Learning Lesson: If Anyone Can, Icon

OBJECTIVE Learn how to use the zip/city search for obtaining local weather forecasts.
OVERVIEW Students will create their own icons for a forecast-at-a-glance poster for the classroom.
TOTAL TIME 30 minutes.
SUPPLIES Internet connection.
Construction paper or blank white paper.
Colored pencils, crayons, and/or felt-tipped markers.
PRINTED/AV MATERIAL Sample poster board layout.
SAFETY FOCUS Be weatherwise, not otherwise


Knowing the possibilities helps prepare a person for action if weather hazards threaten. Beginning the day knowing the National Weather Service weather forecast is the best way to prepare. However, since meteorology is not an exact science, the forecast can change from one day to the next. Using the students own icons, beginning on Monday the class will track the forecast each day for 5 days.


Enter your zip code here
  1. On Monday go to the following National Weather Service website: www.srh.weather.gov

  2. Enter your zip code in the search box located on the upper left side of that website. Click "Go". The forecast-at-a-glance page will appear. The icons represent an overview of the anticipated weather for that time frame. They are divided into day and night periods.

  3. Using the supplies listed above, have the class create its own icons for each of the "daytime" forecasts; Today, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and place them on a poster board. Write the one or two word forecast under the icon.

  4. On Tuesday through Friday, repeat the above steps each day using the same zip code.


If you picked an active weather week, the forecast may change considerably from day-to-day, especially on days three through five. Each day discuss the change(s) in any of the forecasts. Discuss how the change in the forecast affects their plans. Discuss why it is important to look at the forecast each day.

Fast Facts

No only can the weather forecast change from day to day but the weather can change many times during a day.

On January 22, 1943 in Spearfish South Dakota, the temperature around 7:30 a.m. rose from -4°F (-20°C) to 49°F (9°C) in less than 2 minutes. Around 9:00 a.m., after the temperature rose to 54°F (12°C) it then fell again to -4°F (-20°C) in about 30 minutes.

Why the rapid change? There was a shoving match between an arctic front and the Chinook winds (a warming downslope wind). When the boundary between the two pushed northeast of Spearfish, the strong Chinook caused the temperature to rise. When the boundary moved southeast, the very cold arctic air took over.

Live Weatherwise

Failure to Plan is Planning to Fail
It has often been reported that a storm, whether it be a thunderstorm, tornado, flood or any other kind of hazardous weather, came without any warning. While individual hazardous weather events can occur suddenly, rarely do they occur without any foreknowledge that a risk of severe weather exists in the first place. We cannot pinpoint 6-12 hours in advance where a tornado may form but we usually have an idea of the region where tornados can form.

Therefore, begin each day with a check of the weather forecast for your area. This will help you to be prepared in advance should severe weather actually threaten.

Entering your zip code in the search box located at www.srh.weather.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