Weather Phenomena Match-Up


Students act out certain weather phenomena that occurs within and around the United States in a matching game.


Supplemental Reading

El Niño: Stormy Weather for People and Wildlife by Carolina Arnold

How the Weather Works by Christiane Dorian

Grade Levels:


Curriculum Correlation:

NCSCS – Science 5.E.1.3


Cones marked North, South, East, West and placed on a large clear area on the school grounds to represent boundaries of the United States, Weather Phenomena cards (see Teacher Resources page)


20-30 minutes


Open space


1. Set up the four cones in a compass pattern, allowing enough space for the group to run between them. Have the students imagine the cones are placed on the ground to mark the boundaries of the United States. Ask everyone rush to where California would be, then North Carolina! Stand in the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean, Canada, etc.

2. Give each student a card that describes one of five weather phenomenon that occurs in or around the United States. Also on the card are instructions for bodily movements. Allow a minute or two for them to read their card silently (and secretly!).

Movements are the following:
Gulf Steam: Hands down beside waist, fingers wiggling
Jet Steam: Hands above head, fingers wiggling
El Niño: Body in a surfing motion
Front: Hands on hips, elbows out
Hurricane: Spin around

3. When the game starts, everyone will simultaneously act out their weather phenomena according to their cards’ movements in the correct place on the imaginary map. Then, they must look around and group up with the others that are portraying the same weather phenomena as they are, all with no talking, just like charades!

4. Once five groups have formed, the round has ended. Have each group verify that they all share the same card. Ask the students: What do you know about the characteristics of your weather phenomena? How can you use that information to make sure you’re in the right location on the map? (Continue the round until everyone finds their location.)

5. Optional: Play a few more rounds, mixing up the cards each time so students can try different weather phenomena.

6. Ask the students: What helped you learn about these different weather phenomena today?


1. Have the students choose other types of weather phenomena and create their own cards using their own movements.


1. Students can choose one of the weather phenomena and research its history and importance. Their findings can be presented to the class or made into a poster.

Learning Targets:

1. Interpret the movement of air and water currents through bodily movements.
2. Describe the types of weather phenomena that occur in and around North America.

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