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UCAR Center for Science Education


3rd, 4th, 5th


Science, Earth and Space Sciences, English Language Arts, Mathematics

Resource Types

  • Lesson Plan
  • Worksheet
  • Activity - Classroom

Regional Focus




Climate Postcards

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  • In this lesson, students learn about Earth's many climate zones by interpreting data in graphs and identifying climate zones described in postcards.
  • Students will learn about the difference between weather and climate, the conditions of five different climate zones, and why variations in climate exist.
Teaching Tips


  • This lesson allows students to work both individually and in groups or pairs.
  • The lesson plan includes introductory discussion questions on weather and climate, directions, background information, and optional additional exercises.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should understand averages and how to read graphs.
  • The map of climate zones should either be printed in color or projected for the class to see.
  • This lesson is expected to take 2-3 hours of class time to complete.


  • This lesson can also be used in math classes during lessons about creating and reading graphs.
  • Have students consider the impact of a changing climate on different climate zones and the plants, animals, and people living in them.
  • The lesson briefly introduces biomes, which can be expanded upon in science classes.
  • This interactive textbook lesson can be used to learn more about climate zones and biomes to supplement this lesson.
Scientist Notes
This resource lets students understand the physical and living characteristics of places and compare the weather conditions and patterns in different climatic zones using the Köppen climate classification system. This is insightful and recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • 3-ESS2-2 Obtain and combine information to describe climates in different regions of the world.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.3.7 Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.1 Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.7 Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.1 Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
  • Common Core Math Standards (CCSS.MATH)
    • Measurement & Data (K-5)
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.3.MD.B.3 Draw a scaled picture graph and a scaled bar graph to represent a data set with several categories. Solve one- and two-step "how many more" and "how many less" problems using information presented in scaled bar graphs. For example, draw a bar graph in which each square in the bar graph might represent 5 pets.
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