This is Activity 12 of a set of Level 1 activities designed by the Science Center for Teaching, Outreach, and Research on Meteorology (STORM) Project. The authors suggest that previous activities in the unit be completed before Activity 12: Air Masses, including those that address pressure systems and dew point temperature. In Activity 12, the students learn about the four main types of air masses that affect weather in the United States, their characteristic temperatures, and humidity levels as it relates to dew point temperatures. The lesson plan follows the 5E format. Initially, students discuss local weather and then examine surface temperature and dew point data on maps to determine patterns and possible locations of air masses. They learn about the source regions of air masses and compare their maps to a forecast weather map with fronts and pressure systems drawn in. During the Extension phase, students access current maps with surface and dew point temperatures at http://www.uni.edu/storm/activities/level1 and try to identify locations of air masses. They sketch in fronts and compare their results to the fronts map. Evaluation consists of collection of student papers.
Middle School Atmospheric Science
Students are introduced to the concept of air quality by investigating the composition, properties, atmospheric layers and everyday importance of air. They explore the sources and effects of visible and invisible air pollution. By learning some fundamental meteorology concepts (air pressure, barometers, prediction, convection currents, temperature inversions), students learn the impact of weather on air pollution control and prevention. Looking at models and maps, they explore the consequences of pollutant transport via weather and water cycles. Students are introduced to acids, bases and pH, and the environmental problem of acid rain, including how engineers address this type of pollution. Using simple models, they study the greenhouse effect, the impact of increased greenhouse gases on the planet's protective ozone layer and the global warming theory. Students explore the causes and effects of the Earth's ozone holes through an interactive simulation. Students identify the types and sources of indoor air pollutants in their school and home, evaluating actions that can be taken to reduce and prevent poor indoor air quality. By building and observing a few simple models of pollutant recovery methods, students explore the modern industrial technologies designed by engineers to clean up and prevent air pollution.
Students are introduced to measuring and identifying sources of air pollution, as well as how environmental engineers try to control and limit the amount of air pollution. In Part 1, students are introduced to nitrogen dioxide as an air pollutant and how it is quantified. Major sources are identified, using EPA bar graphs. Students identify major cities and determine their latitudes and longitudes. They estimate NO2 values from color maps showing monthly NO2 averages from two sources: a NASA satellite and the WSU forecast model AIRPACT. In Part 2, students continue to estimate NO2 values from color maps and use Excel to calculate differences and ratios to determine the model's performance. They gain experience working with very large numbers written in scientific notation, as well as spreadsheet application capabilities.
Students are introduced to air masses, with an emphasis on the differences between and characteristics of high- versus low-pressure air systems. Students also hear about weather forecasting instrumentation and how engineers work to improve these instruments for atmospheric measurements on Earth and in space.
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.
Using gumdrops and toothpicks, students conduct a large-group, interactive ozone depletion model. Students explore the dynamic and competing upper atmospheric roles of the protective ozone layer, the sun's UV radiation and harmful human-made CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons).
By studying key processes in the carbon cycle, such as photosynthesis, composting and anaerobic digestion, students learn how nature and engineers "biorecycle" carbon. Students are exposed to examples of how microbes play many roles in various systems to recycle organic materials and also learn how the carbon cycle can be used to make or release energy.
- Atmospheric Science
- Material Type:
- Lesson Plan
- Provider Set:
- Caryssa Joustra
- Daniel Yeh
- Emanuel Burch
- George Dick
- Herby Jean
- Ivy Drexler
- Jorge Calabria
- Lyudmila Haralampieva
- Matthew Woodham
- Onur Ozcan
- Robert Bair
- Stephanie Quintero
- Date Added:
Students investigate the weather from a systems approach, learning how individual parts of a system work together to create a final product. Students learn how a barometer works to measure the Earth's air pressure by building a model using simple materials. Students analyze the changes in barometer measurements over time and compare those to actual weather conditions. They learn how to use a barometer to understand air pressure and predict actual weather changes.
