Choose three or four activities to do in turn as a class, or as stations.
Start by brainstorming different kinds of weather and write on a board. Then tell students they will be exploring some of them, and explain the stations to them before they are split into groups. About 6 minutes at each station works well for Ks and grade 1s.
Return to the group to review once the stations are complete, and to show photos.
My preferred combination for younger primaries:
1. Measuring temperature or heat sensitive sheets.
Set up tubs with different water temperatures: hot water, iced water, room temperature water. Just hot and cold fine for heat sensitive sheets.
Students can also measure the air temperature if they are using thermometers.
Kindergarteners watch for whether the red line of the thermometer goes up or down, to state whether what they are measuring is hotter or colder (or heat sensitive sheets better for Ks).
Discussion: the sheets show whether something is hot or cold, a thermometer tells us this too. We can use tools to measure temperature.
2. Anemometer (measuring wind speed)
Students can blow to make them turn, as well as holding them up in a wind.
During discussion show a picture of a real anemometer. The faster it turns, the harder the wind is blowing.
3. Making rainbows
Students use the sun and scratched plastic/DVDs to make rainbows.
During discussion, show images of real rainbows. Real rainbows are made from the sun and drops of rain.
Both the plastic (in this activity) and raindrops separate the sun's light into the colours that make up the white light.
Use water in plastic bottles to make a pretend tornado.
During discussion, show a picture of a real tornado.
In a real tornado the wind spins upwards, whereas in the activity the water spins downwards.
See other lesson plans focused on Weather phenomena (Kinds of Weather) or Measuring Weather for more ideas.
The lightning model only works reliably inside where the air is dry and heated.