And Now for the Weather Report


The students will research the climate and forecast the weather for all the national sites depicted on the 2011 America the Beautiful Quarters Program coins.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • America the Beautiful Quarters


  • Students, given the locations of the national sites on the 2011 quarters, will create and perform a weather forecast for the 5 sites.
  • Students will research to collect weather and climate data; represent data using maps, tables, and graphs; and create a weather forecast.
  • Students will use climate data from the national sites as a primary source for predicting the weather.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Math
  • Science

Minor/supporting Subject Area Connections

  • Social Studies
  • Technology


  • 4th
  • 5th
  • 6th

Class Time

  • Sessions: Three
  • Session Length: 45-60 minutes
  • Total Length: 151-500 minutes


  • Whole group
  • Individual work

Terms and Concepts

  • Reverse
  • Obverse
  • Climate
  • Weather
  • Forecast
  • Climatological forecast
  • Maps
  • Graphs
  • Charts
  • Clouds
  • Precipitation
  • Temperature


  • Related worksheets and rubric
  • Images of the five 2011 quarters



Lesson Steps

  1. Describe the America the Beautiful Quarters Program for background information. Tell the students that the back of a coin is called the reverse, and "obverse" is another name for the front.
  2. With the students, examine each of the five 2011 quarter designs.  Locate each of the 2011 sites on a class map.  Answer any student questions.
  3. Point out that weather affects us all.  Meteorologists often use maps, charts, tables, and graphs when they do their weather forecasts.  A climatological forecast is a forecast that is based on a location's climate data or average weather.  Explain that "climate" is the long-term "weather" and gives us clues to the daily weather for an area.  Note that location, clouds, precipitation, winds, and temperature are all included in a weather forecast.
  4. Ask the students to research and record climate and weather data related to the 2011 national sites over several days.  Have them pick three of the sites and present this data as a weather report in a format they choose from the Project Guide.

Differentiated Learning Options

  • Have the students work in groups or do a smaller number of sites.
  • Model creating a weather report using climate data from another site.


Use the worksheets and the rubric in the "And Now for the Weather Report" Project Guide to evaluate student understanding and to see whether they have met the lesson objectives.

Common Core Standards

Discipline: Math
Domain: 4.MD Measurement and Data
Grade(s): Grade 4
Cluster: Represent and interpret data

  • 4.MD.4. Make a line plot to display a data set of measurements in fractions of a unit (1/2, 1/4, 1/8). Solve problems involving addition and subtraction of fractions by using information presented in line plots. For example, from a line plot find and interpret the difference in length between the longest and shortest specimens in an insect collection.

Discipline: Math
Domain: 6.SP Statistics and Probability
Grade(s): Grade 4
Cluster: Develop understanding of statistical variability

  • 6.SP.1. Recognize a statistical question as one that anticipates variability in the data related to the question and accounts for it in the answers.
    • For example, "How old am I?" is not a statistical question, but "How old are the students in my school?" is a statistical question because one anticipates variability in students' ages.
  • 6.SP.2. Understand that a set of data collected to answer a statistical question has a distribution which can be described by its center, spread, and overall shape.
  • 6.SP.3. Recognize that a measure of center for a numerical data set summarizes all of its values with a single number, while a measure of variation describes how its values vary with a single number. 

Discipline: Math
Domain: 6.SP Statistics and Probability
Grade(s): Grade 4
Cluster: Summarize and describe distributions

  • 6.SP.4. Display numerical data in plots on a number line, including dot plots, histograms, and box plots.
  • 6.SP.5. Summarize numerical data sets in relation to their context, such as by:
    • Reporting the number of observations.
    • Describing the nature of the attribute under investigation, including how it was measured and its units of measurement.
    • Giving quantitative measures of center (median and/or mean) and variability (interquartile range and/or mean absolute deviation), as well as describing any overall pattern and any striking deviations from the overall pattern with reference to the context in which the data were gathered.
    • Relating the choice of measures of center and variability to the shape of the data distribution and the context in which the data were gathered.

Discipline: Math
Domain: 5.MD Measurement and Data
Grade(s): Grade 4
Cluster: Represent and interpret data

  • 5.MD.2. Use the four operations to solve word problems involving distances, intervals of time, liquid volumes, masses of objects, and money, including problems involving simple fractions or decimals, and problems that require expressing measurements given in a larger unit in terms of a smaller unit. Represent measurement quantities using diagrams such as number line diagrams that feature a measurement scale.

National Standards

Discipline: Social Studies
Domain: All Disciplinary Standards
Cluster: Geography
Grade(s): Grades K–12

Teachers should:

  • guide learners in the use of maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information from a spatial perspective
  • enable learners to use mental maps to organize information about people, places, and environments in a spatial context
  • assist learners to analyze the spatial information about people, places, and environments on Earth’s surface
  • help learners to understand the physical and human characteristics of places
  • assist learners in developing the concept of regions as a means to interpret Earth’s complexity
  • enable learners to understand how culture and experience influence people’s perceptions of places and regions
  • provide learners opportunities to understand and analyze the physical processes that shape Earth’s surface
  • challenge learners to consider the characteristics and spatial distribution of ecosystems on Earth’s surface
  • guide learners in exploring the characteristics, distribution, and migration of human populations on Earth’s surface
  • help learners to understand and analyze the characteristics, distribution, and complexity of Earth’s cultural mosaics
  • have learners explore the patterns and networks of economic interdependence on Earth’s surface
  • enable learners to describe the processes, patterns, and functions of human settlement
  • challenge learners to examine how the forces of cooperation and conflict among people influence the division and control of Earth’s surface; help learners see how human actions modify the physical environment
  • enable learners to analyze how physical systems affect human systems
  • challenge learners to examine the changes that occur in the meaning, use, distribution, and importance of resources
  • help learners to apply geography to interpret the past and present and to plan for the future
  • enhance learners’ abilities to ask questions and to acquire, organize, and analyze geographic information so they can answer geographic questions as they engage in the study of substantive geographic content

Discipline: Science
Domain: 5-8 Content Standards
Cluster: Earth and Space Science
Grade(s): Grades K–12

  • Structure of the Earth system
  • Earth’s history
  • Earth in the solar system

Discipline: Mathematics
Domain: 3-5 Data Analysis and Probability
Cluster: Formulate questions that can be addressed with data and collect, organize, and display relevant data to answer them.
Grade(s): Grades K–12

In grades 3–5 all students should

  • design investigations to address a question and consider how data-collection methods affect the nature of the data set;
  • collect data using observations, surveys, and experiments;
  • represent data using tables and graphs such as line plots, bar graphs, and line graphs; and
  • recognize the differences in representing categorical and numerical data.