Keeping a Daily Weather Log


photo of tornado
Recommended Age: Later Elementary

This lesson developed by Mark Palmer from CAPS


Guiding Question:

How can I study the weather?


Objectives

Concepts:

Principles:

Skills:


Materials

PART 1: Creating a Daily Weather Log

  1. Handout
  2. Construction Paper
  3. Plain White Paper
  4. Yarn or String
  5. Scissors
  6. Crayons or Markers
  7. Hole Punch

PART 2: Recording Data

  1. The student's Daily Weather Log
  2. Space for the teacher to display the daily weather observations on a chart or blackboard

Room Preparation

No special needs.

Safety Precautions

Handle scissors and all other sharp items with care!


Procedures and Activities

PART 1: Creating a Daily Weather Log

Introduction

  1. Students will create their own daily log books for recording and keeping track of the weather.

  2. One of the most important jobs a meteorologist does is to observe and record the local weather at the station. This record is important for recognizing local climate trends and forecasting. If the log is to be useful, it is necessary to gather the data in exactly the same manner each day. The guidelines for this will be established in the next activity.

  3. A weather log should include the following items: temperature, dewpoint, barometric pressure, wind speed and direction, 24-hour precipitation total, current weather, and clouds. You might also wish to include relative humidity, monthly and/or annual precipitation totals or pollution information (if available in your area), or anything else you feel is appropriate for your needs. If you take more than one reading a day, be sure to add a column for time.

Activity

  1. Determine how many days your students will be keeping their logs and make the appropriate number of copies of the included daily log page or one you design. Trim or white out the Web links at the bottom before reproducing, two to a page in landscape orientation. Leave extra room on the left for binding. Cut (or fold) log pages in half before constructing logbook.

  2. Give each student one sheet of construction paper. Have students fold it in half across the width and decorate the outside with crayons, markers, stickers, etc.

  3. Give each student the appropriate number of insert pages.

  4. Show students how to place pages inside the cover, making sure they are lined up straight and up against the fold.

  5. Have students punch 2 or 3 holes about 1/4" in from the spine.

  6. Have students thread a piece of yarn through each hole in their logs and tie in a bow.

Note to the teacher: This design allows you to add extra pages later on. If this option is not desired, you may wish to staple the books together instead.


PART 2: Recording Data

Introduction

  1. As was mentioned in the previous activity, you will need to make your observations in a uniform manner if they are to be useful. One observation a day is enough for our purposes, but you may do it more often if you wish. Be sure to take your reading at the same time every day. Day-to-day fluctuations in the weather get lost in the "noise" if you vary your time from day to day. (Noise is the fluctuations in the data caused by variables or sources you aren't interested in. For example, temperature is usually lowest in the morning and highest in the afternoon.

  2. It is also important to take your readings in the same location each day. An open grassy area is ideal but not essential. Wind measurements should be taken away from trees and buildings. Thermometers should not be placed in direct sun. The barometer can be kept and read in the classroom.

  3. Once the students have learned to use the instruments and to make their measurements, you may wish to assign them the task of making the observations and measurements and reporting to the rest of the class.

Activity

  1. Teacher
  2. Student

Closing - Original Question

How can I study the weather?


Evaluation

  1. Have students share how they are going to use their Daily Weather Logs to help them study the weather.

  2. Listen for evidence that they understand:

Careers Related to the Lesson Topic


Let us know what you think!

Mark Palmer
University of Oklahoma
Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms
(405)-325-6079
mpalmer@ou.edu

Webmaster (Martha)


Prerequisite Vocabulary

Barometric Pressure
The pressure of the atmosphere usually expressed in terms of the height of a column of mercury.

Clouds
Condensation of water vapor around small particles of dust and smoke in the air.

Dewpoint
The temperature at which water vapor begins to condense.

Precipitation
The quantity of water deposited on the earth in the form of hail, mist, rain, sleet, or snow.

Relative Humidity
The ratio of the amount of water vapor actually present in the air to the greatest amount possible at that temperature.

Weather
The state of the atmosphere and conditions, such as dry or wet, cold or hot, stormy or calm, cloudy or clear.

Wind Speed and Direction
Wind is a natural movement of air of any velocity. Wind direction is the compass direction it is moving from.


Updated 18 Jan 01

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