Weather Scope
Table of Contents Using Real-Time Data Lesson Plans Implementation Assistance
 
Lesson 4: How does the weather change?
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Overview
For this lesson, students will use all of the weather data collected from the previous two-week period and analyze it using graphs, charts, and averages to look for patterns and trends. Students will also compare the weather in each of the three cities, New York, Sao Paulo, and your city / town.

Objectives
Students will:
  • interpret information on a chart or table;
  • use computational skills to interpret data;
  • draw conclusions and identify a trend from collected data; &
  • summarize results.

Time
One - two 45 minute class periods. NOTE: This lesson should be completed IMMEDIATELY after the two-week weather data collection period.

Materials
  • Weather Learning Log or Student Worksheet
  • Weather data from the last activity (Activity 3).

Teacher Preparation
  • IMPORTANT: If students recorded the weather using the Excel spreadsheet, each student or group of students will need access to a computer. Alternatively, students can make the graphs and charts in their Weather Learning Logs or use the ones provided on the Student Worksheet, depending on which of the two options you select to use.
  • GRAPHING: Students will make various graphs for this lesson. If you are new or not familiar with graphing, please review the Graphing Tips.
  • Weather related-topics:

Procedure


Part 1: How does the weather change?
For this section, you can have the students answer the questions individually or in small groups. Alternatively, you can lead a whole class discussion and elicit ideas from students and write responses on a chart or blackboard. You can use all or some of the questions provided in the first part of the student activity. After some time, ask the students to suggest various ways to analyze the data they've collected in the field. Write responses on the chalkboard. Ask students to discuss how the class might undertake each response.

Part 2: Weather Variables
For this exercise, students will graph several of the weather variables to later, in Part 3, look for trends and relationships.

  1. Temperature: Students will draw three separate line graphs for each of the three cities comparing the temperature in șC over time. Since line graphs show gradual changes in data, students will be able to quickly determine if the temperature rose, fell, or stayed the same over the two-week period. An example of the types of line graph produced in this activity has been constructed and is available below, however this is NOT the same data that students will use in their activity so their graph will be different from the example.
  2. Wind Direction: Students should label the Wind direction from each day for each of the cities at the same points for the temperature for each day using the same temperature over time line graphs.
  3. Sky Conditions: Students will draw three separate circle graphs to compare the observed sky conditions (sunny, cloudy and rainy days) from each of the three cities. To categorize the different sky conditions into three discrete categories, students will need to combine certain conditions. For example, students may select to combine all days with clouds as "cloudy days". As another option, students can break the circle graphs into more or less parts. An example of the types of circle graph produced in this activity has been constructed and is available below, however as in the previous case, this is NOT the same data that students will use in their activity so their graphs will be different:
  4. Precipitation: Students should draw a BAR graph comparing the precipitation each day over time. If there is no precipitation recorded during the two-week period, students should record 0 for each of the days. The most important thing for this activity is that they learn how bar graphs are good for comparing data and illustrating how something changes over time.
  5. Air Pressure: Students should draw three separate line graphs similar to the graphs they drew for temperature however they should label the y-axis in mb from the lowest to the highest recorded air pressure value. For example, if the lowest recorded value was 997 mb, they should begin their graph at or about 995 mb.

Part 3: Analyze the Data
Students should use the graphs as the basis for their answers in this section. Since each participating class will be recording the weather over different periods of time of the year and each class is located in a different city, it is not possible to create an answer key. However since all of the students will have recorded the weather variables over the same period of time, their answers should be the same with a few exceptions noted below.

