Rate that Hurricane!

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Use an online simulator to rate and categorize a hurricane then document the differences developing a further understanding of the concept and core idea.

Big Idea

Scientists can use models to help categorize hurricanes


1 minutes

Warm up

5 minutes

I sometimes like to start a lesson using a video to help students connect to notes and information they may have learned in our previous lesson,  "What is a hurricane?"  The video we viewed for this lesson helped my students do just that before discussing how hurricanes are rated.

Guided practice

15 minutes

I wanted my students to get a true sense of the devastation a hurricane can cause to a community. I felt that it was important that they realize that though hurricanes cause much flooding, they are only rated according to wind speed. I created a PowerPoint for this lesson, Can You Rate This Hurricane?, in order to help guide the lesson and give my students the opportunity to document the possible damage in a way that would be more visual and personal.


20 minutes
  1. In a research group of two, the students worked collaboratively using a simulator on the NOAA site to document the devastation that happens during a hurricane. They used the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale as their guide. I also created an organizer, the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale Organizer to guide the students through the simulation. I know that this made a difference and helped them better understand what happens during each hurricane wind category.

Class Discussion/Warm Up

10 minutes

By having my students work in pairs when using the simulator, it gave them an opportunity to discuss what they observed and have meaningful discussions about the devastation hurricanes can cause. I also created 3 facts about hurricane ratings that stuck with me , which helped elevate our  group discussion because of the meaningful discussions they had with their partners and the 3 facts page combination,  students were able to express their finding based on evidence more clearly. Here's an example of the completed organizer Completed 3 things I learned.