Weather Maps & Symbols

Subject Area: Science

Grade Level(s): 7-8

Duration of Activity: One to two class periods

Description of Activity: Students will use a weather map of their area, accessed from the Internet, to interpret current weather conditions. They will also design their own weather stations using the Paint application and analyze each other's work.


  • Students will use on-line weather maps to analyze and interpret weather conditions to include temperature, cloud cover, wind speed and direction; and possible types of precipitation.

  • Students will design a weather station.


  • Access to World Wide Web

  • Microsoft Paint (optional)

  • Handout 1: Weather Map Symbols
  • Handout 2: Weather Symbols Activity Sheet
  • Handout 3: Weather Symbol Student Checklist

Prerequisites (skills or background needed):

  • Students will need to know how to access the World Wide Web.

  • Students will need basic knowledge of Microsoft Paint.


Teacher Component:

  1. Teacher will familiarize students with weather symbols using Handout 1: Weather Map Symbols.

Student Activities:

  1. Using the WWW, students will go to NWS - RIDGE (Radar Integrated Display with Geospatial Elements) radar images / and select the region in which they live.

  2. Students will select the weather station nearest their home.

  3. Referring to Handout 1: Weather Map Symbols, students will interpret the weather map by answering questions from Section A of Handout 2: Weather Symbols Activity Sheet.

  4. Teacher will review student work for completion and understanding of concepts.

  5. Using the Paint application, students will draw a weather station to include temperature, wind speed and direction, cloud cover, and possible forms of precipitation. (To locate Paint, go to the Start menu, click on programs, click on accessories, and select Paint.)

  6. Students will exchange papers and interpret each other's work using the guiding questions from Section B of Handout 2: Weather Symbols Activity Sheet.

Accommodations: Teacher will accommodate based on needs of individual student.

Extension Activities:

  • Using 800mb, 500mb, and 200mb surface maps, ask students to identify active regions of weather (such as highs and lows).

  • Using satellite images, have students predict the movement of fronts or other weather systems for a 24, 48, or 72 hour period.

  • Convert wind speed in knots to miles per hour.


  • Technology

  • Social Studies

  • Art


  1. Teacher will evaluate activity using Handout 3: Weather Symbol Student Checklist.


Curriculum Frameworks


Seventh Grade

  1. Explain the causes of lunar phases, eclipses, and Earth's seasons

Eighth Grade

  1. Investigate atmospheric movements that affect the Earth's system

    1. Use weather maps for analyzing the predicting weather.
    2. Construct a weather map to forecast the weather over a region, giving temperature in degrees Celsius.

National Educational Technology Standards (NETS):

  1. Use content specfic tools, software, and simulations to support learning and research. (3,5)
  2. Collaborate with peers, experts, and others using telecommunications and collaborative tools in investigative curriculum related problems, issues, and information, and to develop solutions or products for audiences inside and outside the classroom. (4,5)
  3. Select and use appropriate tools and technology resources to accomplish a variety of tasks and solve problems. (5,6)
  4. Research and evaluate the accuracy, relevance, appropriateness, comprehensiveness, and bias of electronic information sources concerning real world problems. (2,5,6)

TerraNova Standards

19 Science Inquiry (Level 11-21/22)
Demonstrate an understanding of the fundamental concepts of science inquiry. Demonstrate the ability to perform science inquiry.

Through text, diagrams, and drawings, provide explanations of investigations, analyze investigations, and communicate results.

20 Physical Science (Level 11-21/22)
Demonstrate an understanding of the fundamental concepts and principles of physical science. Apply physical science knowledge to investigations and real-world contexts.

Through text, diagrams, and drawings, provide explanations of physical science concepts and principles.

23 Science and Technology (Level 11-21/22)
Demonstrate an understanding of technological design.

Demonstrate an understanding of how technology and science interact and affect one another.

Through text, diagrams, and drawings, provide explanations of technological design and science and technology issues.

Link and Feedback to Author(s):

James Colbert, Winona Public School District, Winona, MS

Kim Curtis, Houlka Attendance Center, Houlka, MS

Pam Hightower, Houlka Attendance Center, Houlka, MS

Misty Little, Tupelo Middle School, Tupelo, MS

Tammy Mauney, Booneville Middle School, Booneville, MS

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