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Lesson Plan

Weather: A Journey in Nonfiction

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)

Grades K – 2
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Six 30-minute class sessions
Lesson Author

Sheila K. Seitz

Alexandria, Virginia


International Literacy Association


Student Objectives

Instruction and Activities


Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • Formulate logical questions

  • Utilize print and digital texts to locate information

  • Comprehend nonfiction text to locate information

  • Contribute to a group project

  • Add an element to a group illustration that relates to the topic

  • Reflect on their learning process for the project

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Instruction and Activities

Session 1 - Explore weather

Introduce the topic by reading fiction books about weather (see Materials list-fiction). Have students generate a K-W-L chart about the topic of weather. As a class, list questions generated by students, then group questions by topics.

Possible topics: storms, rain, snow, clouds, wind, ice, floods, hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, sun

Session 2 - Formulate questions

Put students into small groups and assign each group one of the topics that was generated in Session 1. Distribute questions by topic to the groups. Each student within the group should write down one of the questions generated on a notecard. Help students formulate a question that can be researched and answered by either books or Internet sites. Ideally, each student will have an individual question related to the group topic.

Session 3 - Research

Have an assortment of nonfiction books and bookmarked websites (see Web resources and Materials-nonfiction) available for students. As students locate the answer to their question, they should record it on their notecards. Also utilize some type of bibliographic format to create awareness of references and copyright for students. (Suggestion: Title, Author, Date OR Title of website, URL address, date), Have students record this information on the notecard also.

Session 4 - Create report

Each student's task during this session is to combine his or her question and notes into one sentence. (Example: What is a storm? Disturbance in weather = A storm is a disturbance in the weather.) Sentences from each student are then combined to create a "report" on the group topic. This sentence product can be handwritten or typed using a word processing program.

Session 5 - Illustrate topic

Have students work as a group to create an illustration for their report. Emphasis is on consensus as students must plan and agree to what element of the picture each student wishes to contribute. A low-tech option is to use traditional art methods that can be scanned into digital form. A high-tech option can be accomplished utilizing an illustration program such as Kid Pix, or ClarisWorks for Kids.

Session 6 - Present findings

Three possibilities are suggested ranging from low- to high-tech.

1. Create a book on weather by combining each group's illustrated report and adding additional pages such as title, table of contents, etc.

2. Utilizing a software product, create a multimedia product (see Materials list for suggested software). Include each group illustration as a truck/card/slide. Have students read aloud their report (each student reads the sentence they created) and insert as a sound feature. Add a title/menu slide and you have a wonderful presentation. Most software products provide tools that allow you to publish presentation to the Web if you have a school or class webpage.

The teacher usually completes most of the technical creation of the product. Other possibilities include inviting a parent or older (intermediate-age) student to assist. You may be lucky and have an extremely competent second grader also. Primary students have completed multimedia projects independently, but this is usually an exception, not the rule.

3. Create a video that might take two forms. The first form would be a simplistic presentation of students reading and displaying their group illustrations. The second form would involve printing your multimedia presentation to video. Both forms provide a presentation format that can be circulated among students' homes for parental viewing.

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  • Combine emergent and beginning readers with independent readers to provide opportunities for students to help each other (i.e., first- and second-grade student combinations).

  • Consider doing only some of the lessons. Sessions 1-3, although building upon each other, can be delivered independently. Adjust the technology level, as you feel comfortable.

  • Create a website as a final product.

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Utilize the Assessment Summary handout provided. Summary includes checklist for Session 2, rubric for Sessions 3 and 4, and a journal response for Sessions 5 and 6.

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