Weather vs Climate


This lesson explores the difference between weather and climate. Because students will need to have a foundational understanding of weather and climate before grasping the concept of what causes climate change and how it has an impact on the world, this would be appropriate for elementary grades 3-4.


Science Standards:

ESS2.D: Weather and Climate

NGES ESS2.D Climate and Weather Climate describes patterns of typical weather over long timescales

Common Core Standards:

Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

Recall information from experiences or gather information from print and digital sources; take brief notes on sources and sort evidence into provided categories.

I can statements

I can explain that weather is a measure of conditions over a short period of time.

I can explain that climate is an average of conditions

over a long time period.

Activity 1

Creating a collabrotive board to share ideas

Have students define the words weather and climate.  Add definitions to a classroom Padlet so everyone can see the responses. Students do not need to put their name on the definition they wrote.  Once everyone has added their definitions discuss the similarities and differences between them as a whole group. What are the some of the items that are the same within the definitions? 

Write down the commonalities and ask students how we might be able to find out the difference between climate and weather.  What might we do to answer the questions we have?

Activity 2

Have students pair up and research the difference between climate and weather. If your students have not conducted research before this activity, you may want to create list of websites with resources that may help them understand climate and weather, different links or videos. Under resources, you will find some examples of materials for student use.

Students should capture, in their own words, what they found out about the difference between climate and weather and come to an agreement on a definition to share with the class. Students as a team should add their statements to a class Padlet.  Once everyone has added their input ask each student to pick one of the descriptions that is not theirs that they think is a good definition.  Have students talk with a partner about why they chose this description.

Activity 3

After students have added their findings, as a group they should look at everyone's definitions for climate and weather.  What things were common throughout the definitions?  

As a group, write a explanation of what is weather and what is climate.  


Working in groups of two, students will create a two minute video explaining climate and weather. Using an app like Explain Everything or a video creation tool like PowToons, have student explain the difference between the two topics.  Students can also use a camera to record a skit explaining the difference, it doesn't have to be fancy, but does need to have the correct information.  Students should be able to identify that climate is an average of conditions over time, while weather is conditions over a short amount of time.

Additional Resources

Videos for weather and climate:

Websites on weather and climate:

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