Model NGSS Lessons: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade

Document Type

Teacher Resource

Grade Level

Grade Level: 3rd Grade

Publication Date


Background Information

Weather and climate are related to one another. Current conditions and seasonal descriptions are considered weather, which include precipitation, temperature, wind speed and direction, cloud cover, and barometric pressure to name a few. Each season has its unique features based on weather and amount of daylight. Thirty years’ worth of weather pattern data are analyzed to determine climates.

Annual and monthly temperatures, as well as precipitation data are the basis for climate zones. Landforms, proximity to oceans, and sea level also contribute the traits of the zones.

Latitude is used to geographically delineate climate zones. The higher the latitude, the less sunlight received. The tilt of the Earth is important in the amount of sunlight that reaches the surface rather than Earth’s distance from the sun. When tilted farther away from the sun, the sun’s rays are less direct than when the hemisphere is tilted toward the sun. Greater amounts of energy are absorbed the Earth when it is tilted toward the sun resulting in warming trends. (*Note climate zone identified on the map below will be used by students in this activity.)

Performance Expectations

3-ESS2-1 Earth’s Systems

Represent data in tables and graphical displays to describe typical weather conditions expected during a particular season.

3-ESS2-2 Earth’s Systems

Obtain and combine information to describe climates in different regions of the world.



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