Weather Maps

Reading Weather Maps

 Purpose: Weather affects the daily lives of every person.  Many decisions we make are based on the weather.  In order to use the information available to us about the weather, we need skills in reading weather maps.  Hopefully, this WebQuest will serve as a primer to students who want to be able to read weather maps.

Created by: Beth Zemke
Elementary Science Resource Specialist
Irvine Unified School District


Click on this image for a larger view.

Your Task Activity 1:

Learning to read different kinds of weather maps.

  A.  Learn how to read a variety of weather maps at the Unisys Weather site.
      1.  Radar.
      2.  Surface Data Plot and Weather Symbols.
      3.  Frontal Location Plot and Surface Weather Depiction.
      4.  Pressure Contours.

   When visiting this Weather Site make sure to:

  B.  Visit several different types of maps at See More Maps.
    C.  Enlarge each map for a better view of details.
D.  Read the section on How to Read This Map in order to better understand vocabulary and symbols.
      1.  The Map Daytime Forecast will be the type of map you are most familiar with and what you see on TV on a regular basis.
      2.  The map US Current Weather I believe is one of the most important for you to learn how to read for making predictions about future weather
E.  Use the Map Selector to Browse the Maps by Activity, Geography and Map Type.
        1.  See how the Activity you plan can be affected by the weather.
      2.  Determine which type of map can help you make decisions about your Activity.
        3.  If you can answer the following questions, you have probably done a pretty thorough job of studying the Activity Maps.
          a.  What is the Weather Word of the Week and what does it mean?
          b.  How does one avoid Dangerous Tire Conditions?
          c.  What level of Energy Consuption did your community have?
              d. What is your UV Outlook Index for today?
F.  There are worksheets attached to the TEACHER PAGE that may help you to navigate the Weather site.  Feel free to print these out and use them in
      any way you or your teacher choose.
G.  Click on this link to learn more about the information on Weather Maps.
H.  Click on this link to overview Science of the Atmosphere.

Your Task Activity 2:

   Applying these skills to get information about your own location.

 A.  Visit several of the following sites.
      1.  Check this one out to see a live camera feed of many USA locations: Live Camera Feed
B.  Use the information you get from these various sites to report to your class the different types of weather you class might experience today and for the
      next several days in a row.  Don't linger strictly on the temperature.  Remember precipitation, barometric pressure, energy consumption, travel
      conditions, etc.
C.  Create your own weather station at your school.  Use this site to help you construct all the equipment you'll need:  Make Your own Weather Station.
D.  Become an internet weather reporter by creating your own weather internet site.
E.  Click on these links to learn more about:
      1. Weather in different parts of the world.
      2. At the AcuuWeather site choose Maps under Select a Feature.  This gives you the opportunity to select 10 different types of maps.
      3.  This Yahoo Weather site can allow you to view Maps of your local area.  After locating your city, click under Maps and Images in order to see the
          weather Outlook, Satellite, Radar and Fronts.

Your Task Activity 3:

   Some games, activities, and interesting sites to visit.

 A.  Visit some of these sites for fun weather activities.
      1.  Improve your weather and climate vocabulary with these word games,
      2.  Visit all 8 of Dan's WildWildWeather games.
B.  The following sites have some more detailed and fascinating pictures and information.
      1.  Visit this site to learn about Extreme Science and Extreme Weather.
      2.  Visit these sites to learn more about Radar, Precipitation, Humidity, Temperature, Forecasting, Wind, and Climate.

A Few Internet Resources:


Created August 15, 2001
Last Revised August 16, 2001

Teacher Notes

Suggested Grade Level: 4 to 6 


I developed this WebQuest as an "away from class" assignment.  Either their home computer, school computer lab, or local libraries can provide the internet link required.  Anyone is welcome to modify this WebQuest to suit their own purposes.  I will give my students their worksheets, but they are located at the end of the Teacher Notes page for your needs.

 Science Content Standards:

Grade 5: Earth Sciences (4 d.Students know how to use weather maps and data to predict local weather and know that weather forecasts depend on many variables.)

S.C.O.R.E. Lessons Standards Search by Grade and Subject
S.C.O.R.E. Standards and Framework
California Content Standards Grades K-12
California Content Standards Grades K-12 - Science - PDF Format


Effective use of the internet.  If your student needs a tutorial, suggest Little Explorers.
Computer literacy.
Content-area reading for information.
Reading comprehension.
Following multiple-step directions.
Basic map skills.


May include, but not limited to:
Reporting to the class on a daily or weekly basis the weather, temperature, UV Index information, level of energy comsumption and a weekly weather word.
Completion of worksheets attached to this Teacher Page.


Presentations -PowerPoint or Hyperstudio, student created web page.