Teaching sequence

Lesson objective

In this lesson students develop a definition for the term ‘extreme weather’ and demonstrate their understanding of cyclones.


Ask the students to share weather stories and events that are relevant to their personal lives and/or experiences by asking them to complete the following sentence – My most memorable weather experience is…

Develop a class definition of ‘extreme weather conditions’ by asking the students to:

  • record their own ideas on what makes extreme weather conditions
  • arrange themselves into groups of four and identify the words they have in common from their initial recordings
  • use their common words to develop a group definition
  • share these group definitions and agree on a common definition for the class
  • compare this definition with a dictionary definition.

Ask students to list some examples of extreme weather conditions and identify which of these examples are relevant to Australia and what parts of Australia are most affected.


  1. Show students images of Cyclone Yasi’s effects from the gallery below.
    For more images see websites listed in the Useful links.
  2. Discuss the fact that cyclones are known by other names in different parts of the world.
  3. Distribute the worksheet What do I know about cyclones? (Word, 378 KB) for students to record their current knowledge and understandings of cyclones.
  4. In pairs, have students record their responses to the prompts on the worksheet.


African mahogany down on Glendale Drive Annandale.
Cyclone Yasi - the next few hours after.
Cracked bitumen - Cyclone Yasi.
Crushed ute, Townsville.
Cyclone Yasi.
Flooded Streets South Townsville.
Leaf debris - Cyclone Yasi.
Road and bush damage -Cyclone Yasi.
Cyclone Yasi - the next few hours after.


Ask each pair of students to share their responses with another pair of students in the class and to record four statements about cyclones.

  • Two statements that they think most people will have.
  • One statement they think a few people will have.
  • One statement they think no one else will have.

Share these responses with the class.

Lesson Resources


Student activities


What do I know about cyclones? 
(Word, 378 KB)

Useful links

Big picture: Cyclone Yasi strikes,
Brisbane Times. Images showing impact of Cyclone Yasi 

Yasi hits north Queensland,
Brisbane Times. Tropical cyclone Yasi photos. Original resource no longer available on original website, this copy made available through the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine.