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Is the "Feels Like" Temperature Real?

It is often very windy in Iowa, and those winds typically cause it to feel much cooler than the air temperature would suggest. In other areas of the country, the wind does not affect the temperature as much, if at all. We are curious as to why the wind in Iowa is a cold wind that decreases the temperature, while wind elsewhere has no effect on the temperature, or even sometimes is considered a warm wind.

Sioux Center, Iowa

Possible Guiding, Compelling and/or Anchoring Questions

  • Why is the “feels like” temperature different from the real temperature?
  • How does wind affect the temperature?
  • How does the wind/real feel in Sioux Center compare to the wind/real feel of California?

Classroom Suggestions

  • Students could: 
    • Go outside on a windy day and take notes on the wind — temperature, speed, direction, etc. — then check the weather app for the air temperature, wind speed and wind chill.
    • Share experiences with wind in other places students have been (places they’ve lived before, vacations they’ve been on, where they live now, etc.) 
    • Check the weather in different places of the world with different wind patterns. Compare the wind/real feel from those locations to Iowa/Sioux Center. Have students share notices and wonderings, and create a discussion around those.

Related Resources

  • Learning | National Weather Service: A website full of different resources and different links of explanations of wind and how they track wind.

  • Weather and Temperature | Weather Wiz Kids: This resource describes different elements of temperature, including wind chill and heat index. It asks and answers some questions that students may have when it comes to temperature. 

  • The Weather Channel: This website gives current temperatures and predicts forecasts for the rest of the day. It includes information on what it feels like at the moment and also what is going on across the country. 

Iowa Core Alignment


Obtain and combine information to describe climates in different regions of the world

Credit Info

Submitted by Collin Laidlaw and Bethany Ten Haken


Have you used this resource in your classroom? Do you have ideas for improvement? Share your ideas, experiences and feedback about this phenomena.

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