Weather Map Activities for Middle Schoolers

Many symbols, both simple and complex, can be used on weather maps.

If you teach a middle school class, you will probably spend a few lessons covering the weather. Since weather impacts everyday life for people across the world, students should understand the basic elements of weather and weather forecasts. Meteorologists use many different kinds of weather maps as snapshots to interpret and predict weather patterns. Incorporate a variety of activities into your lessons to teach middle school students about weather maps.

1 Precipitation Map

Students can work in pairs to create a precipitation map, which shows the accumulation of rain, sleet or snow of an area, in inches, over a single day. Provide each pair of students with a blank map of the United States. Students can use crayons or markers to make this weather map, having each color represent a different level of precipitation on the map. Make sure students create a key on the map that shows how many inches of precipitation each color represents.

2 Weather Forecast Analysis

If you have a television in your classroom, turn to a news program and watch the weather forecast with your students. Instruct students to observe the weather forecast carefully and write down the types of weather maps used by the reporter. As a class, you can discuss the effectiveness of each weather map and whether the meteorologist’s explanations were easy or hard to understand. Students can always complete this activity for homework if your classroom doesn’t have a television.

3 Mock Weather Report

Arrange students into groups of four and have each group present a mock weather report to the class. This activity allows students to express creativity and work together to complete the task. Assign a different type of weather map to each group and give them class time to complete the map. Then each group of students can tape the map they created to the chalkboard and pretend they are weather reporters on the news. Students should be able to clearly explain simple weather patterns represented on the map.

4 Climate Map

For an independent homework activity, each student can create a climate map. A climate map shows the high and low temperatures of an area over a single day. Assign 10 different cities to each student and provide them with a map of U.S. cities. That night, students can go online and look up the next day’s weather forecast for each city, noting the predicted high and low temperatures in degrees Fahrenheit. Then they can label the map with each city’s corresponding temperature.

5 Weather Map Symbols

Weather maps often use symbols to indicate conditions like rain, snow, thunderstorms, wind and fog. Instruct students to each pick 10 symbols used on weather maps. For this activity, tell students to draw and label each weather symbol on a poster. Since the various weather symbols can get complicated, keep this activity at the middle school level and use only simple symbols. Hang posters around the classroom when everyone has finished.

Based in New Jersey, Kristy King has been writing since 1999. Her work has been published in "Stockpot" magazine and "Nibble" magazine. King holds a Bachelor of Arts in literature and creative writing from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.