In Mosa Mack’s Weather unit, students are led through a progression of three inquiry lessons that focus on temperature, pressure, and the corresponding weather patterns.
Solve: Wedding Weather Mystery + Vocabulary Mind Map Make: Model Weather Fronts Engineer: Become a Meteorologist
Students will contextualize weather vocabulary before helping Mosa Mack solve the mystery of why storms seem to have such different characteristics in different regions. (75 minutes)
Students plan and act out a model of the various factors that contribute to a weather front of their choice. (150 minutes)
Students apply their knowledge of weather and act as meteorologists to design a weather report that predicts and explains a day of weather in a region of their choice. (150 minutes)
Next Generations Science Standards
- Develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth's systems driven by energy from the sun and the force of gravity. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on the ways water changes its state as it moves through the multiple pathways of the hydrologic cycle. Examples of models can be conceptual or physical.] [Assessment Boundary: A quantitative understanding of the latent heats of vaporization and fusion is not assessed.]
- Collect data to provide evidence for how the motions and complex interactions of air masses result in changes in weather conditions. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on how air masses flow from regions of high pressure to low pressure, causing weather (defined by temperature, pressure, humidity, precipitation, and wind) at a fixed location to change over time, and how sudden changes in weather can result when different air masses collide. Emphasis is on how weather can be predicted within probabilistic ranges. Examples of data can be provided to students (such as weather maps, diagrams, and visualizations) or obtained through laboratory experiments (such as with condensation).] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include recalling the names of cloud types or weather symbols used on weather maps or the reported diagrams from weather stations.]
Science & Engineering Practices
- Developing and Using Models
- Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
Disciplinary Core Ideas
- The Roles of Water in Earth's Surface Processes
- Weather and Climate
Cross Cutting Concepts
- Cause and Effect
- Energy and Matter
- Each lesson in the unit has an Inquiry Scale that provides directions on how to implement the lesson at the level that works best for you and your students.
- “Level 1” is the most teacher-driven, and recommended for students in 4th-5th grades. “Level 4” is the most student-driven, and recommended for students in 7th-8th grades.
- For differentiation within the same grade or class, use different inquiry levels for different groups of students who may require additional support or an extra challenge.
- Students often think that the reason some areas of the Earth are warmer than others is due to its distance from the Sun. Emphasize to students using diagrams and models that the Earth’s tilt, and the angles at which the Sun hits the Earth is the reason why some areas on the Earth are warmer than others.
- Students often associate storms exclusively with cold weather, but there are a variety of other factors at play, including humidity and air masses. Use the comic as well as the informational review in “The Make” to emphasize these other factors to students.
- Weather Front
- Air Mass
- Wind Speed
- Sun Angle
- Simon Brewer
Storm Chaser & Meteorologist
- Powerpoints for Make and Design
- Vocabulary Cards
- Solve Student Handout
- Make Student Handout
- Design Student Handout
- Vocabulary Mind Map
New: RocketLit Leveled Reading
* To give our users the most comprehensive science resource, Mosa Mack is piloting a partnership with RocketLit, a provider of leveled science articles.
- Climate vs Weather in the Arctic
This article uses at the Arctic as an example of the difference between Climate and Weather. We also define Temperature and Climate Change, specifically talking about the data over time that's needed to show the Climate is changing. Even though temperatures change over the course of a year, that doesn't mean the climate is changing.
- Water Doesn't Just Fall From the Sky
To read this sentence, you need to look through water that's floating in the air as humidity. This article explains that you won't be able to see this water until the dew point is reached or as this water gathers in the sky as clouds.
- Rain or Shine?
In this article, students learn about the basics of weather and the patterns that we see. Weather is the way the atmosphere looks at one moment, but climate is how we describe what the weather is generally like all the time. Students also learn about seasons in different parts of the world.
- The Air Around You is REALLY Pushy
Right now, the air is pushing down on you. In the sky, how much the air is pushing will change what the weather looks like. This article explains the ideas behind low pressure, and high pressure and a front.
- How to Mess Up Your Hair
The only thing students might know about wind is that it really messes up their hair. This article talks about how uneven heating, convection, and the Coriolis effect work together to produce wind.
- Your Very Own Pet Water Drop
In this article, students read about the basic steps in the water cycle. The article discusses what causes most of the evaporation, how water drops gather together in the sky and why they fall back down to earth.
- The Hydrologic Cycle
This article is a more rigorous and thorough version of the "Your Own Pet Water Drop" article to introduce students to the Water (Hydrological) Cycle. This article details all the steps of the Water (Hydrological) Cycle and goes into additional detail to explain water reservoirs and groundwater.