suggest printing these pages in a half size and gluing them in as an easy reference.
  • Weather Fronts & Air Masses Guided Reading
    Use this resource as homework or to reinforce convection currents following the weather fronts presentation. I’ve often used these readings in class to work on close reading skills. You could also use this assignment as a station or a square on a choice board. If you use interactive notebooks, then I’d suggest printing these pages in a half size and gluing them in as an easy reference.
  • Fronts Foldable *
    Foldables are another great way to get kids using their fine motor skills and incorporating a little bit of art into science. Again, if you use interactive notebooks, I’d recommend gluing these in! This activity can be used as a review or assessment.
  • Weather Prediction Task Cards
    Encourage your students to combine all of their knowledge with these weather prediction task cards. This is a difficult skill, but a great one to develop since it is one of the rare (in my opinion) standards in middle school science that truly pushes critical thinking. Break students into groups for this activity or

Project

  • Climate Project
    The climate project is a great culminating activity! This project is designed to combine students’ knowledge of the uneven heating of the Earth (latitude), global winds, and ocean currents to determine a location’s climate. You may want to spend a little bit of time explaining what latitude actually is before beginning this project, depending on how strong your students’ map skills are.
    I also might suggest splitting this project into 4 or 5 days
    • Day 1: Project Intro and practice determining latitudes
    • Day 2: Pick a city & research
    • Day 3: Researching & mapping ocean currents near your city
    • Day 4: Researching & mapping global winds around your city
    • Day 5: Conclusions & final notes

* resource designed for in person instruction only

Subscribe for freebies!

* indicates required

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts