This idea is inspired by the highly recommendable and enjoyable ‘Getting the Buggers to Add Up’ by Mike Ollerton. If you haven’t read this book yet, then I highly recommend that you do, particularly if like me you are prefer not to teach from a textbook, it is full of fantastic ideas and tips how to motivate students and making maths fun.

While reading ‘Getting the Buggers to Add Up’ I came across a section titled ‘Teaching mathematics through real life contexts’, well this is something that I endeavour to do whenever possible.

The idea is to collect each day’s weather page from a newspaper for weeks, months and eventually years. I have only collected over a series of months and think I will begin collecting again. I now have a resource (that isn’t a textbook) for students to use to chart changing patterns in weather, tides, temperatures and so on. I originally began collecting pages from The Times newspaper which has a lot of information on, looks quite dull and can be quite costly. I have since moved to The I paper as it costs 20p and is more visually appealing. It doesn’t have as much data on to analyse but still makes a great resource. To ensure that the pages won’t get ripped, tatty or lost I have backed them on poster paper and laminated them. This wasn’t entirely necessary and took a lot of time so I might not do it in the future but at least I know that they will be around for a long time.


You can see the weather pages that I have made above.

On the weather pages from The I, there isn’t as much information as you get from a paper like The Times but there is still a lot of data that can be compared.

  • use box and whisper plots to compare the weather from different cities
  • draw a centigrade to fahrenheit conversion graph
  • explore the changing length of daylight (sunrise to sunset) over a period of time
  • finding the hottest and coldest places in the world
  • charting the number of sunshine hours from the most southerly to the most northerly places in the UK
  • checking the accuracy of a five day forecast
  • create stem and leaf diagram from all the cities displayed in the UK

I have used the weather pages during several occasions and pupils have responded favourably to them. Finding cities that they recognise or where they come from and have heard off. They also provide a fantastic cross-curricular link with Geography and Science. With my Northern  Cumbrian accent, I am always keen to point out that I am indeed from England and not Ireland, Scotland or as far away as New Zealand.

I hope that you decide to collect some weather pages and make your own resource or at the very least read Mike Ollerton’s book.



About daveadamson

A cancer-fighting, maths loving teacher in London

2 responses »

  1. srcav says:

    Superb ideas! I am certainly going to start my own collection of weather charts! Thanks.

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