Weather VS Climate Acticity

Weather vs Climate
What’s the difference between weather and climate?
That’s a good question! Sometimes the words get used almost synonymously, but there’s a real
difference. And we can illustrate the difference with a cup of M&Ms.
Weather is what it is doing right now. It might be raining, it might be sunny. Climate is a bit
harder to define. Here are a couple of characteristics:
Climate describes the range of what you might expect in a given location—the limits of
what the weather might be. In Westerville, where we are, it might be cold in March or it
might be hot. It might be 25°F or it might be 75°F. But it’s never 0°F or 100°F in March.
Climate describes average weather. On any given day, it might be hot in Denver and cool
in Miami, but, on most days, it’s hotter in Miami than it is in Denver.
Climate describes long-term trends. If it’s cold for a few days, that’s weather. If it’s an
ice age, that’s climate.
In Ohio, our weather is pretty changeable. It might be rainy one minute and sunny the next.
But our climate is pretty stable. The climate of Ohio is continental, characterized by a
relatively large range of seasonal variability with cold winters and warm, humid, summers.
1. As a class, define different type of weather for each M&M candy color.
a. Brown- _____________________
b. Yellow- _____________________
c. Blue- _______________________
d. Green- ______________________
e. Orange- _____________________
f. Red- ________________________
2. Each person will get a small cup of M&M’s. (DO NOT EAT THEM…yet). This cup
represents the different weather we can see on a daily basis here in Westerville, OH.
3. Each person will, without looking, pick one M&M from their cup and place it in front of
them. That M&M is going to represent the weather today. The weather today, according
to your M&M is…_______________________.
4. Record what each member at your table got.
i. _____________________________________
ii. _____________________________________
iii. _____________________________________
iv. _____________________________________
*This represents weather… the unpredictable daily happenings of what is going on outside.*
5. Next, everyone pour out all your M&M’s on the table and count how many of each color
the table has as a whole.
a. Brown- ___________
b. Yellow- ___________
c. Blue- _____________
d. Green- ____________
e. Orange- ___________
f. Red- ______________
*If you look at the weather over a longer period of time, (for example, each M&M represents a
different day) patterns start to emerge. You are starting to pin down the climate....*
6. Now, compute a percent for each color for your table. (Remember… color divided by total
number multiplied by 100) This is climate.
If you give someone a fresh cup of M&M’s, you can't predict the weather—whether the next
candy out of the bag will be blue or orange—but you can predict trends in the weather. You can
say, with confidence, that there won't be 100% orange candies in the cup. That would be very
So… The difference between weather and climate is…
Now you can eat your M&M’s. Enjoy 