Students are introduced to the concept of energy cycles by learning about the carbon cycle. They will learn how carbon atoms travel through the geological (ancient) carbon cycle and the biological/physical carbon cycle. Students will consider how human activities have disturbed the carbon cycle by emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. They will discuss how engineers and scientists are working to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Lastly, students will consider how they can help the world through simple energy conservation measures.
Students observe and discuss a simple balloon model of an electrostatic precipitator to better understand how this pollutant recovery method functions in cleaning industrial air pollution.
By tracing the movement of radiation released during an accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, students see how air pollution, like particulate matter, can become a global issue.
Students use a sponge and water model to explore the concept of relative humidity and create a percent scale.
Air is one of Earth's most precious resources, and we need to take care of it in order to preserve the environment and protect human health. To this end, students develop their understanding of visible air pollutants with an incomplete combustion demonstration, a "smog in a jar" demonstration, and by building simple particulate matter collectors.
Students learn how the greenhouse effect is related to global warming and how global warming impacts our planet, including global climate change. Extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and how we react to these changes are the main points of focus of this lesson.
Students build and observe a simple aneroid barometer to learn about changes in barometric pressure and weather forecasting.
Students use a hurricane tracking map to measure the distance from a specific latitude and longitude location of the eye of a hurricane to a city. Then they use the map's scale factor to convert the distance to miles. They also apply the distance formula by creating an x-y coordinate plane on the map. Students are challenged to analyze what data might be used by computer science engineers to write code that generates hurricane tracking models. Then students analyze a MATLAB® computer code that uses the distance formula repetitively to generate a table of data that tracks a hurricane at specific time intervals. Students come to realize that using a computer program to generate the calculations (instead of by hand) is very advantageous for a dynamic situation like tracking storm movements. Their inspection of some MATLAB code helps them understand how it communicates what to do using mathematical formulas, logical instructions and repeated tasks. They also conclude that the example program is too simplistic to really be a useful tool; useful computer model tools must necessarily be much more complex.
Students learn about some of the different climate zones in China and consider what would be appropriate design, construction and materials for houses in those areas. This prepares them to conduct the associated activity(ies) in which they design, build and test small model homes for three different climate zones.
Students observe demonstrations, and build and evaluate simple models to understand the greenhouse effect and the role of increased greenhouse gas concentration in global warming.
Students follow weather forecasts to gauge their accuracy and produce a weather report for the class. They develop skills of observation, recording and reporting.
Students learn what causes hurricanes and what engineers do to help protect people from destruction caused by hurricane winds and rain. Research and data collection vessels allow for scientists and engineers to model and predict weather patterns and provide forecasts and storm warnings to the public. Engineers are also involved in the design and building of flood-prevention systems, such as levees and floodwalls. During the 2005 hurricane season, levees failed in the greater New Orleans area, contributing to the vast flooding and destruction of the historic city. In the associated activity, students learn how levees work, and they build their own levees and put them to the test!
Students develop an understanding of air pressure by using candy or cookie wafers to model how it changes with altitude, by comparing its magnitude to gravitational force per unit area, and by observing its magnitude with an aluminum can crushing experiment.
Students develop their understanding of the effects of invisible air pollutants with a rubber band air test, a bean plant experiment and by exploring engineering roles related to air pollution. In an associated literacy activity, students develop visual literacy and write photograph captions. They learn how images are manipulated for a powerful effect and how a photograph can make the invisible (such as pollutants) visible. Note: You may want to set up the activities for Air Pollution unit, Lessons 2 and 3, simultaneously as they require extended data collection time and can share collection sites.
This activity is a reinforcement lab activity where students experiment with ways to get water to flow out of a cup and up a straw causing an imbalance in the atmospheric pressure surrounding the water.
- Atmospheric Science
- Material Type:
- Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
- Provider Set:
- Pedagogy in Action
- Paula Nelson
- Date Added:
In this activity, students learn how to prevent exposure to the Sun's harmful ultraviolet rays. Students will systematically test various sunscreens to determine the relationship between spf (sun protection factor) value and sun exposure. At the end of the activity, students are asked to consider how this investigation could be used to help them design a new sunscreen.
