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Severe Weather Planning

Grade Level: Grade 4
Estimated Time for Completing Activity: 2-4 50-minute class periods.

Learning Outcomes: The student will research severe weather preparedness, then select one specific type of weather condition for which a final report or presentation will be developed.

National Standards:
  • Earth and Space Science - Standard D - Objects in the Sky: The sun, moon, stars, clouds, birds, and airplanes all have properties, locations, and movements that can be observed and described.
Virginia Standards of Learning:
  • Science 4.6 : The student will investigate and understand how weather conditions and phenomena occur and can be predicted.
  • English 4.1 : The student will use effective oral communication skills in a variety of settings.
  • English 4.2 : The student will make and listen to oral presentations and reports.
  • English 4.6 : The student will read and demonstrate comprehension of nonfiction texts.
  • English 4.7 : The student will write cohesively for a variety of purposes.
  • Students should be familiar with using the Internet for a literary search.
  • Students should have general knowledge of causes of weather
  • Students should have general knowledge of weather-related terms, such as precipitation, atmospheric pressure, temperature, etc.
Materials: List of Internet resources, Word-scramble worksheet.
Lesson Links:

When is weather considered to be “severe”? The National Weather Service considers a storm to be severe if it is “…sufficiently intense to threaten life and/or property.” An example of severe weather is a severe thunderstorm, which could include lightning, large hail, and tornadoes.  Sometimes the rainfall associated with the storms results in flash floods. Weather-forecasting agencies, such as the National Weather Service, may issue either a severe weather “watch” or a severe weather “warning”.  A “watch” is a message sent out by meteorologists when weather conditions indicate that formation of a severe storm, such as a blizzard, hurricane, or tornado, might be possible.  A “warning” is a message sent out by meteorologists when weather conditions indicate that a severe storm, such as a blizzard, hurricane, or tornado, has been sighted or indicated by radar.
  1. Generate a discussion about the type of weather that may be occurring when a weather warning or watch flashes across a television screen. Discuss the difference between a watch and a warning. A watch means that certain weather conditions are possible, and a warning means that certain weather conditions have been sighted or indicated by radar.


  2. Review weather conditions associated with severe weather such as storms, thunder and lightning, and hurricanes. Discuss their dangers.


  3. Pass out worksheet. Explain assignment and grading procedures.


  4. Have students refer to the list of Severe Weather Preparedness Internet Resources. Have them research what to do in case of severe weather. Have them select one particular type of storm (such as preparedness for hurricanes) and explain the characteristics of the storm, weather conditions associated with that storm, and what action to take to be prepared before, during, and after the storm.


  5. Students can select the type of format they choose to record and share their information. They can make a brochure, a poster, a news report, a video taping, etc.  
  6. When students have finished project, allow them to work on word scrambles worksheet entitled Planning for Severe Weather.
  • Invite a meteorologist to speak to the class.
  • Use MY NASA DATA to view data such as precipitation, air pressure, or temperature, for a pre-selected time-period when a severe weather event has taken place in the local area (or other area of interest).
Teacher Notes: Answers to weather puzzles
  1. pre Be par ed. = Be prepared.

  2. xtr a b Hav e e att es. eri = Have extra batteries.

  3. dio. n_o Tur n_y our _ra = Turn on your radio.

  4. Sto ck_ shl igh ts. fla = Stock flashlilghts.

  5. Sto re_ ate tle d_w r. Bot = Store bottled watter.

  6. y_i ndo ors. Sta = Stay indoors.

  7. p_f irs t_a kit _ne arb y. Kee id_ = Keep first aid kit nearby.

  8. Don' pet t_f et_ s. org = Don't forget pets.

  9. Gat her _me dic ati ons. = Gather medications.


Use a rubric for easy grading. A sample is below, but the rubric would be developed to align with the type of project selected by the students. Distribute the rubric to students, and go over the rubric ahead of time so that students will know the expectations. Fill in possible points to equal 100.

     NAME __________________________       Due Date: _____________________

     1. Type of severe weather selected ____________________________________
     2. Internet resources researched (must have 3):

 Topic Possible
    Selection of 1 type of severe weather with characteristics and weather conditions of storm 20
 Action to take in case of storm watch or warning 30
 Presentation 20
Researched 3 Internet resources 10
Neatness 10
Creativity 10
TOTAL 100 _________ %

Reference: Lesson plan developed by the S'COOL team.  Updated May 2011 by S'COOL team.

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