University of Illinois Extension

Teacher's Guide

The Treehouse Weather Kids is designed for teachers and students in the 5th – 8th grades. It provides basic information on weather topics such as winds, moisture, air pressure, seasons, and storms. Activities have been provided that are appropriate for classroom settings.

Illinois Learning Standards – 5th – 8th grades

STATE GOAL 1:  Read with understanding and fluency
B.  Apply reading strategies to improve understanding and fluency
1.B.3d  Read age-appropriate material with fluency and accuracy

C.  Comprehend a broad range of reading materials
1.C.3a  Use information to form, explain and support questions and predictions
1.C.3b  Interpret and analyze entire narrative text using story elements, point of view and theme.
1.C.3f  Interpret tables that display textual information and data in visual formats.

STATE GOAL 3:  Write to communicate for a variety of purposes.
A.  Use correct grammar, spell­ing, punctuation, capitalization and structure
3.A.3  Write compositions that contain complete sentences and effective paragraphs using English conven­tions.

B.  Compose well-organized and coherent writing for specific pur­poses and audiences.
3.B.3a  Produce documents that convey a clear understanding and interpretation of ideas and information and display focus, organization, elaboration and coherence

C.  Communicate ideas in writing to accomplish a variety of purposes.
3.C.3b  Using available technology, produce compositions and multimedia works for specified audiences

STATE GOAL 5:  Use the language arts to acquire, assess and communicate information.

A.  Locate, organize, and use infor­ma­tion from various sources to answer questions, solve problems and communicate ideas.
5.A.3a  Identify appropriate resources to solve problems or answer questions through research

STATE GOAL 12:  Understand the fundamental concepts, principles and interconnections of the life, physical and earth/space sciences
E.  Know and apply concepts that describe the features and processes of the Earth and its resources.
12.E.3a  Analyze and explain large-scale dynamic forces, events and processes that affect the Earth’s land, water and atmospheric systems (e.g., jetstream, hurricanes, plate tectonics).
12.E.3b  Describe interactions between solid earth, oceans, atmosphere and organisms that have resulted in ongoing changes of Earth (e.g., erosion, El Nino).

STATE GOAL 17:  Understand world geography and the effects of geography on society, with an emphasis on the United States
B.  Analyze and explain characteristics and interactions of the Earth’s physical systems
17.B.3a  Explain how physical processes including climate, plate tectonics, erosion, soil formation, water cycle, and circulation patterns in the ocean shape patterns in the environment and influence availability and quality of natural resources

Teacher Resources 
Web sites on weather education from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration  
Weather education and activities from the National Weather Service 
From the Weather Channel, provides information to many of the cable television based teaching resources, plus a variety of teacher guides for weather based topics.  
Weather and climate information for teachers.  
Center for Atmospheric Science, Illinois State Water Survey  
Weather information from the Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois

Teacher Activities

Make a Weather Video

Have groups of students develop a weather report. Assign each group a recent date, and have them research what the weather was that day (temperature, precipitation, clouds, etc.). Have each group make a weather map depicting the weather for that date, and have each person be a weathercaster, with each one discussing a different weather element.

Grab the Dogs

After looking through the section on storm hazards and safety, have students write what steps they would take if they knew a storm was approaching. If you wish, assign what type of storm hazard they should focus on – thunderstorms, flooding, hurricanes, lightning, etc. You can also have them be in an indoor or outdoor location.

Create a ‘weather log’

On a screen picture of the treehouse club, provide a place for inputting temperature, air pressure, wind direction and speed, overall weather, and precipitation – then be able to print out daily or weekly changes as a graph.

Make a Weather Proverb

There are many sayings that are used to help predict the weather. Some of these include:

When dew is on the grass,
Rain will not come to pass.

A morning fog that hides the sun’s ray
means the coming of a clear day.

Mackerel sky,
Twelve hours dry (A mackerel sky means high level cumulus clouds are present.)

A wind from the west means weather’s fair.
A wind from the east, foul weather’s near.

Red sky at night, sailor’s delight
Red sky at morning, sailor’s take warning.

Have the class try to come up with some of their own proverbs. They can be about everyday weather, storms, or other weather phenomena. Here are some things that may help students come up with some ideas.

  • Air moves from high pressure to low pressure.
  • A bright reflection from clouds north of the sun may mean colder weather is coming, while a bright cloud reflection south of the sun may mean warmer weather is approaching.
  • If air pressure is rising, fair weather should be coming.
  • If lightning can be heard, people should seek safety.
  • Warm, humid air in early spring or late fall may indicate storms will form.

Geography and Weather

Divide the students into groups, and assign each group a geographic location. Using the internet or other sources, have them research what the weather is currently. Use either the site from the Weather Channel  (, or from the National Weather Service (  Each group can then report their findings to the rest of the class.

Other Teacher Activities

  • Ask students to give the weather report to the class or create a weather report video.
  • Invite a local TV or radio weather person or a person from the weather service.
  • Note the various weather safety weeks and make a bulletin board for the school.
  • Research important historical weather events. What, when, where, who and how? How did it affect people?
  • Look into weather satellites. How do they help with weather forecasting? Who owns them? How long do they last?
  • Research weather instruments of the past. What was used 100 years ago compared to today?
  • Set up a weather station at the school barometer, rain gauge, wind gauge, and thermometer.
  • Another approach would be the gather local weather information off the web and have your own Treehouse Weather Club.
  • The Treehouse Weather Club could give a weather report with school announcements each day.
  • Have someone visit the class who has lived through a weather disaster such as a tornado, flood or hurricane.
  • Make a collection of weather sayings and proverbs.
    • For starters – “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky in the morning, sailor take warning.”
    • Clear moon, frost soon.
    • A year of snow, a year of plenty.
  • How does the weather affect our daily lives?

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