Reading a Weather Map

Robert A. Urbanek Bloom Township H.S.
10th & Dixie Highway
Chicago Heights, IL


To enter the data from a weather report as it currently appears in the daily
newspaper. The cities needed to make a comprehensive report should be preselected
by the person recording in advance. There should be enough cities on the map to
make an accurate report for your purposes. After the cities are entered, write
the temperature for each city for that day. Draw very lightly, a line between
each city with temperature of at least 10o. If you wish more accuracy for your
area you may record a temperature of 5o difference for each line. For example,
all cities with a temperature between 70o and 74o are between temperature lines of
70o and 75o. When completed the lines should form a contour of irregular or wavy
lines. The contour lines should show a pattern of similar temperatures between
the lines of temperature gradients, and across the entire country. To get a
better picture of how a weather pattern moves and develops, a map should be made
for at least 5 consecutive days.

Materials Needed:

The following materials are needed for each group of 5 students:
1) the weather page from a local newspaper for five consecutive days which
gives the weather report from several cities across the entire country
2) a sheet of erasable tracing paper
3) a pencil with eraser
4) rubber cement
5) and if possible a small table or lab counter so that the group can all
work together
6) a sheet of graph paper

One of the following is needed for the entire class:
1) an overhead projector
2) an transparency of a United States map with or without major cities
3) at least 4 different colored marking pens for transparencies
4) a transparency of graph paper
5) a transparency of previously plotted contour lines on the same map as above


1) Plot and mark the desired cities on the transparency map.
2) Start the students off by drawing in at least one contour line,
remembering that each student has a different daily weather record.
3) Go around the room working with each group to insure some degree of
accuracy and participation.

1) Have students plot the location of the desired and/or missing cities.
2) Mark the high temperature for the cities from the weather data chart
on their copy, as near as possible to the cities plotted on their maps.
3) Have students plot a line first by separating each city by temperature
range in 10o Fahrenheit.
4) Try to connect lines of similar temperature as much as possible.
5) If there is a void over a large area or the lines do not seem to connect
seek additional data for missing cities by checking another newspaper or
contact the teacher.
6) Students then will choose one city and construct a bar graph of both high
and low temperatures for a 5 day period.
7) Compare and/or observe this graph against that of another city and discuss
the value of collecting weather data from more than one city.


This activity is designed to show the value of collecting weather data from
all over the country and how this data is used to construct a weather map.
Then, using the data for an single location, make a 5 day forecast. The student
could be shown how to enhance their map with the use of colored pencils or
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