Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Fahrenheit Follies

Jennifer Slichter
Santa Rosa District Schools


This is the fifth lesson in the unit, Weather Trackers. This is a fun and entertaining lesson on temperature. Students learn about temperature using hands-on activities and games.


The student demonstrates an understanding of temperature by using thermometers.

The student knows if a given event is equally likely, most likely, or least likely to occur (for example, spinners, coin toss, election results).

The student knows examples of solids, liquids, and gases.

The student knows that a thermometer measures the amount of heat absorbed by an object.

The student knows how to sort organisms, objects, and events based on patterns.

The student knows ways in which tools are used by scientists (for example, to gather information, to analyze, to calculate).


-Rain gauge, thermometer, picture of weather satellite, wind vane or picture of wind vane.
-Sticky notes ( a package for graph activity)
-11 small cups
-8 thermometers
-Microwave to heat water
-Poster paper, red/white ribbon to make large Farenheit thermometer
-Small pieces of paper with these degrees written: 90 degrees, 30 degrees, and 65 degrees
-Large grab bag with these items inside: bathing suit, coat, gloves, hat, sweater, flip flops)
-Chalkboard or dry erase board
-Formative worksheet


1. Locate rain gauge, outdoor thermometer, wind vane, picture of a weather satellite.
2. Buy a package of sticky notes.
3. Locate 11 small cups
4. Locate 8 large thermometers.
5. Locate or borrow a small microwave oven.
6. Prepare a large Fahrenheit classroom thermometer using white poster paper, black marker and red/white tape.
7. Prepare a grab bag with following items: bathing suit, coat, gloves, hat, sweater, flip-flops.
8. Prepare and make copies of worksheet.
9. Place cups of water outside in the sun and the shade, as well as in a specific place in the classroom.
10. Warm water and keep in a thermal container. Make sure it will not be too hot for students to handle.


1. Have these words on the board: rain gauge, thermometer, satellite, and weather vane. Introduce this lesson by displaying the weather instruments and tools from previous lessons. (Have a thermometer, a wind vane or picture, a rain gauge, a picture of a satellite.) Volunteers pick a tool written on the board or from the chart and locate it on the table.

2. Tell students that today they are going to do some fun activities with one of these tools. Review graphing skills by having students guess which tool we are going to study today. Ask: “Who thinks we will do experiments with a rain gauge today?" Point to rain gauge on the board and ask students to raise their hands. Count hands and place that many sticky notes beside that word on the board. Repeat the procedure for the thermometer, satellite, and weather vane. Discuss with class by asking the following questions: How many people guessed we would study a rain gauge? How many people guessed we would study the weather vane? How many more people guessed we would study the satellite than the rain gauge?

3. Tell students that today we are going to pretend we are meteorologists and do some experiments with a thermometer. Refer back to the graph and ask, did more or less think we would use the thermometer than the rain gauge, etc, Review the definition of a meteorologist with students. Ask what a thermometer does.

4. Review the rain cycle orally with the students and how it makes a pattern over and over. Write this on the board with visual pictures as you orally review with students. (or you can refer to a chart/poster completed in a previous lesson) Draw a picture of a sun on the board. Ask: Who can remember in the rain cycle pattern what this sun will heat on Earth? Have student volunteers respond and elict the response that the sun will heat water on Earth. Draw water. Ask students if steam goes up or down. Remind students that the water vapor will rise and form clouds. When the clouds get too heavy with vapor, rain falls back to Earth and the cycle is repeated. Go over this several times, calling on different students to sequence the cycle.

5. Refer to the rain cycle diagram/picture and ask students the following questions: Is the ocean a solid, liquid or gas? Why is the ocean not a solid? Elicit that it doesn’t have a shape of its own but is composed of water that takes shape of its container. Ask students if we threw an ice cube into the ocean, what is the ice cube, a solid, liquid or gas? Student volunteers give answers. Discuss with students that the ice cube is a solid because it has a shape of its own. Ask students what could make the ice cube turn into a liquid? Generate answers such as it could melt by heat. Ask students if water vapor is a solid, liquid or gas. Generate that it is a gas. You cannot feel it; it is light and takes the shape of its container.

6. Tell students that we are going to determine the effects of sunlight on a glass of water by using the thermometer to measure its temperature. Review how to use a thermometer and how to read it. Remind students that the more degrees, the warmer it is. Tell students that a cup of water has been placed outside and has been sitting in the sunlight. Another identical cup has been inside. A third cup has been outside, but under a shade. Ask students to guess which glass will most likely be warmer. Ask students which glass will most likely be the coldest. Record the results on the board. Measure the cups with a thermometer to get correct answer. Point out to students that the mercury rises as the temperature is warmer. Refer to the recorded results on the board and ask, how many thought the water outside was most likely to be the warmest, etc.

