What’s the weather today?

I love talking about the weather. It is the single most easy way to initiate a conversation with a stranger or acquaintance if you need to break the silence. Great for elevator rides, spontaneous waiting time and warm repartee.

This particular discussion lesson plan on the weather goes from general to scientific. The objective is to elicit some scientific vocabulary around a familiar topic. If you have no scientists among your students, you can always focus on the important of predicting the weather. And also the importance of being able to talk about the weather as a conversation starter.

Pre discussion

  • What are the different types of weather or climate you can name?
  • What affects the weather?
  • Do you use the weather forecast to plan activities?

The Video: The Science of Weather

  • Divide the video into 2 or 3 segments and do a Tell Back  of the main themes and words
  • How do meteorologists sort through information, identify trends, and make predictions.
  • Why do they often get it wrong?
  • What is it important to predict the weather

Where would you travel to?

If you could choose among National Geographic top 15 travel destinations, where would you go?

Scroll through the top 15 destinations suggested by National Geographic and say which you would choose and why (only read titles and look at pictures).

Go explore the picture of the chosen destination. What is happening? What is the weather like? Where are we, in the mountains, the city, the forest, etc? What do you like about it?

Now choose a destination you DON’T want to visit. Why? What is happening in the picture? Where are we? What is the weather like? What don’t you like about it.

What are you doing to prevent climate change?

What are you doing to prevent climate change?

PBS Frontline presents an innovative interactive presentation on how the people of Marshall Island are affected by climate change. Even though the presentation is a bit deep and disturbing, I would use it to spark a discussion on actions related to climate change. I would first do a  Tell Back  of the video centered around how climate change is affecting the daily lives of the people of Marshall Island (note: you must click the forward buttons to make the presentation go forward. You can stop at any point to discuss).

Here is a link to the PBS lesson plan. It includes some of the key vocabulary which can save you a bit of time in analyzing the content from the perspective of second language difficulties.

Discussion Questions

Do you notice any differences in the weather that could be related to the weather?

What are some of the current actions happening in your community that is intended to help stop climate change?

What habits have you changed?

If you review just this last year, is there anything you do differently?