Student teams model the Earth's greenhouse effect using modeling clay, ice chunks, water, aluminum pie tins and plastic wrap. They observe and record what happens in this closed environment and discuss the implications of global warming theory for engineers, themselves and the Earth.
Students identify types and sources of indoor air pollutants in their school and home environments. They evaluate actions that can be taken to reduce and prevent poor indoor air quality. In an associated literacy activity, students develop a persuasive peer-to-peer case against smoking with the goal to understand how language usage can influence perception, attitudes and behavior.
Students observe and discuss a vacuum cleaner model of a baghouse to better understand how this pollutant recovery method functions in cleaning industrial air pollution.
Students observe demonstrations, and build and evaluate simple models to understand the greenhouse effect, the role of increased greenhouse gas concentration in global warming, and the implications of global warming theory for engineers, themselves and the Earth. In an associated literacy activity, students learn how a bill becomes law and research global warming legislation.
Students observe and discuss a cup and pencil model of a cyclone to better understand the science behind how this pollutant recovery method functions in cleaning industrial air pollution.
Students learn about the remote sensing radio occultation technique and how engineers use it with GPS satellites to monitor and study the Earth's atmospheric activity. Students may be familiar with some everyday uses of GPS, but not as familiar with how GPS technology contributes to our ongoing need for great amounts of ever-changing global atmospheric data for accurate weather forecasting, storm tracking and climate change monitoring. GPS occultations are when GPS signals sent from one satellite to another are altered (delayed, refracted) by the atmosphere passed though, such that they can be analyzed to remotely learn about the planet's atmospheric conditions.
Students learn about the advantages and disadvantages of the greenhouse effect. They construct their own miniature greenhouses and explore how their designs take advantage of heat transfer processes to create controlled environments. They record and graph measurements, comparing the greenhouse indoor and outdoor temperatures over time. Students are also introduced to global issues such as greenhouse gas emissions and their relationship to global warming.
Students explore the causes and effects of the Earth's ozone holes through discussion and an interactive simulation. In an associated literacy activity, students learn how to tell a story in order to make a complex topic (such as global warming or ozone holes) easier for a reader to grasp.
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.
To develop an understanding of modern industrial technologies that clean up and prevent air pollution, students build and observe a variety of simple models of engineering pollutant recovery methods: scrubber, electrostatic precipitator, cyclone and baghouse. In an associated literacy activity, students become more aware of global environmental problems and play a part in their solution by writing environmental action campaign letters.
Why do we care about air? Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in... most, if not all, humans do this automatically. Do we really know what is in the air we breathe? In this activity, students use M&M(TM) candies to create pie graphs that show their understanding of the composition of air. They discuss why knowing this information is important to engineers and how engineers use this information to improve technology to better care for our planet.
Students learn about electricity and air pollution while building devices to measure volatile organic compounds (VOC) by attaching VOC sensors to prototyping boards. In the second part of the activity, students evaluate the impact of various indoor air pollutants using the devices they made.
Students learn that wind and storms can form at the boundaries of interacting high and low pressure air masses. They learn the distinguishing features of the four main types of weather fronts (warm fronts, cold fronts, stationary fronts and occluded fronts) and how those fronts are depicted on a surface weather analysis, or weather map. Students also learn several different ways that engineers help with storm prediction, analysis and protection.
Spreadsheets Across the Curriculum module/Geology of National Parks course. Students work with ratio and proportion and the concept of mole to calculate the number of molecules of ozone in a volume of air from concentration data.
- Atmospheric Science
- Material Type:
- Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
- Provider Set:
- Pedagogy in Action
- Amie Fishinger
- Len Vacher
- Date Added:
Students learn about tornadoes, the damage they cause, and how to rate tornadoes. Specifically, students investigate the Enhanced Fujita Damage Scale of tornado intensity, and use it to complete a mock engineering analysis of damage caused by a tornado. Additional consideration is given to tornado warning systems and how these systems can be improved to be safer. Lastly, students learn basic tornado safety procedures.
