Literacy Lesson

Subject: Science

Grade level: 1

Prerequisite knowledge: Students should have an understanding of what thunder is and what it sounds like, students should know some general safety tips about what to do during thunderstorms such as not to stay outside,

Approximate time: 50 minutes

Student Objectives:

1. Students will create their own book about thunderstorms after first hearing the story

2. Students will write about the difference between a thunderstorm watch and thunderstorm warning in their brochures.


A. Know and apply the concepts, principles and processes of scientific inquiry.

11.A.1a Describe an observed event.

E. Know and apply concepts that describe the features and processes of the Earth and its resources.

12.E.1b Identify and describe patterns of weather and seasonal change.

Materials/resources/technology: book Hate That Thunder by William J. Adams, brochures that students have already started making, big piece of chart paper, marker, construction paper for every student, plain white pieces of paper for every student, markers for every student, staplers to put together the books


Opening of Lesson:

Start off the lesson by asking the students if they know what thunder sounds like.  Tell them on the count of three, we are all going to make our best thunder noise.  Count to three and let the students make “booms” and “bangs” to get them hooked.  Then ask the students to raise their hand if they have ever been scared during a thunderstorm before.  Ask the students what they have been scared of during a storm.  (Thunder, rain, lightning, wind, etc.)  Then we will make a short list of some of the things that we are scared of and tell them that we will come back to look at that list to see if it’s similar to the story we’re going to read.  Tell them that we are going to read a book about being scared during a thunderstorm.  Take out the book, introduce it to the students, and ask them to make a prediction about what they think might happen in the book.  Have the students turn to a partner and share what their prediction is.  Then refocus the attention to the front and read the students the book, stopping on any particular pages that require some discussion.


After finishing the book, ask the students to raise their hand if they have ever felt like the character in the book.  Then ask the students if their predictions about the book were right and ask for examples of specific predictions they made.  Take out the paper with the list of things that could be scary from earlier on and have them add to it.  Review some of the ideas they came up with before the story; add some new ideas from the story, and compare some of the ideas listed before and after the story. 

After the students have helped come up with a list for why thunderstorms can be scary, ask them if they can think of anything they can do to make them less scary.  Tell them there are things you can do to prepare.  Ask the students if they have every heard of a thunderstorm warning or a thunderstorm watch.  Allow for any student answers.  Then go over the difference between the two.  Explain that when there is a watch, it is possible that there might be a big thunderstorm coming but a warning means it already is coming or in the area.  Explain that they can listen to the radio or watch the news to find out if there’s a possibility of a severe thunderstorm.  Tell them that this can make it a little less scary because you know what’s happening and you can be ready for it.  Ask the students if they have every watched the news or listened to the radio to find out about the weather or a storm. 

When the students understand that a watch means a severe thunderstorm may develop in the area and a warning means a severe thunderstorm means that there is a severe thunderstorm in the area, ask them to explain these two terms in their weather brochure.  Tell them that this is important information to include that can help keep people safe and help them to know what to do during a thunderstorm.  They will be given some time to write about these 2 terms in their brochure as well as draw a picture to go with it. 

Then tell the students that I need a little help remembering what to do to be safe during a thunderstorm.  This should be a review from their lesson on lightning.  Ask students if they should be outside or inside during a storm.  Ask them if they should use the phone or computer during a storm.  Ask them if there is anything else they should be careful about during a storm. 

Next each student will be given one piece of construction paper and a few pieces of plain white paper and tell them that they are going to write their own story about a thunderstorm.  Tell them it can be a true story about something that’s happened to them or it can be a made up story.  Tell them to make sure to talk about safety and help to resolve the problem in the story.  They can write whatever kind of story they want but they must include a fear about thunderstorms, something about a watch or a warning, and also something about safety in their story.  To address ELL students, I will encourage the students to write their book in their native language, or if they have trouble with the writing in general, they can draw pictures for their story and then just talk about their pictures when they share. 


After the students are finished, I will then allow students to share their stories.  Depending on the class size, I will either have them share in small groups of 5 or 6, or if it’s a smaller class I’ll have them share to the whole class.  Then we will have a quick discussion about thunderstorms, safety during storms, and what a thunderstorm watch is and what a thunderstorm warning is.  I will tell them they did a great job talking about thunderstorms and encourage them to teach their friends and family safety tips at home.


  1. I will listen to students read their stories to their peers
  2. I will observe what children write in their brochures about watches and warnings. 

Possible Extensions: