Weather vs Climate – Understanding the difference between weather and climate

Brief description

In this set of three activities, students will learn the difference between weather and climate. They will identify different climatic zones and collect their own weather data. They will analyse and compare daily and monthly air temperature measurements. Finally, they will learn about different climate scenarios and identify what it means for the monthly average temperatures in their area/country. 

Subject Mathematics, Science

Learning Objectives
  • Understand the difference between weather and climate
  • Identify the elements and factors of climate (wind, temperature, atmospheric pressure, rainfall)
  • Identify the world climatic zones by detecting some basic characteristics
  • Compare weather and climate data
  • Learn how to take and collect weather measurements
  • Calculate the average weekly/monthly air temperature
  • Interpret tables and graphs, and drawing conclusions
Age range
8 – 12 years old
approximately 45 minutes per activity
Resource available in:
Activity 1: Is it weather or climate?
In this activity, pupils will learn the difference between weather and climate by analysing different statements from Paxi. Pupils should  conclude that the term “weather” implies a short period of time (hours or days) and that “climate” implies much longer periods (years, decades). 
Activity 2: Weather Detectives
In this activity, pupils will make their own weather observations by measuring air temperature and analyse the data afterwards. Pupils learn skills in data collection and practice handling data mathematically. 
  • Thermometer
  • Pupil activity sheet
  • Calculator
Activity 3: Climate Reporters
In this activity, pupils will look at future climate scenarios and analyse how these will impact temperatures. They will write a climate summary for the year 2050! Pupils will also discuss actions to help lessen or raise awareness of the impacts caused by an increase in temperatures. Before starting this activity it’s important to assess student’s knowledge about greenhouse gases. Younger pupils may start the activity by watching Paxi’s video about the greenhouse effect.

Did you know?

The climate has been changing for billions of years. Long periods of colder or warmer climate occurred long before humans were on the planet to influence it. Scientists work like detectives to figure out what the climate used to be like. These scientists are called paleoclimatologists. They use clues found in the sediments of lakes and oceans, in glaciers, in fossils, and as rings inside trees to study Earth’s climate. Concordia research station in cold and dry Antarctica is one of the most isolated human outposts on Earth and a perfect place to investigate our planet’s climate past. When paleoclimatologists combine their reconstructed history of Earth’s climate with observations of Earth’s modern climate and put them into computer models, they can predict future climate change.

Images from Space

Learn how satellites can help us monitoring our planet. Video by ESERO Germany (in English).