Students will analyze data of tornadoes throughout the United States. They will create a bar graph of the number of tornadoes for the top ten states in the country and then calculate the median and the mode of the data.
Students learn about tsunamis, discovering what causes them and what makes them so dangerous. They learn that engineers design detection and warning equipment, as well as structures that that can survive the strong wave forces. In a hands-on activity, students use a table-top-sized tsunami generator to observe the formation and devastation of a tsunami. They see how a tsunami moves across the ocean and what happens when it reaches a coastline. They make villages of model houses to test how different material types are impacted by the huge waves.
Students discuss the characteristics of storms, including the relationship of weather fronts and storms. Using everyday materials, they develop models of basic lightning detection systems (similar to a Benjamin Franklin design) and analyze their models to determine their effectiveness as community storm warning systems.
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.
Students begin this lesson by considering how weather forecasting plays an important part in their daily lives. They learn about the history of weather forecasting -- from old weather proverbs to modern forecasting equipment and how improvements in weather technology have saved lives by providing advance warning of natural disasters.
Students are introduced to some essential meteorology concepts so they more fully understand the impact of meteorological activity on air pollution control and prevention. First, they develop an understanding of the magnitude and importance of air pressure. Next, they build a simple aneroid barometer to understand how air pressure information is related to weather prediction. Then, students explore the concept of relative humidity and its connection to weather prediction. Finally, students learn about air convection currents and temperature inversions. In an associated literacy activity, students learn how scientific terms are formed using Latin and Greek roots, prefixes and suffixes, and are introduced to the role played by metaphor in language development. Note: Some of these activities can be conducted simultaneously with the air quality activity (What Color Is Your Air Today?) of Air Pollution unit, Lesson 1.
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.
Students develop awareness and understanding of the daily air quality using the Air Quality Index (AQI) listed in the newspaper. They explore what engineers can do to help reduce poor air quality.
This computer-based learning module engages students in questions that scientists around the world are exploring about Earths climate. They gain an appreciation for how much is not known about the Earth and climate change. The module contains 5 activities; 1) Earths Changing Climates, 2) Interactions Within the Atmosphere, 3) Sources, Sinks, and Feedbacks, 4) Feedbacks of Ice and Clouds, and 5) Using Models to Make Predictions. Each activity provides information in simulations, text, video, or graphic format and the students enter answers to both open-ended and closed questions within the program. Once the students have completed an activity, they can print a report showing all the questions and their answers. The authors estimate the entire module should take 225 minutes.
Students are introduced to the concepts of air pollution and air quality. The three lesson parts focus on the prerequisites for understanding air pollution. First, students use M&Ms to create a pie graph that expresses their understanding of the composition of air. Next, students watch and conduct several simple experiments to develop an understanding of the properties of air (it has mass, it takes up space, it can move, it exerts pressure, it can do work). Finally, students develop awareness and understanding of the daily air quality using the Air Quality Index (AQI) listed in the newspaper. In an associated literacy activity, students explore the environmental history timeline.
Students develop an understanding of the effects of invisible air pollutants with a rubber band and hanger air test and a bean plant experiment. They also learn about methods of reducing invisible air pollutants.
In this activity, students will learn about how tornadoes are formed and what they look like. By creating a water vortex in a soda bottle, they will get a first-hand look at tornadoes.
Students develop an understanding of visible air pollutants with an incomplete combustion demonstration, a "smog in a jar" demonstration, building simple particulate matter collectors, and exploration of engineering roles related to air pollution. In an associated literacy activity, students learn basic marketing concepts and techniques, and the principles of comparative analysis, while creating an advertisement for a hybrid vehicle. Note: You may want to set up the activities for Air Pollution unit, Lessons 2 and 3, simultaneously as they require extended data collection time and can share test sites.