A) Introduction:
Why learn about the weather?

Weather has a huge impact on all of our lives. It dictates what we wear, what we eat, how we get about and even how we feel. In fact the weather even has an impact on the global economy.

Most people go on holiday to places with warmer weather but some of us prefer to go to cold snowy places.

Snow can make it a lot harder to get around. During winter in Bralorne, BC, snowmobiles are the best way to get around.

How does the weather affect you? Can you think about a time when something you were doing or hoping to do was affected by the weather?

Me in Japan crop.png
During winter Japan gets huge amounts of snow. Some areas get over 10m a year.
Corsica often has lovely warm weather even in October.

Task 1: Singing in the rain?(or another weather based story of your choice)

Literacy Activity:  Tell a story about how the weather has affected you. It could be in a good way or a bad way, a hot sunny day on the beach, a thunder storm, a windy day. You do not even have to be on land, maybe you are on a boat or an aircraft. The story should be about an actual event that you were involved in.

The important thing is that your story describes how the weather affected you and everything around you. What could you see, hear, feel. What was going on around you, what were other people doing?

Extension: Geography in the News: 

The weather is always in the news. Just a quick internet search will produce many weather related news stories . Above are just a few of the headlines that I have seen recently. 

Choose a story from my Pinterest board or  find one of your own and review it in the geography in the news section of your workbook.  

B) What do I already know about the weather? 

In this unit we will be learning about the weather that we experience every day. We will also be looking at the earth’s climate. Any idea what the difference is? Well it’s one of the things we will be looking at in this unit. 

Unit Aims: At the end of this unit you will be able to;

  • Give examples of how weather affects our lives
  • Define ‘weather’
  • Define ‘climate’
  • Describe the structure of the earth’s atmosphere
  • Be able to describe the impact that humans are having on the Greenhouse Effect
  • Explain how the sun heats the atmosphere
  • Understand the Greenhouse effect and how life could not exist without it
  • Give examples of how climate affects our lives

Task 2: Knowledge check

Have a look at the aims above. Have a think about what you already know and complete the task in your booklet. Don’t worry if you don’t know very much, that’s why you’re here.

C) What is the difference between weather and climate?

Task 3: Weather or Climate

 a) Based on what you have just learned from the video, have a go at writing a dictionary definition for both Weather and Climate. 

When you have written your definitions watch the video below and then go on to the questions below. 

b) After watching the video, you may go back and change the definitions you gave in (a)

c) How does recording the weather help us to determine the climate of a region? 


Why do you think so many people get the two terms confused? Do you think it actually matters? Explain your answer.   


D) Our Atmosphere:

In order to learn more about weather and climate we first need to understand our atmosphere.

What is the atmosphere? It is only the thing that keeps you from being burned to death every day, helps to bring the rain that our plants need to survive, no to mention it holds the oxygen that you need to breath. Essentially, the atmosphere is is a collection of gases that makes the Earth habitable.


1) The Structure of the Atmosphere

In 1960 Joe Kittinger set a world record for the highest skydive, jumping from a height greater than 31 kilometres. The obvious question is why?

Task 4: The structure of the Atmosphere

a) In what year was Joe Kissinger’s world record jump? 

Kittinger leaps from his helium balloon at 31,300 m. wikipedia

b) Why was he jumping? 

c) How high did he jump from? 

e) What % of the atmosphere did he have below him when he jumped? 

d) When he jumped, he could not tell that he was falling until he looked back at the balloon. Why do you think this was? 

e) Why did Kissinger need to use three different sized parachutes during his fall?

f) What have you learned about the structure of the atmosphere based on the two videos you have watched? Think about the answers you gave to (d) and (e).  


What have you learned about the structure of the atmosphere based on the two videos you have watched? Think about the answers you gave to (d) and (e) and brain storm what you have learned.


Diagram showing the Structure of the Atmosphere exampariksha.com

g) Look at diagram above. Which layer of the atmosphere did Joe Kittinger jump from?

h) Create an acronym that will help you remember the layers of the atmosphere in the correct order.

i) Write a short paragraph describing each layer of the atmosphere and its main characteristics. You should mention the altitude at which each layer begins and ends, whether temperature increases or decrease and any other interesting features each layer has.

2: How the Sun Heats the Atmosphere


Task 5: The Earth’s energy budget

a) Write definitions for the following words.


b) Use the words above and the information from figure 3 to write three clear sentences that explain how the sun heats up our atmosphere.