7. Write this sentence on board. Thermometers measure ______absorbed by an object. Read the sentence aloud and make sure students understand the word absorbed. Put four dashes on board like this - - - -. Have students guess letters of the alphabet until the word heat is spelled. Reread the sentence aloud and allow student volunteers to read it aloud. Ask students why the water in the sunlight was warmer. Make sure they understand it is because the water absorbed the heat from the sunlight.

8. Hold up a large cutout of a Fahrenheit thermometer. The thermometer should be large and premade out of poster paper. Two slits must be made in the upper and lower end and a large red tape or ribbon on one side attached or sewed or glued to white on the other side. It slides under the slits to set the temperature.

9. Tell students: This is a large thermometer. Point to the markings. Demonstrate to students how to set the thermometer using various temperatures. Have student volunteers come to the front and practice setting the thermometer to various degrees. Be sure to indicate if the temperature is warm, cool, or cold. For instance, tell the student: Set the thermometer to 75 degrees which is a nice, warm temperature for playing outside.

10. Write these temperatures on the board. 32 degrees, 60 degrees , 85 degrees. Ask students the following questions. Play a riddle game by stating: I am swimming at the beach. Do you think it is 32 degrees or 85 degrees? Remind students the higher the number on the thermometer the warmer the temperature. State: I can see water freezing outside. What temperature is it? Get responses from volunteers. Explain that is must below 32 degrees in order for water to freeze. Tell students: It is fall and I am raking leaves wearing a light sweater. What is the temperature? Get responses. Have student volunteers come set the thermometer.

11. Play a role-play game where students are given a temperature and they must pull out items of clothing from a grab box that they would fictionally wear that day then, set the large thermometer to the correct temperature. Have the following temperatures written on small pieces of paper, 90 degrees, 30 degrees, and 65 degrees. Have the following items in the box. (bathing suit, coat, gloves, hat, sweater, flip flops) Have student volunteers mark that temperature on the large thermometer correctly.

12. Divide the class into four equal groups. Have two cups placed on a table for each group; one cup containing cold water and the other hot water heated in the microwave. Each group will measure and record results. You might want to create a form for students to record the information. Walk around and monitor. Ask students why one cup of water is warmer--because it absorbed the heat during the microwave time.

13. Play a tic tac toe game where a quick review of what was learned today will take place. Girls will be 0s and boys Xs. Ask the following questions. Students who answer correctly place a mark for their team on the board. A thermometer measures what? (heat). Water vapor is a _____( gas)form of matter. Heat causes the mercury in a thermometer to ________. (rise) (Set the large thermometer to 32 degrees.) What might you wear to school if this is the temperature? (coat, gloves). (Set the thermometer to 90 degrees) Ask students the temperature. What might you wear to school if it is 90 degrees outside? (shorts and shirt) What might you wear to school if it is 60 degrees outside? (sweater). (Set large thermometer to 80 degrees.) What is the temperature? (80 degrees) (Set large thermometer to 50 degrees.) What is the temperature? (50 degrees). After the sun heats water on Earth does the water become warmer or colder? (warmer). What happens to steam as it becomes hotter? Does it rise or fall? (rise) Complete game using more review questions if necessary.

14. Pass out formative worksheet. Review directions with students. Read each question/statement aloud.

15. Students complete worksheet.

16. Take up and provide appropriate feedback.


Students are formatively assessed using a worksheet. (see associated file)

Students are evaluated on their ability to describe the effects of heat on a mercury thermometer, identify and record temperatures on a Fahrenheit thermometer, label the sequence of the rain cycle to make a pattern, identify water in a solid, liquid or gas form, and identify the purpose of the thermometer.

Students complete the worksheet with 80% accuracy or are given more opportunities to master the skills in the future. You will need to read each question/statement to the students and allow time to answer it. Circulate and make sure students are in the corret place on the sheet and that they understand what is being asked of them. Remind them to look around the room at the displayed items from previous lessons, including the pictures, posters, and the vocabulary word/picture chart started in lesson one.


1. The Beacon Unit Plan associated with this lesson can be viewed by clicking on the link located at the top of this page of by using the following URL: Once you select the unit’s link, scroll to the bottom of the unit plan page to find the section, Associated Files. This section contains links to the Unit Plan Overview, Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, and other associated files (if any).

2. ESOL or ESE students may make individual thermometers out of cardstock. Using peer teaching and a center they may practice setting their thermometers to different temperatures.

3. For students who are having great difficulty with the formative assessment sheet, allow older students or an aide to reread the questions and help students write or choose the correct answer, explaining carefully why it is correct.

Attached Files

Fahrenheit Follies Worksheet     File Extension:  pdf
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