Free Weather Curriculum for Middle School Science

Globe Curriculum: A Free Weather Unit for Middle School Science

Teaching a unit on Weather to Middle School students can sometimes be challenging. While I love to teach Weather because I can go outside, I found many of my students didn’t love it as much as I did. So I am always looking for new and better ways. And if you ‘re like me, usually when something is FREE it is not that great. 

Well, not too long ago I learned of the GLOBE Weather Curriculum from searching for free resources to enhance my weather unit. Then at my annual Science Convention I attended a short seminar where GLOBE  educators gave us a crash course on the resources. While I saw some awesome stuff, I knew I was going to have to dig deeper to learn more. And as if it was meant to be, an email followed about a month later from my district to apply for a FREE 2-day training on the Globe Weather curriculum. And as luck would have it, I applied, and was accepted to attend the training.

I was skeptical because I am truly an inquiry based NGSS teacher and most of the curriculum you find, especially on TPT is lecture notes with Powerpoints and a lab here or there. To my surprise, this curriculum was amazing, inquiry based and aligned with the NGSS’s Three Dimensional framework. I was convinced to give the curriculum a try. That is why I want to share it with as many teachers as I can. 

What will you find in the Globe Weather Curriculum:

  1. Phenomena based: The first “anchoring” lesson is called: An Unexpected Storm, which is based on a recent weather event that hit Boulder, Colorado. This is such a great anchoring phenomena because it takes a natural event that was unexpected, whereby students learn throughout the unit possible reasons why this event occurred and finally solve the mystery.
  2. Real World: Every activity builds upon the other allowing students to experiment and search for “models” to explain the storm through guided inquiry. 
  3. Models: Students get to constantly make models to explain their thinking and add to it throughout the unit
  4. Interactive Labs and Activities: The curriculum is filled with interactive labs and activities using simulations and common materials you likely have in your classroom. 
  5. Discussion: Student discussion is a key component of the curriculum with students brainstorming and building on others ideas.
  6. Little to No Prep: On the site you will find the Teachers Guide, Student materials in print or digital, Teacher Keys, and tons of additional resources.

What you may need to consider and supplement:

The curriculum is really focused on MS-ESS2-5: Collect data to provide evidence for how the motions and complex interactions of air masses result in changes in weather conditions. But within that there are 5 Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI’s). Most of these are only partially covered. 

If you are wanting to include other standards such as the: Water Cycle (MS-ESS2-4), Unequal Heating (MS-ES2-6) which is only partially covered then you will need to add some additional resources. However I found this pretty easy to add. I simply placed the water cycle before I began the unit as it was recommended that students have this background prior to teaching the Globe Curriculum. Additionally I was able to easily extend more on unequal heating to the lessons where I added a lab after lesson 5 on land and sea breeze. Then at the end of the last lesson I added 3 additional lessons to hit climate, ocean currents and Global Warming.  I also added lessons on ocean currents that touched on this and also added a few lessons on ocean (MS-ESS3-5).

So if you love this curriculum like I do simply go to the Globe website and access all their resources. If you want to include the standards described that are missing or only partially covered above here are the resources I have created to supplement and make this one of the best weather and climate units all ready for you:

Distance Learning Weather & Climate Unit:

So remote learning began and all my great ideas to try this curriculum and my supplemental resources went out the window. So that is when I got to work on how I could use the resources and make it accessible for distance learning. Over the past two years I have done a few lessons using hyperdocs and had great success with my students. So I took this idea and created a framework for distance learning. Due to this new style of teaching I was not going to be able to have student teams do all the things I wanted them too. And without in class discussions, collaboration and labs I knew I was going to have to adapt my original plan. From this came an entire distance learning weather and climate unit where I was able to utilize about 50% of the Globe resources (videos, online simulations, and guided questions), while creating the other 50% to support student thinking, adding the NGSS standards that was not included as described above and building in ways for students to connect the lessons. The unit ended up being a huge success with my students and they said they loved the unit because they felt like they were able to do science at home. 

So if you need an entire weather and climate unit for distance learning that is ready to go with little to no prep, you can get it at my TPT store right here. And if you are looking for a great in-class option you can get the Globe Weather Curriculum Free at their site and supplement the other standards with the activities I listed above. 

See what buyers are saying about the Distance Learning unit:

Hi Summer, I love your Earth Science hyperdoc bundle for the 7th grade weather and climate. Can you please create more Bundles for other 7th and 8th grade science? It is so helpful that they are based on the 5E model and they are so superior to all the other hyperdocs on TPT.
September 17, 2020

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