Learning Lesson: Forward Thinking

OBJECTIVE Learn how to use the zip/city search for the local weather forecast.
OVERVIEW Students will create their own weather forecast map with information obtained via the Internet.
TOTAL TIME 30 minutes. Possibly a homework assignment.
SUPPLIES Internet connection
PRINTED/AV MATERIAL Table of zip codes
Map of the U.S.
SAFETY FOCUS Know before you go!


The weather one experiences changes depending upon your location. Because of this difference in weather, each location has its own unique weather forecast.


Graphic showing where to enter your zip code.
  1. Go to the National Weather Service Southern Region website: www.srh.weather.gov

  2. Enter each zip code listed on the table in the search box located on the upper left side of that website. Press "Go."

  3. Choose a day for the forecast and for each zip code, have the students enter the location, one or two worded forecast and temperature forecast for that day (located under the row of icons).

  4. Have the students take the table home to ask a parent or guardian for up to five additional zip codes of relatives or friends not living in their local area.

  5. Enter the temperature forecast for each location on the U.S. map including the five additional locations.

Depending upon the time of year and actual weather patterns, the students will discover that temperatures are generally lower as one moves from south to north. Typically, the temperature forecast for Phoenix will be the highest. Discuss with the students the reason for the warm weather. (Phoenix is located in a desert.) If not, discuss why not. (Is there rain in the forecast? Has a cold front passed by recently?)

Discuss how the Los Angeles temperature is different than Sacramento despite being farther south. (Los Angeles is usually under the influence of the cooler ocean air. Sacramento is well inland and the cooler ocean air does not penetrate that far very often.)

Fast Facts

  • There are 122 weather forecast offices in the United States and its territories.
  • All forecast offices operate 24 hours daily year round.
  • Our services provided to you cost less than $3.00 a year per man, woman and child.

Live Weatherwise

Know before you go!
The best weather safety rule to follow is to be aware of any potentially hazardous weather that might affect you. Always begin the day with a check of the NWS forecast for your area. Entering your zip code in the search box located at www.srh.noaa.gov will provide you with the forecast direct from the professionals of your nearby NWS Forecast Office. We are here 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. No one knows your weather better than we do.

Back: Forecast-at-a-Glance