Out Teach
Physical Science
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Upper Primary
  • Analyzing and Interpreting Data
  • Asking Questions
  • Data
  • Earth Science
  • Ifthen
  • Math
  • Out Teach
  • Science
  • Stability and Change
  • Weather Station
  • Weather and Climate
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    Education Standards

    Using Weather Data Graphs -- Out Teach

    Using Weather Data Graphs -- Out Teach


    In this lesson, students will take temperature readings in the outdoor classroom, compare them to data from a graph, and discuss the numerical differences between the readings and the data.

    Before the Lesson/Set-up

    Out Teach logo

    Create or use a graphic organizer if needed.

    Key Vocabulary



    Mathematical Difference

    Guiding Question

    How are the current temperature readings different from the monthly average temperature on the graph?


    Discuss temperature extremes and make the information relevant to students:

    • Highest temperature ever recorded on Earth was 129 degrees in Death Valley California

    • A hot summer day when we might go to the pool is usually between 90 and 100 degrees.

    • The coldest that is gets in outer space is 455 degrees below zero.

    • For water to freeze, the temperature needs to get below 32 degrees.

    Inform students that they will be taking temperature readings in the outdoor classroom and comparing those readings to a data chart.


    Have students work in pairs or teams and spread out to take temperature readings in different areas.

    Have students compare their readings to data from the graph and calculate the difference.

    Questions for students:

    • What's the difference between the "F" and the "C" on thermometer?

    • Where do you think would be the coldest/warmest temperatures out here?

    • Why do you think there is a difference between the thermometer and the number on the graph?

    • How might the temperature change at different times of day? Why?


    Convene students and ask them to share their observations.

    Compile their data into a table on the whiteboard/chart paper and have students copy the table in their journals.

    Discuss the importance of organizing data in a table for scientific studies.

    Ask students what different things can affect the temperature.

    Ensure that all students understand how to calculate the difference in temperatures.


    Let students work with the same pairs/groups and have them guess what the temperature readings would be in the different places from the table during a different month of the year and explain why. For example, if a reading from the table stated that the asphalt temperature was 88 degrees in September, a student might guess it would be 78 degrees in October because the air temperature would be cooler but the asphalt would still be warmer than the air temperature. You are simply looking for a logical approach to making a hypothesis.


    Exit ticket: Have students independently calculate the difference in temperature between the warmest and coldest months on the graph.

    Background forTeachers

    This lesson provides a hands-on component to link the concept of weather a form of mathematical literacy: reading data. It can be especially interesting on a sunny day in a location where students can take readings from very different spots such as asphalt vs. grass vs. mulch. You may want to use regionally specific temperature graphs or even use several graphs from different regions to cross compare.

    Extensions and Connections

    This lesson can be connected with any other lesson in which students are collecting data outside: measurements of rain water, stationary objects, plant growth, etc.

    For extensions around temperature, you can utilize charts or calendars that recommend planting times/temperatures for specific crops and compare them to current readings and regional monthly averages.

    This lesson can be the beginning to continued tracking of the weather to compare patterns over time and for fluency with using weather measurement tools. This can be used to build a math component to interpret and create representations of data (bar graphs).

    Career Connections

    The IF/THEN collection is the world’s largest free digital library of authentic and relatable images and videos of women STEM innovators.  


    Adriana Bailey is an atmospheric scientist who studies humidity, clouds, and precipitation. Asking questions sparked her interest in scientific inquiry and gave her confidence to embrace what she does not understand. 


    Have your students watch this video for inspiration about pursuing STEM careers, and read this profile to learn more about Adriana Bailey's story.


    Thank you for creating a culture shift in how the world perceives women in STEM.