The Earths Energy Budget. Energy arrives from the sun as radiant shortwave energy (yellow) and leaves the planet as Longwave radiation/infrared energy (red). (wikimedia)

 c) In what form does energy from the sun reach the earth? 

d) Why does not all the energy reach the earths surface? 

e) 51% of the incoming solar energy is absorbed by the earth, what does this do to the earth. 

f) Explain in as much detail as you can why temperatures are cooler on a cloudy summers day. You will need to use information from both of the diagrams in this section. 

Find out more 

3: The Greenhouse Effect

Earth’s atmosphere does the same thing as the greenhouse. Gases in the atmosphere such as carbon dioxide do what the roof of a greenhouse does. During the day, the Sun shines through the atmosphere. Earth’s surface warms up in the sunlight. At night, Earth’s surface cools, releasing the heat back into the air. But some of the heat is trapped by the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. That’s what keeps our Earth a warm and cozy 59 degrees Fahrenheit, on average.

NASA’s ClimateKids

Task 6) The Greenhouse effect isn’t all bad. 

Without greenhouse gases the world would be inhospitable.

Earth_greenhouse_gases.jpga) Create your own labelled diagram in the space below to explain what the greenhouse effect is. Use the images from the web as inspiration but try not to copy them directly.

b) Name two Greenhouse gases. Give their chemical formula’s if you can.

c) If there were no Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, what would happen to the earth’s climate?

Task 7: It’s what we’re doing to it that’s the problem.

The Enhanced Greenhouse Effect refers to the way in which human activity is almost certainly affecting the earth’s energy balance. As we release more greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, so we enhance it’s ability to trap in heat. That means more energy is coming in than leaving and that means the earth’s average temperature is increasing.

from The Wondrous Workings of Planet Earth, by Rachel Ignotofsky

e) Explain the meaning of the term, “Enhanced Greenhouse Effect”

f) Draw a labelled diagram in the space below to show how human activity is creating an enhanced greenhouse effect. You should base your diagram on the one you produced in part (c).

Extension tasks and further learning opportunities.

Switzerland’s Climate

1) Write a Tweet (no more than 140 characters) explaining the difference between the weather and climate.


European Climate Map.gif
The Climate Zones of Europe

2) Look at the map above, insert a copy of it into your word document. Locate Switzerland on the map.




3) Write a short description of the climate of Switzerland.


4) Use the link below to find photographs showing the Central Mixed Forest Climate Zone, the Mountain Forest and Alpine Meadow Zone and the Mediterranean Forest . Make sure you label the photographs with their location.

Swiss Regions.PNG


5) Try to explain why we have the different climate zones in Switzerland. We will cover this in more detail later but see if you can work it out. Look carefully at where the different climate zones are and think about the geography of Switzerland.




What’s the weather like today?


Homework Task:


1) Look out of the class room window. Describe the weather in as much detail as you can.


2) What else would you need to do if you wanted to make a more accurate description of the current weather? What equipment would you need?

How accurate is the weather forecast.docx

3) Use the internet to find the seven day weather forecast for Basel and make a note of it in the weather forecast table. Each day I would like you to check the weather forecast for the day from the same site and make note of it. Once you do this I would like you to record the actual weather you observe and record this in the table. Do they all agree?

Meteoschweiz banner.PNG


Task 4 : How Do We Measure the Weather?


Reinstalling a stevenson screen.jpg
Re-installing a Stevenson Screen, Cape Evans, Antarctica © AHT/Gord www.nhm.ac.uk

1) Use the power point below to complete the measuring the weather worksheet.

How do you measure the weather.pptx



Weather Maps and the Weather Forecast:

Europe weather map.png

Synoptic Weather Sysmbols.PNG


Task 5: How does the weather affect us?


This image is from a school in Scotland. Click on it to find out more about what they do in bad weather.
ferry in storm.jpg
Weather effects travel




How the Weather Affects


Storms hit Europe: January 2012. Here is an example of how the weather effects our lives.

Europe battered by stormy weather.docx

Task 4:


Task 5:

Pick any place in the world from this list, preferably a place you have never been to or even heard of. Click on the country and then one of the cities.
Copy and paste the weather forecast into a word document and then write a plan for your week based on the weather forecast. Write it in first person (I) and talk about all the ways that your week is affected by the weather.

More amazing weather: