Skip to main content

Weather Forecasting (lesson plan)


Students will explore the different types of clouds and the weather that is associated with each type of cloud. Students will observe how weather is depicted in paintings, generate a weather report for a certain painting, and create their own cloud paintings.

Grade Levels
7th Grade
Subject Areas
Science, Visual Arts
NC Standards Correlations
Visual Arts
7.V.2.2 , 7.V.3.3, 7.CX.1.1

Artwork Related to this Lesson

  • Trouville, The Jetties, High Tide

    Trouville, The Jetties, High Tide, by Eugène Boudin

    learn more

Student Learning Objectives

  1. Students will apply knowledge of various types of clouds and their relationship to weather systems.
  2. Students will explore en plein air paintings and analyze the impact of technology on artists' working materials and processes.
  3. Students will use observational skills and apply knowledge of art techniques and materials to create a personal work of art based on nature.
Use left and right arrows to navigate between tabs.


1. Have students create a windowpane foldable with four flaps for notes on clouds. Instruct students to label each flap with one type of cloud: cirrus, stratus, cumulus, cumulonimbus.

2. Have students count off by fours. Assign one type of cloud for each number (1–cirrus, 2–stratus, 3–cumulus, 4–cumulonimbus).

3. Show the Types of Clouds video. Ask students to take notes under the flap of the foldable on the type of cloud that was assigned to their number.

4. Once video is complete, have students get into groups based on the type of cloud they took notes on during the video (for example, students who took notes on cirrus clouds should be together). Students should work together, share notes, and use the textbook and Internet resources to describe their type of cloud. Students in each group should become “experts” about their type of cloud. Students will finish by drawing a picture of their type of cloud on the outside flap of the foldable and writing a description and any other facts under the flap.

5. Rearrange the students into new groups of four. Each of the four students should be an “expert” about one of the four different types of clouds. Within the group, students will teach each other about their cloud type. During this time, students should complete their foldables with a drawing of the cloud on the front of the flap and facts on the inside.

6. To review the types of clouds and the altitudes where they are formed, instruct students to complete the Types of Clouds Worksheet.

7. Review students’ answers to worksheet. Discuss types of clouds and the weather that is associated with each type.

8. An extension to review the cloud types is to show the Types of Clouds Music Video or the Types of Clouds PowerPoint Presentation. During the PowerPoint, students can write answers on individual whiteboards or discuss as a class.

9. Introduce students to Boudin’s Trouville, The Jetties, High Tide. Discuss the painting as a group. Appoint a note taker to write down students’ responses to questions. Questions may include:- What do you see in this painting? (Students should point out things that are observable in the painting)- What type of clouds do you notice? (Students should conclude the clouds are either cumulus or cumulonimbus)- Describe what you think the weather would be like if you were able to step into this painting. (Students should describe temperature, wind speed, season, etc.)- What clues helped you determine the temperature and type of weather in the painting? (bright sunlight, shadows in water, cool colors giving clues regarding the temperature, full sails, flag blowing)-Do you think the artist painted this scene outside or inside? (Painted most of it outside)-Name some advantages/disadvantages of working outside. (Answers will vary)-Name some advantages/disadvantages of working inside. (Answers will vary)

10. Give background information about en plein air painting. Tell students that Boudin painted outdoors and encouraged others to do the same. As a class or in small groups, have students brainstorm materials that an artist might need to paint outside. Appoint a note taker for each group or the whole class to make a list of the materials. Discuss items that may be missing from the lists. Items may include portable easel, palette, paint tubes, weather gear (sweater, umbrella, hat, etc.), glasses, brushes, portable stool or chair, sketchbook, canvases, pencils, etc.

11. Discuss as a class which of these items would have been available to Boudin during the time that he completed this painting (around 1876). Ask: What items would not have been available? (plastic containers, sunscreen, cell phone with Internet access for a weather report).

12. Discuss the role of technology in preparing for weather. Ask: What do you need to know before you spend the day outside? (temperature, precipitation, how to dress) How do you find out what the weather will be? (Web site, TV report, newspaper) How do you think Boudin and other artists prepared themselves for painting outside without having a weather forecast on the morning news? (clouds, climate information, almanac)

13. Refer back to the students’ responses to the discussion questions about Boudin’s Trouville, The Jetties, High Tide. Using the students’ responses, work as a class to put a weather report together for this painting. Remind students of the important elements of forecasting the weather (temperature, wind speed, wind direction, precipitation). Demonstrate a sample weather report about the Boudin painting.

14. Tell students that they will be working in a group to create a weather report for either a French or an Italian painting. Divide the class into groups and assign each group one of the following paintings:

  • Capriccio: The Rialto Bridge and The Church of S. Giorgio Maggiore by Giovanni Antonio Canal (Italian)
  • The Cliff, Étretat, Sunset by Claude Monet (French)
  • The Grand Canal at the [Rio di] Ca’ Foscari by Michele Marieschi (Italian)
  • The Saint-Sever Bridge, Rouen: Mist by Camille Pissarro (French).

15. Ask students to discuss the painting within their groups. Have students complete the Weather or Not Data Handout during the group discussion. Students should use the Weather or Not Forecast Tools Handout and their cloud foldable to determine the weather forecast.

16. Students should use the information to come up with a creative weather forecast presentation. Students can use props, poster board, costumes, etc. to present their forecast.

17. Project each painting and allow students to present their weather reports. Discuss the elements of the painting and the evidence that the students used to determine the weather conditions.

18. Allow students to create their own cloud paintings. Students should use the NCMA paintings from the weather reports as inspiration. Students should show a specific type of cloud in their painting as well as evidence of specific weather conditions.

19. As an alternative assignment, instead of having students create a cloud painting indoors, have students organize materials and go outside to draw or create small en plein air paintings. Encourage students to work quickly to capture the quality of light and weather conditions.

20. Ask students to complete a reflection about their cloud painting. Project the Cloud Painting Reflection PowerPoint for students to reference.

Written by Jennifer Rogers, Science Teacher


  • Types of Clouds Worksheet will demonstrate students’ understanding of types of clouds and weather associated with each cloud.
  • Weather or Not Data Handout will assess students’ discussions and analysis of the painting. Rubric will assess discussion, answers, and presentation.
  • Class discussion and group lists can be used to assess students’ analysis of weather data and factors.
  • Cloud painting and reflection will demonstrate students’ ability to use observation skills and different techniques to create art.

Lesson Resources


cirrus clouds

stratus clouds

cumulus clouds

cumulonimbus clouds

en plein air


Paper for foldableCrayons or colored pencils for foldableCardstock for paintingPaintPaint brushesProjectorProps, costumes, poster board, etc. for weather report presentations


Types of Clouds Video

Types of Clouds Internet Resources

Types of Clouds Worksheet 

Types of Clouds Music Video 

The Grand Canal at the [Rio di] Ca’ Foscari by Michele Marieschi

Weather or Not Data Handout

Related Content