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Forecast enthusiast

Find your inner weather forecaster as you get stuck into deciphering a synoptic weather map.
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • Scrap paper
  • Pens or pencils
  • Something to mark lines (for example, chalk, masking tape, or rope)
  • A device with access to the internet (optional)
  • Smartphone or camera (optional)

Before you begin

  • It’ll help if everyone understands terms like air pressure and windspeed before you get stuck in. If you’re not sure everyone’s on the same page, an activity like It’s a breeze is a perfect way to introduce the topic.
  • Everyone will need access to a surface pressure chart for the second part of the activity. We recommend using the Met Office examples – it’s up to you whether you print them out or whether people look at them online on a device.
  • It’s up to you whether people perform their forecasts live (like you’re in the studio with them) or whether you record them. You could even get fancy with a green screen or projector!
  • Don’t panic if you’re not an expert: you’re not in this alone. We’ve included some information below, and the Met Office have handy pages to help you get your head around weather features and air masses.

 

Understand the weather

  1. The person leading the activity should mark a large image of the UK on the floor using chalk, masking tape, or rope.
  1. Everyone should split into groups of four or five people.
  2. The person leading the activity should give each group a weather feature to represent: some should be isobars, some cold fronts, and some warm fronts.
  3. Everyone should work together to fit everyone on the map. People may like to hold hands on link arms to create the line of their feature.
  1. The person leading the activity should explain what each feature means, what it does, and how it behaves in different weather forecasts.
  2. The person leading the activity should call out different weather changes, and everyone on the map should move to reflect the changes.
  1. After a while, the groups should swap weather features so they get a turn at moving in a different way. Keep playing until everyone understands the different features.

 

Create your forecast

  1. Everyone should split into small groups. Each group should grab some scrap paper, a pen or pencil, and a copy of the surface weather charts.
  2. Each group should choose a location on the chart and make a note of what can they see. What weather fronts are passing? What do the isobars and other features look like?
  1. Each group should think about the weather they’d expect to see based on the chart, and jot it down.
  2. Each group should work together to write a short script that summarises their weather forecast. They should aim for it to last about a minute.
  1. Everyone should spend some time practising their forecasts.
  2. Once everyone’s ready, they should join back together. Groups should take it in turns to present their forecasts.

Reflection

This activity gave everyone the chance to develop skills. Are people more confident about reading weather charts now than before they began? What information can people get from a weather chart? Why might the information be useful? People could set themselves a challenge to spread their knowledge far and wide – next time they encounter a weather forecast in the wild, they could explain it to someone else and pass the skills on.

This activity also relied on people’s communication skills. How did people share ideas in their groups? Did they make sure everyone had the chance to share? Would people do anything differently if they did it again? When they shared their forecasts, people communicated with a bigger audience. How did people feel while they were presenting? It’s OK if some people felt nervous. Did anyone find that they spoke really fast, mumbled, or held their breath? Sometimes it takes practise to get used to an audience – taking some deep breaths, and remembering the audience is made up of supportive friends, might help.

Safety

Online safety

Supervise young people when they’re online and give them advice about staying safe.

For more support around online safety or bullying, check out the NSPCC website. If you want to know more about specific social networks and games, Childnet has information and safety tips for apps. You can also report anything that’s worried you online to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection command.

As always, if you’ve got concerns about a young person’s welfare (including their online experiences), follow the Yellow Card reporting processes.

Phones and cameras

Make sure parents and carers are aware and have given consent for photography.

All activities must be safely managed. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.