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Lesson 8: "Follow the Front" from Wild about Weather


Objectives:  After completing this lesson, students will be able to:

·        define the terms: warm front and cold front

·        explain what a front is

·        describe weather associated with the passage of warm and cold fronts

·        predict arrival of fronts based on sky observations


Key Question: What causes a storm?


Overview: Students will tape together three photocopied weather diagram strips to picture the progress of one typical winter storm pattern.  First a warm front comes through, with light winds and gradually thickening skies followed by gentle rain.  After a period of clearing a cold front follows with higher winds and harder, colder, rain.  A simple cardstock viewer allows the students to view their weather strips like a filmstrip.

In a written narration of the weather strips, students describe the passage of the fronts hour by hour, linking the position of the fronts with temperature, cloud cover, wind, and precipitation.


Time Required:  45-60 minutes (1 class session)



·        copies of “Follow the Front” copycat page on p. 25 of Ranger Rick’s NatureScope: Wild About Weather

·        scissors

·        blue crayons or colored pencils

·        tape or glue

·        paper, cardstock, or thin cardboard

·        (optional for discussion) Prentice Hall transparency: 62 North American Air Masses; #63 Cold Front; # 64 Warm Front; #65 Occluded Front


Procedure:  See p. 21 in Ranger Rick’s NatureScope: Wild About Weather


Assessment:  Students are to write a short narration of the weather sequence they see on their front viewer, including temperature, cloud cover, wind, and precipitation. Students should note the day and time at which each weather event occurs.  A nice extension for this assessment is for students to include 3-5 illustration panels depicting the weather at different times in their narration.


OUSD Science Content Standards (State of California Science Content Standards):

3a, 3c, 4b, 4d, 4e



National Wildlife Federation, Ranger Rick’s NatureScope, Wild About Weather. Triangle Learning Triangle Press, An Imprint of McGraw-Hill, New York, 1989, 1998.


National Science Teachers Association, Project Earth Science: Meteorology. National Science Teachers Association, Arlington, Virginia, 1999.


Notes: A very similar activity can be found in the Project Earth Science: Meteorology guide, published by NSTA.  The activity is called “Moving Air Masses”, and is found on pp. 125-130.  This lessons uses five questions on the weather strips as an assessment.