PECAN K-12 Educational Resources

The UCAR Center for Science Education is comprised of staff with expertise in the atmospheric and related sciences and science education. We are passionate about the importance of our mission and strive for excellence in all aspects of our work. Major program areas include formal (K-12) education, informal education and school and public programs, education technology, and undergraduate education.

The modules listed below have been designed and developed by UCAR Center for Science Education, and is a selection of PECAN-related material. 

Radars & Electromagnetic Radiation

Radar & Weather Together :: Teaching Activities Workbook

Radar and Weather Together is a collection of educational resources that students and the general public have enjoyed while visiting the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), our Outreach Booth at festivals and conferences, or online through our educational Websites. NCAR Education and Outreach staff have developed some of these activities, while others are popular hands-on activities that have proven to be effective for public engagement in weather education here at NCAR and elsewhere.

These resources are not intended to provide a comprehensive weather curriculum, but rather to serve as an enhancement to the study of weather and its many technological tools. We hope they will be useful in both formal and informal settings, and help to expand science literacy and interest in severe weather research and science in general. 

>> Go to Radar & Weather Together :: Teaching Activities Workbook


Waves of Energy More or Less


Students create and observe wavelengths at both high and low energy levels using safety glasses, rope, and a power drill.

Grade Level

This activity is suitable for upper elementary, middle, and high-school students learning about energy and the electromagnetic spectrum.

Student Learning Objectives

Students will be able to explain that energy travels from the Sun to the Earth by means of electromagnetic waves.

Students will understand that shorter wavelengths have higher frequency and energy.

Students will understand that longer wavelengths have lower frequency and energy.

Students will be able to explain why shorter wavelengths carry more energy than longer wavelengths.

Students will be able to demonstrate how a wavelength is measured.

Lesson Format

Demonstration by and/or with student(s)

>> Go to Waves of Energy More or Less activity with NGSS, instructions, and background and extensions

Thunderstorms & Severe Weather

Web Weather for Kids | Thunderstorms

A collection of activities to increase understanding of how thunderstorms form, the different types, and safety precausitions when they are near.

Grade Level

Upper elementary and middle school readers 

>> Go to Web Weather for Kids | Thunderstorms


Get the Picture


Students review graphs and charts of severe weather data then answer "True and False" questions about the content conveyed.

Grade Level

This activity works best with middle and secondary school-aged students.

Time Required

30 minutes to prepare and review "True and False" cards and answers

45 minutes for student activity

15 minutes for class discussion

Student Learning Objectives

Students will learn about different ways that informational data can be conveyed.

Students will learn about statistical tools and apply concepts of statistics to analyze weather data.

Students will analyze data in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims.

>> Go to Get the Picture activity with NGSS, instructions, and background and extensions

Weather in the News

Weather in the News


In this activity, students will compare stories about a weather event from different media sources and different perspectives.

Grade Level

Grades 6-12, depending on students' reading and ability levels

Student Learning Objectives

Students will gain an understanding of how weather events are portrayed in the media.

Students will learn the difference between a variety of perspectives: news reporting vs. opinion articles, national focus vs. local focus, and scientific focus vs. social focus.

>> Go to Weather in the News


Flash Floods Teaching Box

The UCAR Center for Science Education Teaching Boxes are themed collections of classroom-ready educational resources to build student understanding of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Resources highlighted within teaching boxes are from various science education programs and all have been vetted by the Center's education team.

Flash floods happen when quick and heavy rainfall causes placid waterways to turn into raging torrents. This teaching box is filled with explorations and readings that help secondary students learn the science of flash flooding. Students will learn that storms with unusually heavy rainfall can cause a flood, that the shape of the land and the ability of the ground to hold water influences whether a flood is likely, and they will learn how flash flood risk and probability is assessed. Get your feet wet by bringing the science of flash floods to your classroom.

There are three activities for middle and high school level in the teaching box:

>> Go to Flash Floods Teaching Box