  1. Temperature: Students should also answer each question for each of the three locations. Students will also need to calculate the average high temperature in each location.
  2. Sky Conditions and Temperature:
    1. Students should also answer each question for each of the three locations.
    2. The trend that the students should begin to notice is that generally, the temperature should be lower, or colder on cloudy or stormy days and higher, or warmer on sunny days. This is because clouds and stormy conditions block the sun's rays from warming the earth's surface, and therefore result in colder temperatures.
  3. Wind Direction and Temperature: Wind is the result of a difference in air pressure and is caused by the unequal heating of the Earth's surfaces.
    1. Students should also answer each question for each of the three locations.
    2. Wind has different effects on weather depending on geographic location. Generally, the wind blowing from one direction will bring colder air while the wind blowing from a different direction will bring warmer temperatures. For example, in the northern latitudes around the United States, wind blowing from the north brings colder air while wind coming from the south generally has the adverse effect. To see the current wind direction and speed, view the following links:
  4. Precipitation: Students should also answer each question for each of the three locations. Students will also need to calculate the total precipitation in each location.
  5. Air Pressure and Sky Conditions: Air pressure is one of the key indicators of future weather conditions. This is because air is compressed in a high pressure area and warms as it descends, and the resulting warming inhibits the formation of clouds. In other words, this means that the sky is normally sunny in a high-pressure area, however fog and haze may still form. In a low air pressure are, just the opposite occurs.
    1. Students should also answer each question for each of the three locations.
    2. In general, students should notice that falling or decreasing air pressure leads to cloudy weather and raising air pressure leads to sunny days and fairer weather (NOTE: This will not apply at all latitudes).

Assessment


Make each student or cooperative group responsible for the graphs and questions.

Student Activity


NOTE: The following instructions also appear in Student Activities.
Notebook Top Left Corner  Activity 4: How does the weather change? Notebook Top Right Corner
  Part 1: How does the weather change?
Discuss and answer the following questions:
  • How would you describe the weather for the two-week period for each of the three cities?
  • In general, how did the weather change during the week for each of the three cities?
  • How was the weather the same or different in each of the three cities? For example, which location seemed the warmest? coldest?
  • Can you think of any reasons why the weather was similar or different?

Part 2: Weather Variables
For this exercise, you will graph several of the weather variables in depth to compare and contrast the weather data that was collected from the three locations.
  1. Temperature: Line graphs show gradual changes in data and are good for summarizing the relationship between two pieces of information, such as temperature and time.
    • Draw three LINE graphs (one for each city) on three separate graphs comparing the Temperature each day over Time. Label the horizontal, or x-axis using dates from the first day you began to take weather measurements to the last day and the vertical, or y-axis in șC. Don't forget to label each of the graphs to distinguish between the three locations.
  2. Wind Direction:
    • Label the Wind direction for each day at the same points for the temperature for each day in the line graphs you made above for each of the cities (you will analyze this later).
  3. Sky Conditions: Circle graphs will help demonstrate how the whole week can be divided into its parts and will make it easier to compare the sky conditions for each of the three cities.
    • Make three CIRCLE graphs (one for each city) showing the number of sunny, cloudy and rainy days.
  4. Precipitation: Bar graphs are good for comparing data and illustrating how something changes over time.
    • Draw one BAR graph for your city over Time. Label the x-axis from the first day you began to take weather measurements to last day. Label the y-axis in mm of precipitation.
  5. Air Pressure
    • Draw three LINE graphs (one for each city) on three separate graphs comparing the Air Pressure each day over Time. Label the x-axis from the first day you began to take weather measurements to the last day and the y-axis in mb from the lowest to the highest recorded air pressure value. Don't forget to label each of the graphs to distinguish between the three locations.

Part 3: Analyze the Data
Use the graphs and charts above to answer the following questions.
  1. Temperature
    1. How would you describe the temperature changes in each of the three cities? For example, does it seem to be going up, down, or staying the same?
    2. What was the highest temperature in each location and when did it occur?
    3. What was the lowest temperature in each location and when did it occur?
    4. What was the average temperature in each location?
  2. Sky Conditions and Temperature:
    1. Which city had the most sunny days, cloudy days, and rainy days?
    2. Was there any relationship between the sky conditions and temperature in each of the three cities? For example, was it colder on cloudy days, etc.?
  3. Wind Direction and Temperature:
    1. Did the wind generally come from one direction more than another in each of the three cities?
    2. Was there any relationship between the wind and the temperature the next day in each of the three cities? For example, was it colder on days that the wind was coming from the one direction and warmer when the wind was coming from a different direction?
  4. Precipitation
    1. Which day had the most precipitation? The least?
    2. What was the total precipitation for the two weeks?
  5. Air Pressure and Sky Conditions
    1. How would you describe the air pressure changes in each of the three cities? For example, does it seem to be going up, down, or staying the same?
    2. Was there any relationship between air pressure and the sky conditions the next day in each of the three cities? For example, did falling or decreasing air pressure lead to cloudy or fair weather?

 
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