Skip Navigation

Cloudy with a Chance of........

Time Frame

5 class periods of 30 minutes each

Group Size

Small Groups


Utah LessonPlans


This lesson helps students understand the various types of weather and learn safety tips for each type of severe weather. The students will identify factors associated with each weather type, make weather instruments, collect weather data and predict the weather.


  • Video:
    • Utah's Weather Wonders-KTVX;
  • Story: Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs
  • Index cards-one for each group
  • Weather Observation charts-one for each group
  • Viewing Guide for Weather Safety Tip Video-one per student
  • Poster board-two for each group
  • Markers-set for each group
  • Weather Station Packets (one per group)-supplies include
    • quart jar
    • straw
    • balloon
    • tape
    • dowels
    • wire hanger
    • 4 paper cups
    • thumb tacks
    • straight walled olive jar
    • ruler
    • thermometers

Background for Teachers

Students will need to have a basic knowledge of the water cycle and about the seasonal patterns in the weather.

The teacher will need to create a weather observation chart to be used in class.

Intended Learning Outcomes

  1. Observe patterns and report observations.
  2. Make simple predictions.
  3. Use instruments to measure.
  4. Record data accurately.

Instructional Procedures


Day One:

  1. Begin the lesson by reading the book CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS to the students.
  2. Afterwards have the children list the types of weather that were mentioned in the book. (Pea soup fog, tomato tornado, clouds of hamburgers, drizzle of syrup, etc.)
  3. Write the word precipitation on the board. Ask the students to define it.
  4. Have them list as many forms of precipitation as they can.
  5. View the ITV Science Series Video LOOK UP-Tape 4. View the beginning of selection 21- SNOW AND OTHER PRECIPITATION. Play the first segment that explains precipitation and shows the students how rain, sleet, snow and hail occur. Stop the tape after the animated graphic showing this process. This is approximately four and a half minutes into the tape.
  6. Have the students draw their own graphic showing how one of the forms of precipitation develops.
DAY 2:
  1. Bring a weather radio to class. Play the broadcast for three minutes. Ask the students to listen for 'weather words' that are mentioned in the forecast.
  2. Instruct students to list as many weather words and phrases as they can on a large index card. Encourage them to use the same weather terms as the weather radio. Provide materials for them to look up and clarify terms if they need more explanation.
  3. At the close of the class period, challenge the children to watch a television weathercast that evening and listen for additional weather words and phrases that they can add to their index cards.
DAY 3:
  1. Begin by having each group share their lists of weather words from yesterday's class period. Have them add information that they might have gleaned from the nightly newscast.
  2. Write the word 'meteorologist' on the board. Have the students define the term. Give a job description of a meteorologist. Get the students to critically think of all the activities and occupations that are affected by the weather. Discuss why it is important to be able to predict and forecast the weather.
  3. View the ITV Video Tape- Look Up Science Tape 4- Selection 23- WEATHER WATCH-PREDICTING THE WEATHER. The first portion of this video gives an excellent overview of various weather instruments, weather vocabulary and basic weather patterns that aid in predicting weather. The video also shows how children can make their own weather stations and shows how to make a rain gauge, barometer, etc.
  4. While watching the video, instruct students to look for the weather instruments and what they measure. Following the segment, divide the students into their cooperative groups and instruct each group to choose a particular instrument.
  5. Each group will make an instrument and use it to record weather data. Have packets already made so that they can begin building their instruments immediately.
    • Barometer: quart jar, balloon, straw, posterboard, tape
    • Rain Gauge: Straight walled jar, such as an olive jar, permanent marker, tape and a ruler
    • Anemometer: Wire hanger, dowels, thumb tacks, paper cups, tape
    • Thermometer packs: thermometers, charts
  6. Allow the students to construct and set up their instruments outside.
  7. Show the students how to record data on a weather chart and assign them to take readings from their instruments at specified times each day. ( It is recommended to let them record their data at least three times each day.)
  8. Continue taking daily readings for at least a week.
  9. Advise students that they will be using the data they collect from their weather instruments to create and broadcast a weather forecast of their own.
  1. Allow students some time to record their weather instrument data for the day.
  2. Re-read the segment of Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs where the weather turns severe.
  3. List the problems that happened, such as flooding, tornados, etc.
  4. Ask them what they could do to be safe in these types of severe weather.
  5. Show the video UTAH'S WEATHER WONDERS-A SURVIVAL GUIDE THAT COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE. This 30 minute video is produced by KTVX Weather. It is available in most schools or from KTVX studio.
  6. Give the students a viewing guide (available with video) that they will fill in periodically during the video.
  7. The video is broken up into several segments on each type of severe Utah weather. After each segment, pause the video and allow the students to record the safety tips that are listed on the screen.
  8. Discuss issues that are especially pertinent to your area.
  9. Following the video, allow the students to research severe weather by reading books or accessing the Internet. The following books are helpful:
    • STORMS by Seymour Simon
    • HURRICANES and TORNADOS, books by Hello Reader-Scholastic
    • UTAH'S WEATHER AND CLIMATE by Dan Pope and Clayton Brough
    Also check out the Internet sites listed.
  1. Play a previously recorded local television weather broadcast for the students. Point out the various component of a forecast: reports of the daily highs and lows, satellite maps showing the cloud coverage and movement, forecasts for various areas, predictions for the next five days, etc.
  2. Have the students listen for the weather vocabulary they have learned.
  3. Have the students again break up into small groups. Explain that, using the data they have collected with their weather instruments, they are to create their own weather television forecast.
  4. Each person in the group should have a role
    • reporter/broadcaster
    • researcher
    • map creator
    • graphics artist
    • other
  5. Encourage them to use the weather words and phrases that they have been recording on their index cards.
  6. Give them some time to write their forecasts and create their charts and maps.
  7. Have each group broadcast their forecast to the class. Encourage the students to speak clearly, loudly, and with eye contact. If you have a camcorder, you may want to let them tape their forecasts and then watch themselves on TV.
The next week:
  1. Continue using the student made weather instruments to record weather data for at least a week.
  2. Use the weather data to predict the weather.
  3. Make the students justify their weather predictions with observable evidence.
  4. Compare the student forecasts to professional forecasts. Evaluate each for accuracy.
  5. Relate the weather forecast accuracy to evidence or tools used to make the forecasts (e.g. it feels like rain vs. the barometer is dropping).


