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Weather and climate resources: Key Stage One

This section contains a selection of teaching resources that were produced by the Met Office education team for Key Stage One (up to the age of seven).

Here are lots of exciting games for you to play to help you learn about the fascinating world of weather.

Fun and games


Colouring book


An island home

Key Stage One Geography (Year 2)

How is Struay similar to, and different from, our locality?

In this series of activities children will be exploring similarities and differences between their own locality and the island of Coll (the fictionalised isle of Struay in the Katie Morag books). They will draw on what they have learnt already, in order to compare landscapes, weather, people and transport on Coll with their own locality. They will be introduced to the effects of climate on landscapes and that people design houses to keep out the weather.

Children should learn:

  • that the world extends outside their locality
  • to recognise similarities and differences, and communicate them

Activity one

Look at the slides and use for discussion about the weather and housing. Any information about houses and landscapes can then be used in activity two.

Activity two

Organise children in small groups:

  • groups working with support to make a model of Struay or their mainland locality, based on learning from earlier in this unit, and label main features.
  • groups working independently to make collage pictures of either Struay or mainland locality, and label main features.
  • groups working with the teacher to make models of Coll and mainland locality using maps and photographs, adding labels to main features.

Encourage children to talk about similarities and differences between the two places.

You will need:

  • Maps of the Isle of Coll
  • Photos of Coll and locality
  • Photos of houses on Coll
  • Katie Morag story books

Activity three

Ask the children to use the differentiated worksheets to make a list of ways where they live is the same and different to the isle of Struay, where Katie Morag lives.


Amazing Facts

Lots of amazing, interesting and TRUE facts about the weather — from the foggiest place in the world to the hottest.

  • Sometimes two rainbows will form at the same time. When this happens, there will be a normal rainbow and outside it will be a larger, more faint rainbow. The second, bigger rainbow, will also have its colours in reverse.
  • The Met Office uses a supercomputer — one of the fastest in the world — to help make its weather forecasts. Its newest machine has as much computing power as 20,000 normal PCs.
  • A bolt of lightning can travel at up to 136,000mph and reach temperatures of 30,000 °Celsius — hotter than the surface of the Sun!
  • A hailstone almost the size of a bowling ball fell in Nebraska, in the USA, on 22 June 2003. Measuring 17.8cm in diameter, it is the largest hailstone ever recorded.
  • There are weather records for this country dating back to 26 August, 55BC
  • Ice in the Antarctic is more than 2.5 miles thick in places.
  • There are ten special aeroplanes which have been designed to fly directly into hurricanes. The Hercules planes are packed with equipment to gather information on the hurricane. Weather forecasters then use the information to predict where the storm will go, giving people early warnings of the danger.
  • A tornado, which lasted for more than three hours and was three miles wide, is the deadliest in history. The giant storm hit three southern states in the USA on 18 March, 1925 and killed 747 people.
  • The windiest place on Earth is Port Martin, in Antarctica. Here winds average more than 40mph on at least 100 days every year. The place with the least wind is also in Antarctica, at a site called Dome A. Here the wind hardly blows at all. This shows how Antarctica is a place of extremes.
  • More than 30 tornadoes are reported every year in the UK — although they rarely cause serious damage.
  • If all the ice in the Antarctic melted, the world's oceans would rise by nearly 67m (220 feet), or the height of a 20-storey building.
  • If 10cm of snow melts in a glass it would produce only about 1cm of water.
  • With wind speeds of up to 190mph and measuring 1,380 miles across, Typhoon Tip was the largest and most intense hurricane on record. It formed near Japan in October 1979.
  • Very cold winters hit the UK in the 17th and 18th century, a period known as the Little Ice Age. This led to the River Thames freezing over in London on several occasions. When the ice was thick enough, giant carnivals called 'frost fairs' were held on the river.
  • The title of the foggiest place on Earth goes to Grand Banks on the Atlantic coast of Canada. It is here that a warm ocean current, the Gulf Stream, meets a cold one, the Labrador Current. The difference in temperature between the two currents creates fog.
  • The world's biggest snowflake was 38cm wide and 20cm thick and fell in Montana in the USA on January 28, 1887.
  • The Sahara Desert gets very little rain. For three years from 1973 to 1976, almost no rain fell at all.
  • The first weather satellites were put into orbit in 1960.
  • One of the driest places on earth is Arica in Chile (South America), where less than 1mm of rain falls every year. A coffee cup would take around 100 years to fill!
  • Angus was the name given to the tallest snowman ever built — measuring more than 34 metres in height. He was so big he had trees for arms and car tyres for a mouth. People from the town of Bethel, in Maine, USA, spent 14 days building him in February 1999.
  • Snowflakes can take as long as one hour to fall to the ground.
  • Every minute of the day, around 900 million tonnes of rain falls on the Earth.
  • Fifteen million trees were blown down on 15 and 16 October, 1987, when the worst storm ever hit parts of south-eastern Britain.
  • The sunniest parts of the UK are along the south coast of England where many places enjoy about 1,750 hours of sunshine a year. Mountainous areas of the UK receive the least sun, getting less than 1,000 hours a year.
  • The record for the most rain in a week was set in February 2007 on Reunion, a small island in the Indian Ocean. A powerful storm saw more than 5 metres of rain fall there in just seven days — that's enough to leave a double-decker bus under water!
  • A town called Mawsynram in India is known as one of the wettest place on Earth. About 12 metres of rain falls on the town every year. By comparison, London gets less than one metre of rain a year!
  • Weather stations are all over the world. The highest one on land is on Mount Everest, the world's tallest mountain. Sitting 26,000ft (nearly five miles) up the mountain, the equipment measures temperature, wind speed and air pressure.
  • Weather satellites float high above the Earth. Some are up to 22,000 miles up from the ground, floating in space.
  • The strongest gust of wind ever recorded on land happened on Mount Washington in the USA on April 12, 1934. A weather station measured one gust at 231mph.
  • The most powerful low-level wind ever in the UK happened when a storm hit Scotland on February 13, 1989. The wind was measured at 142mph, more than twice as fast as a Cheetah running at top speed
  • The UK record for the most rainfall on a single day was set in 1955 in a village called Martinstown in Dorset. Nearly 30cm of rain fell in 24 hours.
  • There are about 16 million lightning storms around the world every year, with about 100 lightning flashes happening every second.
  • A village called Kifuka in the Democratic Republic of the Congo gets more lightning strikes than anywhere else in the world. On average, it gets hit with more than 150 bolts a year per square kilometre.
  • There is an old saying that 'lightning never strikes twice', but it's not true! Although it is quite rare, lightning can strike the same place more than once.
  • Sprites, Blue Jets and Elves are all types of lightning which occur high in the sky.
  • Thunder is one of nature's loudest sounds. A roll of thunder can be up to 120 decibels, which is louder than a train speeding past.
  • Mount Baker in the USA holds the record for the most snowfall in a year. Over the winter of 1998 to 1999, a total of 29 metres of snow fell on the mountain. This is enough snow to bury a house!
  • A red hot 58 °Celsius is the hottest temperature ever recorded on the planet. This happened at Al'Aziziyah in Libya on 13 September 1922.
  • The temperature in Browning, in Montana in the USA, fell by 56 °Celsius in just 24 hours on 23 and 24 January 1916. It went from 7 °Celsius to -49 °Celsius as cold weather moved in.
  • Nearly two metres of snow fell in just 24 hours in Silver Lake, Colorado, in the USA. The huge snowfall on 14 April 1921 set a world record.
  • The Sun has a surface temperature of around 5,500 °Celsius, but is 1 million °Celsius on the inside!
  • Ice storms are dangerous types of weather which can leave everything covered in ice. It happens when very cold raindrops fall on cold surfaces, turning the rain into ice. In December 2008, more than 1 million homes in north-eastern USA were left without power after an ice storm caused power lines to snap.
  • There are ten main types of cloud which can be seen in the sky. These include Cirrus, Stratus and Cumulus.
  • More than £150 billion worth of damage was caused by Hurricane Katrina when it hit New Orleans in the USA in August 2005. Besides being the most expensive hurricane in history, it also caused a terrible loss of life — killing about 1,500 people.
  • The state of Oklahoma in the USA gets more tornadoes per square kilometre than any other region in the world.
  • Plateau Station on Antarctica is the coldest place in the world based on year-round temperatures. It has a yearly average of -57 °Celsius
  • Rainbows can form wherever there are water droplets in the air. This includes over waterfalls, breaking waves, or even garden sprinklers.
  • The Sun is about 91 million miles away from the earth. Sunlight leaving the Sun's surface takes around eight minutes to reach the earth.
  • Tornadoes can generate winds up to 300mph. This is strong enough to rip up houses and pick up cars.
  • The Isles of Scilly, a few miles offshore from Land's End, are the warmest place in the UK. They have an average temperature of 12 °Celsius.
  • Braemar in Scotland is the coldest place in the UK, with an average yearly temperature of just 7 °Celsius. Braemar also holds the record for the coldest temperature ever recorded in the UK, registering -27 °Celsius on 11 February, 1895 and again on 10 January, 1982.
  • The hottest temperature recorded in the UK was at Brogdale in Kent on 10 August, 2003. There was a summer heatwave that year, and it got up to 38.5 °Celsius.
  • Dallol in Ethiopa, Africa, is the hottest place in the world. It has an average temperature of 34 °Celsius
  • Rapid City, in South Dakota in the USA, saw the temperature rise from -20 °Celsius to 7 °Celsius in just two minutes. The 27 degree change happened on 22 January, 1943.
  • The title of the sunniest place in the UK goes to St Helier on Jersey, an island off the south coast of England. It has an average of 1,915 hours of sunshine a year.
  • The UK's highest mountain, Ben Nevis in Scotland, is the least sunny place in the country. It gets only 763 hours of sunshine a year out of a possible 4,769 hours.
  • Yuma, in Arizona in the USA, is the sunniest place in the world. It gets 4,300 hours of sunshine a year on average.
  • The South Pole, in the Antarctic, has no sun for 182 days a year.
  • St Osyth in Essex is the driest place in the UK. It gets just 51cm of rain a year on average.
  • The wettest place on the planet, on average, is Mount Wai-ale-ale, in Hawaii, USA. It averages more than 11 metres of rain a year.
  • Cherrapunji, a city in India, saw more than 26 metres of rain fall in one year between 1 August 1860 and 31 July 1861. It also holds the monthly and single-day records for the most rain, and is known as one of the wettest places on Earth.
  • It rains about one day in every three in England.
  • The longest dry spell in UK history happened in Sussex in 1893. It did not rain for 60 days.
  • 500 million litres of rain can fall in a single thunderstorm.
  • Antarctica holds the record for the lowest temperature ever recorded. It got down to -89 °Celsius there on 21 July, 1983.
  • The UK's snowiest winter ever happened in 1947. It snowed every day somewhere in the country between 22 January and 17 March.
  • The earliest snowfall in London happened on 25 September 1885.
  • Sandstorms happen when strong winds move over deserts, sucking up sand as they go. These can be very dangerous, as the powerful winds packed with sand can cause a lot of damage to anything in their path.
  • When large amounts of snow fall it can pile up. When it is on a hill, such as on a mountain, the snow sometimes topples down all at once. This is called an avalanche and can be deadly. Thousands of tonnes of snow can fall at almost 200mph — crushing things in its path and leaving them buried under deep snow.
  • Being hit by lightning can be deadly — but the chances of that happening to you are extremely small, about 3 million to one.
  • The Sun is more than 100 times bigger than the Earth.
  • Volcanoes can have an effect on the weather. When they erupt, they can send gases and ash into the sky. This can block out some of the sunshine, making temperatures colder.
  • Cold air temperatures are not the only thing that makes us feel chilly. When the wind blows, it takes heat away from our bodies, making us feel colder. This is called 'wind-chill'.
  • The shortest day of the year in the UK happens around December 21, when there are less than eight hours between sunrise and sunset. The longest day happens around June 21, when there are more than 16 hours between sun-up and sundown.
  • Roy 'Dooms' Sullivan, a ranger in a national park in the USA, was unlucky enough to be struck by lightning seven different times! He was struck in 1942, 1969, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1976 and in 1977. He survived all of these, but suffered minor injuries or burns each time he was hit.
  • In July 1984, a shower of giant hailstones caused about £750 million worth of damage in Munich, Germany.
  • A bolt of lightning can contain enough energy to power a lightbulb for three months.
  • If you are stuck outside in a thunderstorm, the best way to stay out of danger is to get to low ground. Don't stand under a tree — this is more dangerous than standing out in the open.

 

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