Interpreting Weather Mapsby: William R. Veal and Robert A. Cohen

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Meteorologists collect data from multiple weather stations and instruments on Earth’s surface. The weather maps seen online and on TV are analyzed pictures that are produced after the data analyses have been completed. Weather maps usually show the area being surveyed and symbols that represent the weather data. These weather symbols express a lot of information in a concise way. If you combine information from many stations on a map, the map will give you a picture of the large weather systems across the nation. In this Activity, students will learn how to interpret a basic weather map and understand weather station symbols.

  • Elementary
  • Middle
  • High
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Reviews (4)
  • on Mon Dec 08, 2014 12:27 PM

This is a great resource for teaching weather maps. It gives the student a good background on weather maps and very clear examples of the symbols that are used. The only drawback was with the download of this chapter is it doesn't have answers to the questions on page 189. Not a big deal, but it would be nice to have them.

Teri  (Lehi, UT)
Teri (Lehi, UT)

  • on Sun Mar 09, 2014 10:54 PM

This activity may seem old-fashioned to students used to looking at GIS maps of weather where this data is already processed by computer, but this sort of map is how meteorologists developed those maps and is still used for forecasting and showing upper level winds and conditions. My classes looked at this type of weather map daily, downloaded from an online site, and instead of introducing all the symbols at once, we did one set a day over the course of a week such that by the end of the week they could read the symbol for one station. Then they were ready for the map presented here.

Tina Harris  (Fairmount, IN)
Tina Harris (Fairmount, IN)

  • on Tue Nov 19, 2013 2:57 PM

This book chapter is an excellent introduction into reading weather maps. The student activity introduces the basic weather map symbols and weather forecasting. The chapter also includes a Teacher's Guide that expands on terms, themes, and data analysis. This is an excellent primer to learn about weather forecasting.

Maureen Stover  (Fayetteville, NC)
Maureen Stover (Fayetteville, NC)

  • on Sat Jul 14, 2012 12:33 PM

What a great resource to show how meteorologists interpret weather data when they develop their weather forecasts! This is an excellent mapping reading activity for high school and middle school students. It guides students in interpreting mapped data. Students can determine what the present data is for certain locations the United States. They can infer patterns of weather systems by combining all the information that students find on the given map. Several extensions for this activity are given so that students can see the process involved in weather forecasting and why it is not always accurate.

Ruth Hutson  (Westmoreland, KS)
Ruth Hutson (Westmoreland, KS)

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