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CareerStart lessons: Grade seven

LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

Learning outcomes

Students will learn how weather conditions can be predicted by observing changes in people, animals, plants, etc.

Teacher preparation

Time required for lesson

Approximately 2 class periods:

  • One class period for discussions and assigning project
  • One class period after two weeks to make graphs and discuss findings

Homework time once a day for two weeks will be needed to collect data.

Materials needed

  • Student handouts:
  • Overhead projector or white board and markers
  • Students may need:
    • Graph paper
    • Computer paper
    • Markers
    • Poster paper
    • Computer with internet access
    • Construction paper
    • Scissors
    • Glue
    • Cotton balls


  1. Put the following chart on the board or overhead:
    Data collectedTool used by meteorologistAlternative means of data collection
  2. As a class, discuss the following questions and fill in the chart:
    • What type of data do meteorologists collect? (Temperature, wind direction, wind speed, cloud type, front movement, amount of precipitation, type of precipitation, humidity, air pressure, etc.)
    • What tools do meteorologists use to collect this data? (Thermometers, wind vanes, anemometers, cloud charts, radar/satellite, rain gauges, psychrometers, barometers, etc.)
    • In what other careers would people need to know about weather data? (Forestry service, agriculture workers, construction, air traffic controllers, and anyone who works outside)
    • How could these people collect weather data? (You may choose to discuss these as a class or let the students have computer time to research alternative means of collecting weather data.) Answers may include the following:
      • Temperature: Observe clothing in the morning vs. afternoon, listen to cricket chirps
      • Wind speed: Use the Beaufort scale (see student handouts)
      • Wind direction: Notice the direction in which things blow in the wind
      • Clouds: Observe shape, color, and movement
      • Precipitation: Observe the type, how much is falling, and how long it falls
      • Humidity: Measure the amount of condensation, whether doors and windows stick shut, whether some plants close their flowers
      • Air Pressure: When pressure is falling birds may fly lower, cats may groom themselves more often, trees may turn leaves so undersides are seen, people may experience joint pain
  3. Tell students they will collect weather data at home. Have students select four different variables they think they could observe. Have the students decide how they will observe them, and at what time of day. Instruct students to collect data once a day over a given time period. (A time period of two weeks usually works well.) Remind them that they need data for every day. If a student has a conflict, he or she should ask a family member to collect data for him/her on that night only.
  4. Have students create a chart on which to record their data. They may choose to create a different chart for each of the different variables or one chart to hold all of the data together. They may use the sample weather log to guide them in creating their own chart.
  5. Several times throughout the data-collecting period, you may choose to check the students’ data. You can also guide the students in recognizing patterns in their data. (For example, increasing humidity may lead to a thunderstorm).
  6. When the data-collecting period is over, have students bring their data to class.
  7. Instruct students to put their data into a visual form (graph, poster, etc). You may have students post their results around the room to see if they can find any patterns over the data-collecting period. You can check the accuracy of students’ data using the internet.
  8. Conclude the lesson by leading a discussion about how this type of weather data collecting would be valuable in the careers they discussed at the beginning of the lesson.


Optional resources for more information on the topics covered in this lesson

Franklin’s Forecast
The Franklin Institute’s weather center for kids offers weather education and activities, including building your own weather station, learning about weather technology, and forecasting weather using radar images.
OLogy: Make Your Own Weather Station
Students can make their own weather station to gather data about local weather.
The Weather Channel kids!: Weather Center
At the Weather Center, students can find their local forecast, build their own forecast, and find out about careers in meteorology.
Weather Wiz Kids: Career Corner
Weather Wiz Kids provides information about becoming a meteorologist, colleges and universities with meteorology programs, and jobs in meteorology.

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Science (2005)

Grade 7

  • Goal 1: The learner will design and conduct investigations to demonstrate an understanding of scientific inquiry.
    • Objective 1.05: Analyze evidence to:
      • Explain observations.
      • Make inferences and predictions.
      • Develop the relationship between evidence and explanation.
  • Goal 3: The learner will conduct investigations and utilize appropriate technologies and information systems to build an understanding of the atmosphere.
    • Objective 3.05: Examine evidence that atmospheric properties can be studied to predict atmospheric conditions and weather hazards:
      • Humidity.
      • Temperature.
      • Wind speed and direction.
      • Air pressure.
      • Precipitation.
      • Tornados.
      • Hurricanes.
      • Floods.
      • Storms.

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Science (2010)
      • Grade 7

        • 7.E.1 Understand how the cycling of matter (water and gases) in and out of the atmosphere relates to Earth’s atmosphere, weather and climate and the effects of the atmosphere on humans. 7.E.1.1 Compare the composition, properties and structure of Earth’s...