Adopt A City – Mini Weather Unit

I  used this unit with my students from March 23rd to April 30th, 2015 . 

All links are  up to date as of May 15, 2015.

If you used this with your students, I would love to hear about it in the comments below 🙂

This mini-weather unit (3-4 weeks) is intended to be used as a self paced series of lessons or independent study where students will work on tasks and check in both during and at the end of each task. Each class will begin with weather data collection followed by either starting a new task or completing the previous task. Final modifications will be made this spring after I have used it with my 6th graders. Updates will be posted between now and then.

Materials to get started:

  1. List of cities to adopt: US Cities (pdf), US Cities 2015 (pdf), or International (pdf)
  2. Blank Map of the United States 8 1/2 x 11 (link)
  3. Packet of mini-maps (pdf)
  4. Weather & Astronomy Log (excel)
  5. BrainPOP Videos – videos related to weather (link)
  6. A Golden Guide: Weather (link)
  7. Weather Symbols (link)
  8. Optional: Nat Geo Maps (8 1/2 x 11)
    • North America (link)
    • United States (link) or you can select each individual state to print out
  9. Optional: Giant Map of the USA – print out 18 pages, tape together, and laminate – Free from NatGeo (pdf) (Continental 48 only)(change paper size to 8 1/2 x 11 before printing)

Summaries: (added 5/16/15)

  • Google Sheets Template for Weather Report (link)
  • Google Doc Template for Weather Report (link)
  • Pacing (blog entry)

All tasks:


27 thoughts on “Adopt A City – Mini Weather Unit

  1. Gene Chagaris December 31, 2020 / 11:05 pm

    Thank you for sharing your ideas! Adopt a city is such a great idea to motivate students to learn about weather! I’m going to try to incorporate your ideas in my MYP Y1 Weather unit.


  2. Debra Freitas May 17, 2017 / 1:31 pm

    I used this to wrap up my year with NGSS middle school standard ESS2-5. Worked great! I used Edmodo to post the task instructions and links, and linked to Google Classroom for parts of the assignment I wanted to create individual students docs that could be submitted to me. As the comment above, I modified the task instructions to fit my needs. I created quizzes in Edmodo to monitor kids learning. I set up tables at the back of the room for various tasks that either offered the hands on portion, such as the Brenoulli’s principle experiments, or offered the needed materials and handouts. I was concerned I wasn’t interacting as much with the kids, but they loved being able to move at their own pace. Great especially as we wrapped up the year. My 6th graders had tons of positive feedback!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Liz LaRosa May 18, 2017 / 12:11 pm

      Thank you Debra, this sounds fantastic! I wish I could use this still with my 6th graders, but we moved the topics around. Great feedback! ~Liz


  3. Anonymous May 8, 2017 / 3:17 pm

    I’ve been using this unit with my 7th graders. They seem to be having trouble keeping up with the pacing and it’s been over a month of steady work. Granted many of those days were half days, but I think I’m going to cut it short after task 6. I really do like the idea and would definitely try it again with another group. Perhaps this class just isn’t independent enough to stay on task. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Liz LaRosa May 18, 2017 / 12:13 pm

      Each class is different and modifying the activities to meet your needs is a good option. Thanks for the feedback! Liz


  4. Maire Schultz November 7, 2016 / 2:04 am

    Do you have a class set of paper copies of the “Weather (A Golden Guide from St. Martin’s Press)”? This is the only thing keeping me from doing this with my students. Is there another online source with the same information?


    • Liz LaRosa November 7, 2016 / 4:45 pm

      Marie – I have a class set of the Golden Guides, I am sure you can get similar information from other online weather websites, you can also try CK12 – a free online textbook. ~Liz


  5. Jaya February 16, 2016 / 2:24 pm

    Awesome project. Exactly the right project I was looking for. Weather being a new topic added to the middle school, is a difficult topic to address. But this project splits the whole topic into parts which makes it lot more easier. Thanks!


      • mindyblake May 17, 2016 / 3:10 pm

        Hi Liz, My 6th grade class is currently working on this unit. It took awhile to get them familiar with using Google Docs, but once we got started they are doing well. This is a great unit and it covers so many different weather topics. Thanks for setting it up!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Liz LaRosa May 18, 2016 / 6:34 pm

        Thx!! Glad it worked out 🙂


  6. rherold December 2, 2015 / 1:26 am

    Thanks for your hard work. I will let you know how it goes. I update the links and converted all to google drive doc/sheet. LMK if you want me to share.


  7. Lynnanne Henderson June 13, 2015 / 2:17 am

    I like the idea of a weekly lesson – that will fit with my technology access as well…. I’ll let you know what happens if I do use it:-) Have a great summer! Lynnanne


  8. Lynnanne Henderson June 5, 2015 / 2:55 am

    Liz – I’m interested in trying this next fall – I teach 6th grade science in California – 5 periods a day. How many computers do you have available at any one time and it looks like they need them often? I can get off and on access to a lab cart, just wondering how you are managing the technology piece?
    It looks like this covers some of the NGSS weather and climate standards as well? How well do you think it does? We are just starting the roll out in the fall with 6th grade so I’m looking for all the help I can get….. no textbook resources until 2018 at least…. Thanks for your help – Lynnanne


    • Liz LaRosa June 7, 2015 / 5:21 pm

      Lynnanne, you will need a tech piece each day for this unit, we have a 1:1 laptop program and students bring them to class. You can have 2 students per computer or tablet or modify this unit so that you spend one day a week dedicated to their weather study instead of everyday for 4 weeks. It covers good portions of the NGSS for weather and it fosters independent learning, each student was able to work at their own pace while I facilitated and helped students when they needed more guidance.


      • Lynnanne Henderson June 7, 2015 / 7:29 pm

        Hi Liz – Thanks for your response, I was thinking that I would need to modify the tech piece–sadly, we don’t have that type of ratio but I have enough options that I can make this work….. I’m also thinking non-stop independent work may be a bit much in the fall for 6th graders so spreading it out in shorter doses might be better anyway–don’t have them fully “trained” for a few months so they need more support =) I like releasing them to be more independent in the spring so if I can start them early, that will be awesome.

        Thank you for your website work you’ve done–for years, I’ve directed brand new teachers to your site and they have found it invaluable. I love that you have the sharing mentality… I share everything I can with colleagues and find it a bit distressing when people are trying to charge for things that we all do anyway that have been around for years! I’m just not organized enough to do it on a bigger scale like a website so I really appreciate the time you take–it is an extremely helpful resource….



      • Liz LaRosa June 7, 2015 / 8:30 pm

        I used this unit with my 6th graders at the end of the year this year, in the past when I had 6 laptops in my classroom, I used it as a weekly lesson over several months, so it can work either way with modifications.

        Thank you for sharing my resources with new teachers, I appreciate it! I don’t charge for the resources I post because I think teachers should share ideas freely and I have been lucky that more experienced teachers guided my way when I needed help.


  9. Tryphena May 21, 2015 / 8:08 pm

    I also have borrowed materials from your Adopt-A-City project. In fact, I was looking for something self-paced and short that students could go through before the end of the year. This has been fantastic and has helped me differentiate to students who are more independent. The students like it because they find out things about their favorite places and they can relax to complete this assignment. I like the repetition of some sections as the students become more familiar and accustomed to various vocabulary and models. We’re almost finished now and I can say that they can easily create a WSM and draw fronts very easily. Once again, you’re awesome! Thanks so much for sharing! I have posted a link to this homepage as the source.


    • Liz LaRosa May 21, 2015 / 10:14 pm

      Great to hear! Thanks for letting me know 🙂


  10. Will Horan April 8, 2015 / 2:28 am

    This is awesome, thank you very much! I’m using this with 6th graders in Denver, CO.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Liz LaRosa April 8, 2015 / 11:37 pm

      Thanks Will, hope the kids enjoy the unit!


  11. Mark Gjovig April 1, 2015 / 5:39 pm

    I have borrowed you materials and modified them to fit my classroom and it is working nicely. I do feel that I need to site resources and give credit where it is due. Do I use you and the middle school site as the source? and am I able to modify your materials without offending you? I am working totally online through a school site called Schoology and the student submit a lot of their work online instead of paper pencil which has been both challenging and fun… I really enjoy this format and would love to continue to use it.


    • Liz LaRosa April 1, 2015 / 10:06 pm

      Hi Mark,

      I am so glad to hear that you are able to use the lesson plans with your students. You are free to modify it for your students, you know them best and what works for them. As far as copyright, just a simple link to the home page for “Adopt a City by Liz LaRosa” would be all you need, it is free for classroom use.

      I am using this with my 6th graders right now and am really happy with the progress they are making, and I am still tweaking it as we go along.

      Thanks again!


    • Kristin Gieselmann April 27, 2015 / 5:08 pm

      I’d love to see what you have for Schoology. We use it at my school as well, and will be starting the unit very soon. Thanks!

      Kristin Gieselmann


      • Mark Gjovig April 27, 2015 / 6:17 pm

        To be honest I have modified the units from this site and put them into Schoology starting with task 1 and working through task 12. In Schoology I just added an assignment, labeled it task 1 for instance, and added task 1 to it as a link. Within the assignment i change the criteria and task to meet my needs somewhat but for the most part left each task as is. For most of the work I had to create editable documents so the student could turn their work in through the submit button in Schoology. When it was easier I would print off worksheets that they could use to do their work and then show me so that I could grade it. I was also able to create formative assessments in Schoology to keep track of their progress. (Even though they say quiz, I told the kids that they were open note, open web, open collaborations so that they could show what they learned without penalty of mistakes and loss of grades.) I use this with fifth grade students so most of the standards are introduction and not mastery. The kids love it once they get started but it is a struggle being that it is sort of self paced. I wish I was good enough at Schoology to share my folder with you so you could see for yourself and modify as you see fit but I am not sure quite how to that yet.



    • Zac Oswald September 28, 2017 / 5:43 pm

      I am gearing up to do this. I too use Schoology. We are a 1:1 MacBook district and the students have access to everything available in MS365 including Microsoft OneDrive. I would love to see your unit plan as well as hear about your student’s learning experience.


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