1. Look at a local weather map.
Find a local newspaper or look at a weather website such as the one provided. Look at the weather map for your state. Look at the ways the map shows weather and temperature in different parts of the state. Do you see words, numbers, colors, and symbols? What do the numbers show? What do the colors and symbols show? Why is it helpful to see a weather map? Hint: A weather map can help you decide what to wear. It can also help you plan outdoor activities. The numbers show temperature. The colors and symbols show the weather.

2. Draw different types of weather.
Think about how you would make the map even more interesting. What pictures would you draw to show what the weather looks like? Draw pictures that show these types of weather:

  • sunshine
  • clouds
  • light rain
  • heavy rain
  • snow
  • thunderstorms

3. Create your own local weather map.
Remember what today’s weather is like? Create your own local weather map! Go to the MapMaker 1-page map of the United States. Use the menu to get a 1-page map for your state. Print it out and use crayons or markers to create your own weather map. Use the information about today’s weather and the pictures you drew of different types of weather to create your own local weather map. Think about how you might change the pictures for different seasons: fall, winter, spring, and summer.


4. Share your weather map with family members.
Share your local weather map with family members and see if they can read it. Talk about any symbols they find confusing and adjust them on the map.

Quiz Yourself!

  1. What does a weather map use to show weather?

    • Answer

      A weather map uses words, numbers, colors, and symbols to show weather.

Materials You Provide

  • Crayons
  • Drawing paper
  • Markers
  • (optional) State weather maps from the local newspaper

Required Technology

  • Internet Access: Required
  • Tech Setup: 1 computer per classroom, Projector

Recommended Prior Activities

  • None

Background Information

Weather is important to people everywhere. People read weather maps showing temperature and precipitation to understand and plan for how the weather may affect their daily lives. Up-to-date weather information from satellites is available through Internet sites and enables users to see projections for weather patterns from local to global scales. Learning to describe weather and to see patterns of weather on maps can help students build understanding of geography near and far from home.



to predict, especially the weather.

map skills

skills for reading and interpreting maps, from learning basic map conventions to analyzing and comprehending maps to address higher-order goals.


degree of hotness or coldness measured by a thermometer with a numerical scale.


state of the atmosphere, including temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind, humidity, precipitation, and cloudiness.

weather map

representation of data on the condition of a specific area's atmosphere.