Clouds, Weather and Climate Teaching BoxThis Teaching Box combines activities, data analysis, and discussion to help high school students consider how weather can affect clouds and how clouds can affect climate.

Teaching Boxes are collections of classroom-ready and standards-aligned activities, content, and multimedia that build student understanding of science, technology, engineering, and math.

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UCAR Center for Science Education presents the Clouds, Weather, and Climate Teaching Box. The educational resources in the following tab have been designed and sequenced to help build student understanding and aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards. This Teaching Box was made possible with support from NSF-CAREER Grant AGS-1752900 to Kevin Grise, University of Virginia.

  • Level: High school
  • Goal: Students will understand how different types of clouds form where warm and cold air meet in mid-latitude cyclones and that these storms and clouds will likely change as the climate warms. Students will also learn that changes in clouds due to climate warming may cause even more changes in climate and that this is an area of active research.
  • Activity: Students identify clouds, analyze cloud data, create cross sections of the atmosphere, interpret atmosphere data visualizations and graphics, complete a claims-evidence-reasoning activity, and create a graphic organizer to summarize their learning.
  • Time: Approximately five 50-minute class periods

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

  • PE: HS-ESS2-2: Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
  • PE: HS-ESS3-5: Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth’s systems.
  • NGSS Science and Engineering Practice: Analyzing and Interpreting Data
  • NGSS Disciplinary Core Idea: Earth materials and systems, weather and climate, global climate change
  • NGSS Crosscutting Concept: Stability and change 

Virginia Science Standards

  • High School ES.12: the student will investigate and understand that Earth’s weather and climate are the result of the interaction of the sun’s energy with the atmosphere, ocean, and the land. Key ideas include:
    • Part A: Weather involves the reflection, absorption, storage, and redistribution of energy over short to medium time spans.
    • Part E: Change in the atmosphere and the oceans due to natural and human activity affect global climate.