Line Graphs of Weather Forecasts

Objective: The student will be able to interpret data; make and read a line graph, understand plotting points on an X-Y axis, and round numbers.
Resources: Teacher: newspaper weather page, or local television stations often put a 4 to 5 day forecast on their websites. Students: 12″ ruler, pencil, red and blue markers or crayons, lined notebook paper.
Teacher Preparation: Make overhead transparency of newspaper weather forecast or printout of website forecast, or be prepared to diagram on blackboard.

1. Procedure: Pick a line on the notebook paper about 7″ from the top as the baseline. Using the ruler, draw over it for emphasis.
2. On the baseline, measure from the left edge of the paper, putting marks at 3″, 4″, 5″ and 6″.
3. Draw vertical lines with the ruler through each of the four marks.
4. Under the baseline, on each of the four vertical lines, write days of the week from the forecast.
5. Starting at the baseline and going up, to the left of the 3″ line, write temperatures in five-degree increments for the range of temperature for your climate at this time (ours, for example would range from 20 degrees/F to 70 degrees/F).
6. From the overhead or diagram on the board, plot the high temperatures for the next four days, rounding to the nearest 5 degrees.
7. Using the ruler, connect the dots with a red marker.
8. Repeat for the low temperatures, using a blue marker.
9. Label the red and blue lines, label the X and Y axes and title the graph.

Variations/Options: Use digital indoor/outdoor thermometer to record daily highs and lows for a daily update; add other variables, such as cloud information; eliminate the rounding for a more complex and accurate graph.