Science Summer EDventure camp: What's the weather like?

Did you know that probably one of the biggest topics British people love to chat about is the weather?  It’s true – we’re fascinated about the weather: there are loads of programmes on TV about it, there are weather forecasts throughout the day and what do the grown-ups chat about first of all outside the school gates?  The weather!  

That’s probably because the UK is in a temperate part of the Northern Hemisphere – that means that we get definite seasons and changeable weather, so there’s usually something happening.  So, let’s have some Summer EDventure fun with a holiday weather activity!


Learning objectives:

  • Discovering how the weather varies day-to-day

  • Finding out about weather forecasting and its accuracy

  • Finding out about the different aspects of weather that affect our everyday lives

You can carry out both of the Edventure activities at the same time as they both take five days.


Activity 1: Want to be a weather presenter?

Do you ever watch the weather forecast or look up details for the day ahead online?  Perhaps you can have a look at a weather app on a smartphone?  If you’ve got a BBQ planned for the day, knowing if it’s going to be soaking wet can really make a difference as to whether you get the burgers in!

The people who predict the weather on TV programmes are called weather presenters and they use data from supercomputers which predict what the weather’s going to be like.

But … how accurate are they?  Over five days why not see how good the predictions are?

So, use the predictions for the day ahead (online, app, TV, etc.) by jotting down what they reckon is going to happen for where you live.  Then, when the following day rolls round, make a note of what actually happened and, over five days, see how accurate the predictions were (try and entering your postcode for local weather predictions; there are lots of smartphone apps, like XC Weather).

Grab a sheet of paper and draw up a simple chart, something like:

Weather chart

After five days, how accurate were the predictions?  Think about things like:

  • was the basic prediction (rain/sun/wind/etc.) mainly correct?

  • what about the timings: did the weather change in line with the predictions?

  • what do you predict would be different if you carried this investigation on for a month instead of just five days?

Predicting the weather has been going on for hundreds of years: it used to involve things like hanging a piece of seaweed out of the window, to see it stayed floppy or dried out, even farmers banging a metal plough with a hammer to see what sort of clang it made – apparently that helped to tell if rain was on the way!

Today, supercomputers crunch trillions of numbers to predict what the weather ahead will be like, but it’s a tough task!


Activity 2: EdPlace weather chart

Weather chart 2

OK, continuing the fun, let’s fill in this holiday weather worksheet which takes you weather-watching across five days (hopefully something interesting happens!).  Each day … think – what does the weather feel like today? What’s it up to?  Fill in the columns under the headings by writing what it feels like, or use ticks and crosses or even smiley/sad faces.  Why not also put in the time of day – like if there’s a thunderstorm at 5pm?  Just how much can the weather change over just five days – look and see!

OK, so the weather may have been pretty much the same over the five days you happened to choose, or it may have been very different.  That’s part of the fun of living in the UK with its temperate climate.  If you lived in the Middle East then this activity would be pretty dull as the weather’s hot and sunny most days!

So, how many of the objectives we set out with do you think you’ve achieved?

  • Have you seen how the weather varies on a day-to-day basis?  Was there a lot of variation or was it fairly constant during your five days?

  • How accurate were the weather predictions when compared to the actual (following) day for where you live?  Would you like to be a weather presenter?

  • Have you seen how the weather affects our planning: will it be all right for the BBQ, or the trip to the beach, or will I need to water the garden plants, etc.?

  • Great! Well done and keep on being a weather-spotter like most British people!


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