Extreme Climates and Factors that Affect Climate


Welcome Young Scientists!

Today you will be taking a journey around the globe to explore various places with extreme climates. You will be analyzing and interpreting data to form ideas about extreme climates and their causes by filling out accompanying graphic organizer for task one.

You will then explore the various factors that effect climate by watching the video links and filling out the accompanying graphic organizer for task two. 

Have fun traveling the globe and get ready for the extreme climates you are about to encounter!

Pre-assessment Opener:

Before you start the activity, predict at least two places on the planet that has an extreme climate:

For each place do the following:

Name the place, describe the extreme climate, and explain what factor you think cause this climate.


Task 1: You will need to go to the following Interactive Map Link: 


You will be learning about and comparing places in the world with extreme climates. On the interactive map link the "rain cloud" symbol represents places where it is extremely wet, the "yellow circle, with white sun" symbol represents places on earth that are extremely dry, the "blue snow flake" symbol represents places where it is extremely cold, and the "red thermometer" symbol represents places where there is extreme heat. 

See the google document graphic organizer under the "process" section of this page to fill out while you explore extreme climates.

Task 2: You will need to do take the following steps to explore the factors that affect climate: 

  • Work in order through the document (in the process section of this page for task 2), do not skip anything.

  • You will need to watch the videos and fill in notes in all of the BLUE boxes.

  • You can use the images on the left of each question to help you. If you can’t read the words, drag the corner of the picture to make it bigger (then put it back).

       I highly recommend that you use all the sentence stems provided for full credit.


For Task 1: Please see the following graphic organizer to fill out while exploring the Interactive Map on extreme climates around the world.


Extreme Climates - Explore

3 things that surprised me were…






3 things that did not ​surprise me were...






Ways that the extreme climates were the same as the climate where I live:






Ways that the extreme climates were the different from  the climate where I live:






Extreme Climate Locations

What do you think causes these extreme temperatures and/or precipitation?

Example: Eureka, Nunavut, Canada

Eureka is very cold. The average temperature is ​-1.8°F. I think it is so cold here because it doesn’t get much direct sunlight and there is lots of ice covering the land.







3 questions I still have are…






For Task 2: Please see the following graphic organizer to fill out while watching the various videos/readings on extreme climates around the world.




  1. Watch this video: https://player.vimeo.com/video/80266773

What is weather?

Sentence Stem:

  • Weather is…


What is climate?

Sentence Stem:

  • Climate is…


From the video:

What are the 6 main factors that affect climate? Fill in the word(s) next to the letter.







  1. Watch this video: https://player.vimeo.com/video/80266782

How does latitude affect climate?

Sentence Stem:

  • At 0° latitude (the equator), the climate is typically…

  • As you go North and South from the equator, the climate gets..


Fill in the following blanks with:

  • Moderate

  • Hot

  • Cold

  • At 20° it is:

  • At -20° it is:

  • At 80° it is:

  • At -80° it is:

  • At 50° it is:

  • At -50° it is:

  1. Watch this video: https://player.vimeo.com/video/80266984

How do ocean currents affect climate?

Sentence Stem:

  • Ocean currents affect climate by…

  • If the ocean current is warm, then it will ____ the air above it.

  • If the ocean current is cold, then it will ____ the air above it.  

  1. Watch this video: https://player.vimeo.com/video/80266777

How does wind affect climate?

Sentence Stem:

  • Wind affects climate by…

  • If there was no wind...


What are prevailing winds?

  1. Watch this video: https://player.vimeo.com/video/80266781

How does elevation affect climate?

Sentence Stem:

  • The higher the elevation the…

  • The lower the elevation the...

  1. Watch this video: https://player.vimeo.com/video/80266985

How does relief affect climate?

Sentence Stem:

  • When places have more relief…

  • When places have less relief...


What is relief? Click this link to learn more.

  • Hint: What is it the opposite of?

  1. Watch this video: https://player.vimeo.com/video/80266776

How does nearness/proximity to water affect climate?

Sentence Stem:

  • Places that are near large bodies of water have more _______ climate. There is _____ (more or less) precipitation in these areas.

  • Places that are not near large bodies of water have more ________ climate. There is _____ (more or less) precipitation in these areas.


Why does nearness/proximity to water affect climate? How does the moderating effect work?

  1. Continental & Maritime Climates

What is a continental climate?

Sentence Stem:

  • A continental climate is a region that is...


What is a maritime climate?

Sentence Stem:

  • A maritime climate is a region that is...




Congratulations, you are now an expert on extreme climates and know the various factors that affect climate!

For your final assignment you will choose one of the places you explored from the interactive map and create a climate travel guide brochure. Please include an explanation of the climate in this area and any explanation as to what factors are affecting the climate. Also include information about what type of protective wear (sunscreen, umbrellas, etc) visitors should bring to survive in this type of climate. Be creative and include charts, maps, and images for your brochure.



Be ready to share your Climate Travel Guide with your class during a gallery walk.Your classmates will vote on the top climate travel guide!

Teacher Page

This WebQuest was designed for students in my class to independently explore extreme climates around the world and learn about the factors that affect climate. The NGSS Standard that this activity reflects is as follows: MS-ESS2-6, on Weather and Climate causes and effect, patterns, the role of water in Earth's surface processes, and analyzing data.