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Sizing Up Hail

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Sizing Up Hail

In this activity, learners will estimate the sizes of balls to learn how to estimate the size of hail. Learners will compare their estimates to the estimates of their peers and the real measurements. Learners will also discover how the National Weather Service uses hail size to define thunderstorms. This resource includes background information about SKYWARN and weather spotting, "Fast Facts" about hailstorms in history and thunderstorm safety rules.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Sealed box with a small opening
  • Different size balls made of wood and styrofoam (numbered)


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Processes
      • Weather and Climate
  • Mathematics
    • Measurement
      • Units of Measurement
      • Size and Scale
      • Circles
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories

  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All Rights Reserved, National Weather Service,