This free ESL lesson plan on the weather has been designed for adults and young adults at an intermediate (B1/B2) to advanced (C1/C2) level and should last around 45 to 60 minutes for one student.
As Crowded House once said, everywhere you go, always take the weather with you. The weather can make us happy or depressed; on a nice sunny day you can go out and do enjoyable things, but when it’s wet and miserable, you’ll be forced to stay home looking out of the window. The weather changes day to day, as opposed to the climate, which is the average weather over a period of time. Over the last few decades, the climate in many parts of the world has changed, meaning we have started to experience extreme weather conditions. How will the weather in the future be if this trend continues? In this ESL lesson plan on the weather, students will have the opportunity to discuss and express their opinions on issues such as what the weather is, different weather phenomena and how the weather affects our daily lives.
This lesson plan could also be used with your students to debate these issues for World Meteorological Day, which takes place in March. For more lesson plans on international days and important holidays, see the calendar of world days to plan your classes for these special occasions.
For advice on how to use this English lesson plan and other lesson plans on this site, see the guide for ESL teachers.
Before the English class, send the following article to the students and ask them to read it while making a list of any new vocabulary or phrases they find (explain any the students don’t understand in the class):
The Guardian | BBC removes Bitesize page on climate change ‘benefits’ after backlash
The article refers to a decision by the BBC to amend a controversial article it had written for the educational section of its website that included a list of positive effects of climate change, such as healthier outdoor lifestyles, increased economic opportunities in places where ice has melted, and the opening up of new tourist destinations. What do they think about the issues raised in the article? Do they agree with what was said? Can they think of any ways they might disagree with the content of the article?
To save time in class for the conversation activities, the English teacher can ask the students to watch the video below and answer the listening questions in Section 3 of the lesson plan at home. The questions for the video are styled in a way similar to an exam like the IELTS.
The video for this class is a called “Reasons for the seasons” by TED Ed which looks at why certain regions of Earth experience different seasons throughout the year.
The focus in the class is on conversation in order to help improve students’ fluency and confidence when speaking in English as well as boosting their vocabulary.
This lesson opens with a short discussion about the article the students read before the class. Next, the students can give their opinion on the quote at the beginning of the lesson plan – what they think the quote means and if they agree with it. This is followed by an initial discussion on the topic including the difference between weather and climate, the typical weather where the students live, and if the weather forecast can be trusted.
After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with the weather such as downpour vs drizzle, black ice and blizzard. This vocabulary has been chosen to boost the students’ knowledge of less common vocabulary that could be useful for preparing for English exams like IELTS or TOEFL. The vocabulary is accompanied by a cloze activity and a speaking activity to test the students’ comprehension of these words.
If the students didn’t watch the video before the class, they can watch it after the vocabulary section and answer the listening questions. Before checking the answers, ask the students to give a brief summary of the video and what they thought about the content.
Finally, there is a more in-depth conversation about political ideologies. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as the worst weather they have experienced, how the weather affects the economy, and if they have noticed a change in the weather through their lives.
After the class, students will write about their opinion of the weather. This could be a short paragraph or a longer piece of writing depending on what level the student is at. The writing activity is designed to allow students to practise and improve their grammar with the feedback from their teacher. For students who intend to take an international English exam such as IELTS or TOEFL, there is an alternative essay question to practise their essay-writing skills.