Students use their senses to describe what the weather is doing and predict what it might do next. After gaining a basic understanding of weather patterns, students act as state park engineers and design/build "backyard weather stations" to gather data to make actual weather forecasts.
The University of Iowa Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research and College of Education teamed up to develop free eighth grade science curricula on land use and climate science, in response to Iowa’s grade level alignment of the middle school Next Generation Science Standards.
Primary author Dr. Ted Neal, clinical associate professor of science education, led a team of graduate and pre-service teaching students and CGRER scientists to develop the material. They grouped standards, resources and lesson material into six bundles, each designed to engage Iowa’s middle schoolers with local data and information on relevant topics like athletic concussions and agriculture.
These lessons are built on NGSS principles and put learning in the students’ hands with hands-on activities for groups and individuals. Kids will have ample opportunity to get curious, generate questions and lead themselves to answers.
This interactive tool allows students to gather data using My NASA Data microsets to investigate how differential heating of Earth results in circulation patterns in the oceans and the atmosphere that globally distribute the heat. They examine the relationship between the rotation of Earth and the circular motions of ocean currents and air. Students also make predictions based on the data to concerns about global climate change. They begin by examining the temperature of oceans surface currents and ocean surface winds. These currents, driven by the wind, mark the movement of surface heating as monitored by satellites. Students explore the link between 1) ocean temperatures and currents, 2) uneven heating and rotation of Earth, 3) resulting climate and weather patterns, and 4) projected impacts of climate change (global warming). Using the Live Access Server, students can select data sets for various elements for different regions of the globe, at different times of the year, and for multiple years. The information is provided in maps or graphs which can be saved for future reference. Some of the data sets accessed for this lesson include Sea Surface Temperature, Cloud Coverage, and Sea Level Height for this lesson. The lesson provides directions for accessing the data as well as questions to guide discussion and learning. The estimated time for completing the activity is 50 minutes. Inclusion of the Extension activities could broaden the scope of the lesson to several days in length. Links to informative maps and text such as the deep ocean conveyor belt, upwelling, and coastal fog as needed to answer questions in the extension activities are included.
This unit explores Performance Expectations MS-ESS2-5 and MS-ESS2-6 to engage students in constructing an explanation through modeling and analyzing data for why so many tornados occur in the United States, and specifically ‘Tornado Alley!
Students are introduced to the basics of the Earth's weather. Concepts include fundamental causes of common weather phenomena such as temperature changes, wind, clouds, rain and snow. The different factors that affect the weather and the instruments that measure weather data are also addressed.
In this unit, students learn the basics about weather and the atmosphere. They investigate materials engineering as it applies to weather and the choices available to us for clothing to counteract the effects of weather. Students have the opportunity to design and analyze combinations of materials for use in specific weather conditions. In the next lesson, students also are introduced to air masses and weather forecasting instrumentation and how engineers work to improve these instruments for atmospheric measurements on Earth and in space. Then, students learn the distinguishing features of the four main types of weather fronts that accompany high and low pressure air masses and how those fronts are depicted on a weather map. During this specific lesson, students learn different ways that engineers help with storm prediction, analysis and protection. In the final lesson, students consider how weather forecasting plays an important part in their daily lives by learning about the history of weather forecasting and how improvements in weather technology have saved lives by providing advance warning of natural disasters.