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Weather Challenge

Grade and Content Area: 7th Grade – Earth Science


In the Second Life program, students use an avatar to fly around and hurt for raindrops in different cloud types. As they find the rain drops they are asked to identify the cloud type and answer some other questions to build a particular weather event.

Lesson Plan

Description of the Science Content of the Module: Cloud types and weather patterns

When it is most appropriate to use the Module:

  • Students should have a basic understanding of cloud types, fronts, pressure, temperature, and precipitation. The game is best used as review and reinforcement.
  • A pretest should be given to test student’s knowledge before hand.

Game Play:

The clouds are permanently in the sky above ground. They are between the altitudes of 400 – 600 meters, and are placed relative to the actual altitudes they appear at in the sky. Once a student is wearing the HUD and has hit “Play” they will be able to start exploring the sky. The HUD will allow them to fly up to 620 meters (Second Life normally restricts flying to about 180 meters).

Students should explore the sky looking for the following types of clouds: Cumulus, stratus, cirrus, nimbostratus, and cumulonimbus. Once a cloud has been found, the player should search through the cloud for a raindrop hidden within the cloud. The raindrops move about the cloud randomly and so will not always be in the same place. Also, every time another player finds the drop it will move then as well, so if two students are both going after a raindrop only the first one to get to it will be able to collect it, the second will have to go find it again, creating a treasure-hunt like scenario.

Once the raindrop has been found, the player should either click on it or run into it. Doing this will prompt a series of questions. The first will be what type of cloud the raindrop was found in. If answered incorrectly the student will be given a description of what the cloud they chose actually looks like and then will have to go try to find the raindrop again. If answered correctly then the student will be shown a picture and explanation of that cloud and will be able to move on to the next question. The student will then be given a funny scenario about something they wouldn’t want to do and will then have to create a certain weather scenario to get out of it (snow showers, thunderstorm, etc.). A player will then have to select the type of front, the temperature, pressure and precipitation associated with that storm.

If this is done correctly the student is awarded points and the cloud type is complete. If done incorrectly the student will have to find the raindrop and try again. Each attempt earns less points when a correct answer is finally given.

A player must complete all 5 cloud types to win the game. Upon finishing, the game the player will be awarded extra points based on how quickly the game was finished.


Pre-test Questions (doc)

Post Test Questions(doc)

Pre-test Questions (pdf)

Post Test Questions(pdf)

These test questions have not been validated!

Education Standards: Grade 7 – Earth Systems

    • Indicator 5: Make simple weather predictions based on the changing cloud types associated with frontal systems
    • Indicator 6: Determine how weather observations and measurements are combined to produce weather maps and that data for a specific location at one point in time can be displayed in a station model.
    • Indicator 7: Read a weather map to interpret local, regional and national weather.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0538588. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.