Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Sensational Seasons

Jennifer Slichter
Santa Rosa District Schools


This is the seventh lesson in the Unit, Weather Trackers. Students learn how seasonal weather patterns affect temperature and their lives through concrete, hands-on activities.


The student demonstrates an understanding of temperatures by using Fahrenheit and Celsius thermometers.

The student uses mathematical language to read and interpret data on a simple concrete graph, pictorial graph, or chart.

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).


-Cardboard box T.V.
-[Apples, Apples, Apples] by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace, Scholastic 2000.
-Large classroom thermometer
-Sticky notes
-Index cards labeled Fall Winter Spring and Summer
-Rain Cycle pattern story duplicated or copied onto sentence strips
-Pictures of different cloud formations
-Sensational Seasons worksheet (see associated file)


1. Prepare classroom TV using a cardboard box, desk and sheet.
2. Locate book, [Apples, Apples, Apples] by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace, Scholastic 2000.
3. Locate globe, tape, and flashlight.
4. Locate large classroom thermometer.
5. Buy or borrow sticky notes.
6. Prepare index cards by labeling, Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer.
7. Make copies of rain cycle pattern story or write on sentence strips.
8. Locate different pictures of cloud formations.
9. Make copies of worksheet.


1. Allow a student to conduct the daily weather report. (These instructions were given during a prior lesson of the unit: Introduce the lesson by having a weather station set up in the classroom. Have a TV made out of a cut-out large box that is setting on a table covered with a sheet. Student volunteer will pretend to be a meteorologist and give a weather report using weather instruments previously studied and set up outside. The volunteer chosen must take measurements and make a weather report. Write the following on a strip of paper. The date today is ________. There are ____________types of clouds in the sky. The wind is blowing in a _______direction. The temperature reads _______. The rain gauge says it has rained ______inches since yesterday. I predict today will be ________.)

2. Read [Apples, Apples, Apples] by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace, Scholastic 2000. This book deals with seasonal weather changes in a fun entertaining story format. NOTE: The book can be read aloud and discussed during your class Read Aloud time or in small groups prior to beginning the science lesson. Place the book in a center or make it available to students to look at during the day. If the book is read separately from the science lesson, conduct a brief review for students prior to doing procedure 3.)

3. Ask students what the fours seasons are. Tell the class that seasons occur over and over in the same pattern each year. Do a class activity to illustrate how seasons occur and why seasons occur in patterns. Have students sit in a circle where they can see a globe. Place a piece of tape on the part of the country we live on. Point out that the globe is tilted at an angle. Shine a flashlight on the globe as it is turning around and point out that the Earth is constantly traveling around the sun. When our part of the Earth we live on tilts toward the sun, we have summer. When the part of the Earth that we live on tilts away from the sun, we have winter. Demonstrate using the globe and a flashlight. The terms Northern hemisphere and Southern hemisphere may be used. Tell the class that the Earth always travels in the same direction and that is why seasons occur in patterns.

4. Write the words summer, fall, winter, and spring on the board or the vocabulary word/picture chart. Draw a circle around each word. Tell the class that seasons help predict weather. Tell the class that winter is the coldest season because it has the fewest hours of daylight. Point to the word summer. Summer is the warmest season because it has the longest hours of daylight. What is the object in the sky that warms the Earth? (Sun) How would the sun being visible in the sky less time affect the temperature? Get responses (The sun has less time to warm the Earth).

5. Make a Venn diagram of each word using characteristics of each season. Ask students to think back on the story we read earlier. Point to the word winter. Student volunteers think of characteristics of winter and teacher writes word around that season. For example, winter (fewest hours of daylight, cold, animals hibernate, snow), fall (cool, rake leaves, harvest pumpkins), spring (flowers bloom, animals have young, farmers plant seed), summer (longest hours of daylight, warmest season) Display Venn diagrams for students to look at and use.

6. Review characteristics of seasons with the class using the book as a guide. Ask the following questions: “How did the tree look in summer? Was it warm or cold outside? How did the tree look in fall? Was it cool or hot outside? How did the tree look in winter? Was it cold or hot outside? How would we dress differently in summer than in winter? What season are we experiencing now? What is today’s temperature? What temperature does water freeze? (32 degrees) Would this temperature more likely happen in winter or summer? (Winter) Is it more likely to be 32 degrees Fahrenheit or 90 degrees Fahrenheit on a summer day at the beach? (90 degrees). Is it more likely to be 32 degrees or 60 degrees Fahrenheit on a crisp fall day if I am raking leaves and wearing a sweater? (60 degrees)

7. Hold up a large classroom thermometer. (If doing the complete unit, this is made already. Otherwise, a large one can be made using poster paper, black magic marker, and ribbon.) Read an illustration and student volunteers will set the thermometer. Illustrations: 1. It is winter. I am building a snowman, is it more likely to be 85 degrees or 30 degrees? (Student volunteer sets thermometer to 30 degrees.) 2. I am building a sandcastle at the beach. Is it more likely to be 30 degrees Fahrenheit or 90 degrees Fahrenheit? (Student volunteer sets thermometer to 90 degrees.) 3. I am raking leaves in the fall and wearing a light sweater. Is it more likely to be 60 degrees or 85 degrees? (Student volunteer sets thermometer to 60 degrees.) Proceed with different temperatures.

8. Review basic concepts of the use of the thermometer by asking these common questions: What does a thermometer measure? Get responses. Thermometers measures heat absorbed by an object. What happens to the mercury in the thermometer when the temperature goes from 90 degrees to 30 degrees? Get responses such as the mercury goes down or shrinks.

9. Tell the class that we are going to practice our graphing skills by taking a survey. Write in large letters the words, fall, winter, spring, and summer on the board. Give each student a sticky note. Have each student come to the front and place the sticky note beside his/her favorite season. Each must quickly tell one thing he enjoys doing in that season and recite the seasons in order. (A student can begin anywhere in the pattern, but fall must follow summer, summer must follow spring, etc.)

10. Discuss results of graph with class. For example, ask, “How many notes are beside winter? How many notes are beside summer? Which season was the favorite? How many notes did the season that had the fewest hours of daylight have? How many notes did the season have that has the longest hours of daylight? How many notes did the warmest season have?

11. Review seasonal weather patterns with the class. Pass out to four student volunteers a card labeled, fall winter, spring and summer. Ask the following question. During which season is it more likely to snow? Ask the person who thinks his season correctly answers that question to come to the front. (Winter). Which season has the most hours of daylight? Tell the student who thinks that his season correctly answers that question to come to the front of the room. (Summer) Which season is more likely to be cool with falling leaves? (Fall) Tell the student who thinks that he has the card with the correct season to come to the front. Which season is more likely to be cool with budding flowers and green grass? (Spring) Tell the person to come to the front.

12. Once all four students are standing up in the front, set a timer and see how many seconds it takes them to arrange themselves in order to form a pattern. All students should have a chance to play this game in order to review the seasons in order.

13. Review season patterns with the class. Hold up index cards and play Around the World. Students take turns standing beside the person next to them. Hold up a sentence strip with a season listed and students must say the season that follows that season. The student who is the quickest will proceed to the next student. Proceed until everyone has had a turn. If there is a time, ask a tie breaker weather question)

14. Tell students: A common characteristic of seasons is that they all share the rain cycle pattern.

15. Have the following story copied on paper or copy onto sentence strips, and pass out to students to orally read. This will be good practice to review the rain cycle pattern. If students are using sentence strips, allow them to rearrange themselves into the pattern of the paragraph. Remind the class that three main things make weather happen. The three things are sun, air and water. Have students read the following story in steps to form a pattern. 1. The Sun heats water in seas, oceans, lakes, rivers and puddles. Snow is melted from the mountaintops. 2. The water is heated and turns into water vapor. The water vapor rises in the sky. 3. In the sky, it is cooler and the gas turns back into tiny water droplets. The water droplets join to make clouds. When the clouds get too heavy with droplets it will rain. 4. The rain falls down to the ground, where it flows back into the ocean, rivers and lakes. Have student volunteers read the story. Ask the following questions. Will this rain cycle happen in spring? (yes) Will it happen in fall? (yes) Will this rain cycle happen in winter? (yes)

16. Ask students to think of ways that rain might be different in winter than in summer. Guide students to think about something that might happen in winter that might not happen in summer. Discuss snow/sleet/hail. Snowflakes are made when water droplets in a cloud freezes and turns into ice. Every snowflake is different and is comprised of flakes of frozen water vapor. Ask: Which season is it less likely to snow? Sleet happens when the snowflakes fall and begin to melt. Review water in different forms of matter using the class story as an example. What is frozen water in winter called? (ice) What is a form of water in a liquid form? (ocean, lake, pond, etc.) What is a state of matter in a gas form? (water vapor, steam) Which two forms of matter take shape of container? (Liquid and gas) Which has a shape of its own? (solid)

17. A common characteristic of seasons is that they all have different clouds at different times. Review cloud formations by playing a game called Clouds. Show pictures of different cloud formations used in a previous lesson. Review cloud names with class and discuss characteristics by asking questions. Divide the class into two groups and ask students questions. They earn a letter for each question answered, correctly. The first group to spell the word clouds will win the game. Some sample questions include: Is it possible to see stratus clouds in fall? Is it possible to see cumulus clouds in winter? Which cloud formation predicts a thunderstorm is likely? (Cumulonimbus) Which cloud formation may precede fog? (stratus) Which cloud formation predicts that rain is unlikely? (Cumulus)

18. Give out formative worksheet to the class (see associated file.) Review directions with the class.


Students are assessed using a formative worksheet. SC.H. is evaluated as students are asked to determine the pattern of the seasons by arranging in order. MA,E1..1.1,2.4 is evaluated as students answer questions about a class seasonal graph. MA.E. is evaluated as students are asked to predict if rain is more or less likely to happen based on different cloud formations. SC.A. is evaluated as students are asked to match different states of water to their different forms. SC.H3. is evaluated as students list purpose of wind vane and thermometer. MA.B. is evaluated as students are asked to read temperature on the thermometer.

This formative assessment is a good indicator of how students will perform on the summative unit assessment that is after the next lesson. You will need to read the questions/statements and allow time for students to complete them. Circulate and make sure students are recording their answers in the correct place and understand what they need to do. Remind them to use the pictures/posters, vocabulary word/picture chart, etc. that are displayed around the room.

Students who do not do well on this assessment are not ready for the summative unit assessment at this time. Provide more feedback, practice and guidance concerning the concepts in the unit.


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. Set up a learning center in the room. Write the following on chart paper, flying kite on windy day in spring, storm in summer, Building a Snowman in winter, Raking Leaves in fall. Have students write as many words as they can think of that belong in each category. Draw a picture beside each word.

Attached Files

Sensational Seasons Worksheet     File Extension:  pdf
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