LANGUAGE ARTS: Extend this unit with a writing activity based on their reading of the story Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Discuss the characteristics of a tall tale. Talk about exaggerations in writing and when they are appropriate. Have the students create their own tall tale or have them complete exaggerations related to the weather. For example, 'It rained so hard that......', or 'It was so hot that.......'.

MATH EXTENSION: After recording their daily observations for about a week or so, have the students plot their results and then make a chart or graph. Have them use the same data to make two different types of graphs or charts and then decide which one is better for displaying that particular type of information and why. Have the students determine if the charts/graphs help them more easily understand and interpret their data.

TECNHOLOGY/RESEARCH: Check out the Internet site Earth and Moon Viewer. Observe weather satellites.

Assessment Plan

The teacher will assess student participation by observing group activities. Students will receive credit for cooperating, discussing, and participating equally. Assess group projects by giving credit for the appropriate use of weather terminology (including weather symbols and data in charts and graphs, for well constructed weather instruments, and for thorough, accurate collection of weather data. Full credit should be given for active participation in the group weather broadcast and for a weather broadcast that is based on accurate weather data collection and interpretation.

Ask the students to five ways that weather affects people's lives.

Ask students to draw and name an instrument that will measure the following aspects of weather:

  1. rain
  2. wind direction
  3. temperature
  4. air pressure


Barrett, Judith: Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

Original lesson plan written by LEE ANN PARKINSON.

Created: 09/28/2002
Updated: 06/14/2022