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Lesson 9: "Say it with Symbols" from Wild about Weather,


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

·        recognize common symbols used on international weather maps

·        use weather symbols in place of weather vocabulary


Key Question: What do the symbols on weather maps mean?


Overview:  In this activity students use the weather symbols in place of weather words to tell a weather story.  They should use at least 8 of the symbols.  The story can be entirely fictional, but it should include a fairly realistic narration of weather.


Time Required:  45-60 minutes



·        copies of “Say It With Symbols” copycat page on p. 45 of Ranger Rick’s NatureScope: Wild About Weather

·        paper

·        pen/pencil/markers


Procedure:  See p. 39 in Ranger Rick’s NatureScope: Wild About Weather.


Assessment:  The weather story should have the symbols drawn carefully and legibly.  The story should be primarily about weather and should be somewhat plausible.

For more assessment of whether students have learned the weather symbols, have students attempt to read each other’s stories aloud.  You can also write a short story using weather symbols on the board. Students will then transcribe this story into writing.


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

4d, 7f, 7h



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


For a more complete list of symbols see the Weathergraphics Weathergraph Chart or check the symbols charts on their website at:



Notes:  Middle school students can do this activity on standard-sized sheets of lined or unlined paper.  I emphasize to students that the sequence of weather events in the story must be somewhat plausible and must take place on earth.  Students may use a symbol more than once, but must use at least eight different symbols.  This activity prepares students for reading weather maps in the following lesson.