Name: Diana Pyatigorsky                                                                  

Subject: Science/Literacy

Lesson Title: Understanding Thunderstorms

Grade: Fourth


  • Kids Discover, Severe Weather magazine
  • Scholastic, Weather magazine
  • Storms, by Seymour Simon
  • Crayons
  • Pencils
  • Markers
  • Colored Pencils

Pre-assessment of Students Knowledge & Skills: (A) Students have been immersed in a unit on severe weather. Students have explored the many aspects of the weather and have strong knowledge of concepts including clouds, rain, floods and fires but are lacking in knowledge of severe weather such as thunderstorms, tornadoes and hurricanes.

(B)Students have conducted the “Making Thunder Experiment” and have working knowledge of the scientific principles behind the concept.

Content-Specific Standard(s):

English Language Arts

Key Idea: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

Gather and use information for research purposes; demonstrate competence in speaking and listening as tools for learning.

RI.5.7. Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently.

RI.5.9. Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.


Standard 2: Investigate the negative and positive impact of extreme natural events that effect our world


Thinking Objective: Students will learn about severe weather (thunderstorms, tornadoes and hurricanes) and discuss the different types.

Mastery Objective: Students will understand severe weather and be able to distinguish the different types and what causes each weather system to form.

Active Engagement:

Read Aloud of Storms, by Seymour Simon.

Teacher will initiate a discussion of the many aspects of thunderstorms. Students will brainstorm questions:

  1. What is a Thunderstorm?
  2. How are they formed?
  3. What is thunder?
  4. How can you tell how close a thunderstorm is?
  5. What are some safety precautions for severe weather? How can we protect ourselves from these storms?

Link: Teacher asks the students “How do our experiments on thunder and lightning relate to this book?”

Group Work: Students will be split into groups to discuss each question, using their resources as investigation materials. Students will develop a report on what they learned from the read aloud and their investigation materials.

Closure 10 min: Students will share their investigation reports with the class.

Assessment: Students will be assessed by their ability to complete their investigation report.

Teacher will assess understanding during conference time and during the share. Ask follow up questions if students are not confident with their explanations. Students will be assessed for their activity participation, their participation as audience members and their working material. Student project work will be reviewed against the rubric below.

Diversity: This lesson continues the work of opening a window into different modalities of learning such as Collaborative and Flexible grouping, scaffolding, varied time allowance, multiple intelligences, varied demonstrations, simulations, use of visuals and role play.


“A hands-on activity supports students who struggle with verbal skills” (Cornett, 2011). Using visual and tactile skills, students that struggle with writing are able to use the images to show that they understand the content. This lesson also supports concreteness of the topic with the use of pictures, labels and names.

                                        NOTE: Previous Experiment

Experiment: Making Thunder

Supplies: Balloon

Process: Blow up a balloon close to the maximum holding capacity of air.

Place balloon on the floor. Step on the balloon with your shoes. Feel the thunder.

Scientific Principles:

  1. The noise is caused by the rapid expansion of air. The air pressure inside the balloon is higher than the air pressure outside of the balloon. When the membrane of the balloon breaks, air rushes through the breaking membrane. The friction of the air expending through the membrane give off the noise.
  2. When lightning occurs it warms the air along the current of electricity by thousands of degrees in a very small amount of time. The air then rapidly cools. This rapid expansion and contraction of the air produces violent friction between air molecules and the noise is produced.

Thunderstorm Rubric

  4 3 2 1 Score
Scientific Concepts Demonstrates a thorough understanding of scientific concepts Demonstrates a partial understanding of scientific concepts Demonstrates little understanding of scientific concepts Demonstrates an incomplete understanding of scientific concepts  
Predictions Almost always makes accurate predictions based upon evidence Most of the time makes accurate predictions based upon evidence Sometimes makes accurate predictions based upon evidence Rarely makes accurate predictions based upon evidence  
Use of Tools Almost always uses tools and resources to accurately measure, observe and record results Most of the time uses tools and resources to accurately measure, observe and record results Sometimes uses tools and resources to accurately measure, observe and record results Rarely uses tools and resources to accurately measure, observe and record results  
Mechanics Correct spelling and grammar Mostly correct spelling and grammar Some mistakes in spelling and grammar Many mistakes in spelling and grammar  
Presentation Neat, creative enticing display Neat display Sloppily compiled Sloppily compiled with missing information  



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