Thursday, May 9

Shouting at the Rain + Stormy Weather Unit Study

Home base for the National Weather Center is located in Norman, OK.  Our homeschool co-op scheduled a group tour on a relatively uneventful weather day...but that was perfect, because we could stay and ask as many questions as we wanted, without being in the way.  

Our tour guide led us outside to the truck and equipment storage area.  We learned about each special vehicle and their latest research.  We got a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what happens on a severe weather day, and how the various crews begin their jobs.
From the ninth floor, you can see for miles!  Especially on a beautiful, clear day like this one.  Also, since this is about midway through the tour, the bouncy seats in the aerial room and a lot of fun to play on and release some energy...
Back down in the forecasting center, we saw the room where all severe weather watches and warnings are issued for the United States (excepting AK and HI).  On a spring day, this place would be full of people, but today there were only two men working.  We learned the different desks' jobs, and why each separate piece of data is so important.  After a lengthy discussion about how storms and tornadoes are created, and the movie Twister, we headed back down to the lobby...
Severe weather is any type of weather that has the potential to cause damage, social disruption, or loss of life.  Depending on where you live, you may experience different types of severe weather, including earthquake, flood, hurricane, tornado, blizzard, ice storm, wildfire, severe thunderstorm, or dust storm.

"Weather" is defined by its temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind, humidity, precipitation, cloudiness, and solar radiation.  Some basic instruments meteorologists use to measure these include:

  • Humidity- Hygrometer
  • Precipitation- Rain Gauge
  • Pressure- Barometer
  • Temperature- Thermometer
  • Wind Speed- Anemometer
  • Wind Direction- Wind Vane

Different types of clouds can also foretell weather changes.  
  • Cumulus clouds - cotton-ball clouds - come with nice weather...the kind where you lay back and make cloud shapes all afternoon!  
  • Stratus clouds look like layers of blankets and often bring cool temperatures, rain, and even snow.  
  • Cirrus clouds are like wisps and curly-ques high in the sky.  They usher in warm fronts and can be a sign of bad weather to come.
  • Cumulonimbus clouds are the ones we typically associate with severe storms, as they can be indicative of developing thunderstorms.  These are the "wall clouds," and some can reach as tall as 60,000 feet!
The spine read for this unit study is Shouting at the Rain

Access the complete unit study in the Science-Based Novel Studies Bundle!
Includes nine novel studies covering science-based topics. Each novel addresses a new topic, primarily falling into STEM, technology, and modern science.
  • Each unit has introductory text, which will give the student basic background information about the topic at hand.
  • There are photographs and illustrations, and we have also included primary documents when available.
  • After this text, there are featured videos, which augment the background information and help make the topic more accessible for more visual students.
  • You will also find a short list of reading books, including one featured novel – the spine of the unit.
  • There are vocabulary words, places, and people to identify.
  • Reading comprehension, critical thinking questions, and writing assignments are included.
  • We add fun with hands-on activities and extra videos to watch that will bring the era to life.
  • Some units also have cooking projects.

Product Samples – Fever 1793 & Nick and Tesla: High Voltage Danger Lab

These studies are directed toward upper grades students, but some have resources for younger students so that the whole family can work together. Our family has used unit studies as curriculum for many years, and we hope that your family will enjoy these, too!


  1. This is a neat unit using a book I haven't heard of. I'll have to check it out.

  2. I had not heard of that book, what ages would you recommend it for?

    1. I'd say middle school for most readers.

  3. Lots of great info for when we study weather more deeply!


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