Atmospheric Cycle Lesson Plan

Instructor: Christopher Sailus

Chris has an M.A. in history and taught university and high school history.

In this lesson plan, students learn about the basic factors that create the weather. They then use common weather measurement tools to note these factors and analyze them in a report.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Recognize the main factors that determine the weather
  • Understand how each of these factors is measured


60 minutes


  • thermometers, hygrometers, wind gauges, barometers
  • three case studies (created by you before class)

Key Vocabulary

  • weather
  • temperature
  • air pressure
  • cloudiness
  • wind
  • humidity

Curriculum Standards


Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 9-10 texts and topics.

HS-ESS2-4 Earth's Systems

Use a model to describe how variations in the flow of energy into and out of Earth's systems result in changes in climate.


  • Before class, gain access to the materials listed above. It's likely that another teacher in your building has some of these, if not all, so ask around and see if you can borrow them for your class. Alternatively, you should be able to find rather inexpensive weather gauges, barometers, etc., at your local hardware store.


  • Before class, develop three case studies which give measurements for the five weather factors discussed in the lesson. Each case study should end by asking students to describe the weather conditions the measurements are describing. For example, one such case study would look like this:
    • Wind: 10 mph. Humidity: 24%. Temperature: 71 degrees, Fahrenheit. Cloudiness: Clear. Air Pressure: 1021 millibars. Discuss in your group what do you think the weather was like the day these measurements were taken.
  • When students arrive, have students watch the video lesson Temperature, Clouds, Wind & Humidity on the Atmospheric Cycle
  • Stop the video at 1:44.
  • Write five bullets up on the board.
  • Ask students to raise their hands and name the five factors that determine weather.
  • Write them next to the bullets as they are named.
  • Once all five are up on the board, pair students with their closest partner.
  • Allow the pairs to guess what they think each term means and how it determines weather. Give students a few minutes to do this.
  • Watch the rest of the video.
  • Hold a short class discussion asking students to relate to the rest of the class whether or not they were correct in the guesses they wrote earlier.

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