Get the Picture - Severe Weather - Print Activity

Get the Picture - Severe Weather - Print Activity

Get the Picture - Severe Weather



Students review graphs and charts of severe weather data then answer "True and False" questions about the content conveyed.



  • This activity was developed by Teri Eastburn with the UCAR Center for Science Education.
Grade Level

Grade Level

  • This activity works best with middle and secondary school-aged students.
Time (prep & teach)

Time Required

  • 30 minutes to prepare and review "True and False" cards and answers
  • 45 minutes for student activity
  • 15 minutes for class discussion


Learning Goals

Student Learning Objectives

  • Students will learn about different ways that informational data can be conveyed.
  • Students will learn about statistical tools and apply concepts of statistics to analyze weather data.
  • Students will analyze data in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims.


Lesson Format
Science Standards

Science Education Standards Addressed

Next Generation Science Standards

  • MS-ESS3.B: Natural Hazards
  • MS-ESS3-2: Analyze and Interpret Data on Natural Hazards to Forecast Future Catastrophic Events and Inform Decision Making That Will Mitigate Their Effects
  • Science and Engineering Practices: Analyzing and Interpreting Data
  • Science and Engineering Practices: Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

National Science Education Standards

  • A: Science as Inquiry
  • B: Physical Science
  • D: Earth Science
  • F: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives



Materials - for class:




1. Spend class time discussing ways in which information is often presented (books, speeches, reports, graphs, tables, billboards, websites, apps...). Discuss which communication methods are most often chosen for information of a more technical, quantitative, or scientific nature.

2. Draw, project, or print simplistic samples of graphs, pie charts, tables, maps, and models. Review the basics of each tool, and why they are frequently used in science and mathematics to convey statistical, quantitative, and other technical information.

3. Discuss recent severe weather events with students, allowing them to share information that they have heard about or experienced first hand.

4. Review and discuss the nature of science with students and how it differs from otherways of knowing. Review Ch. 1 of Science for All Americans if you would like to review the Nature of Science before any class discussion.

Directions for Teacher:


1. Tell students that they will be tasked with analyzing graphs and diagrams that convey information about severe weather events in their small groups. Students’ understanding will be assessed based on their answers to the true/false questions that are paired with each graph.

2. Allow adequate time for students to begin reviewing, discussing, and deciding which card statements are true or false.

3. Project each graph or diagram at the front of the class for discussion and review once students have completed all true/false statements. Students should discuss what is being conveyed in each graph and any questions that they might have about it.

4. Ask students to consider if the visual representation is more effective and efficient than words alone? Why or why not? Which graph, if any, warrants further clarification? Ask questions that require students to extend what the graphs convey and make future predictions based on some of the trends shown.

NOTE: All true statements are in the column at left, while false statements are in the column at right.



Circulate among students and listen to their discussions as to why a statement is true or false. Note those who struggle with drawing conclusions with true or false statements that are clearly answered  from the data conveyed.  Note those who ask perceptive questions about the graphs or the statements provided and the discussion around the more difficult statements.

Ask students to write their own "True and False" statements to present to their groups for discussion.  Add the most thoughtful and challenging questions from students to the two spots available on the "True and False" cards for the next time they are used.  Continue to offer practice and growth in analyzing and interpreting data.

Background & Extensions
Background Content Info

Background Information

The statistical representation of scientific data often conveys important information in a manner that is more efficient and clear than words alone, but it can also potentially mislead those less experienced with interpreting statistical data, graphs, charts, and tables. Interpreting graphs takes practice! Review the Get the Picture Tools resource for important background about popular statistical tools such as graphs, charts, and tables.


Teaching Tips:
Extensions & Variations:


As an extension activity, have students practice writing true and false statements for one or more of the graphs that their classmates then have to judge to be either true or false. Good questions come from strong understanding of the data conveyed.

Background Info for Students:
Materials for Students:
Step-by-step for students:
Worksheet(s) for Students:
Summary for Students:
Assessments for Students: