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Learning Experience/Unit



Understanding Weather and Climate Patterns

Course, Subject

Earth Science, Math, Science & Technology

Grade Levels

Intermediate, Commencement, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, 9th Grade, 10th Grade


Student logs should be checked for complete and accurate information regarding latitude, longitude, climate zones, and completeness of logged weather data for their assigned location. Student graphs of logged weather data should be checked for completeness and accuracy.

Review the concepts students have learned in this lesson.

Does latitude and longitude play a significant role in weather and climate?

What other features of North America and the U.S. play a role in weather and climate?

In general, what kind of weather would be expected for each location during spring, summer, fall and winter?

Was any unexpected weather recorded for a location? If so, what factors may have contributed to this unexpected weather?

Learning Context/ Introduction

This lesson will help students understand climate patterns in relation to different points in the United States. Students will choose or be assigned a location and use the internet to research climate patterns and predict climate for their specified location.


Continuous throughout weather unit

Essential Question

What factors influence weather conditions and produce climate patterns?

Instructional/Environment Modifications

Small groups (2-3 students)



Teachers should familiarize themselves with the following resources:

*Entering an email address is not necessary, only a zip code is required.

**Teachers should download and set up this free resource prior to classroom use.

***Alternatively, students could use local newspapers or other sources of U.S. weather data such as The Weather Channel

Teachers should prepare a list of U.S. cities or locations that represent varying climates and latitudinal/longitudinal coordinates for student groups. Each group should be assigned a location and a zip code should also be provided for each location. Zip codes can be found by visiting United States Postal Service.


Have students visit the Latitude/Longitude Position Finder to locate the general area of their assigned position on the U.S. map. Students should find the latitude and longitude of their location using this web-based tool. (Note that map features such as city names appear as students zoom in on a location.) Students should log the coordinates of their location.

Why would latitude and longitude coordinates affect weather and climate?

Print out or have students view the World Map with Latitude and Longitude. Review the general climate patterns that occur as latitude increases. Also discuss seasonal temperature variations. The main understanding is that areas further away from the equator tend to be cooler. Students should identify and log the climate zone of their location.

Why do many of the climate zones extend across multiple longitudinal lines?

Now that students have logged their location, coordinates and climate zones, they should visit and explore Weatherbug or an alternative source of U.S. weather data. Weatherbug enables students to view live weather data, forecasts, radar, alerts, and live weather cameras at numerous locations throughout the U.S. Students can view this weather data for their assigned location by simply entering the area’s zip code in the Weatherbug program. Students should record appropriate weather data in their weather log.

Students should prepare climatographs using their logged data. These graphs can be used as class presentations to demonstrate differences among the various locations and climate zones.

Reflections and Feedback

None at this time.

Student Work

In a teacher-led classroom situation, students should view lines of latitude and longitude on a United States map and discuss their purpose and the ways that climate and temperature vary with latitude, longitude, land features, and proximity to large bodies of water.

Related Resource

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