NASA Meteorology for Grades 5-9

 

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national aeronautics and space administration meteorology an educator s resource for inquiry-based learning for grades 5-9 dr joseph d exline www.nasa.gov dr arlene s levine dr joel s levine np-2006-08-97-larc

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meteorology an educator s resource for inquiry-based learning for grades 5-9 dr joseph d exline dr arlene s levine dr joel s levine

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contents how to use this guide v acknowledgements vi chapter 1 introduction an historical look equipment and supplies development of the learning philosophy to science education levels of inquiry in activities 1 2 2 3 chapter 2 weather and climate the structure of the atmosphere 5 the chemical composition of the atmosphere 6 instruments to measure weather 6 solar radiation the greenhouse effect and the temperature of the earth 7 solar heating and atmospheric motion 8 cyclones and anticyclones 8 variations in surface atmospheric pressure 9 air masses and fronts 9 general circulation of the atmosphere 10 the water cycle and clouds 12 chapter 3 surface color and effect of temperature change 15 chapter 4 angle of light rays and surface distribution 19 chapter 5 barometer basics 23 chapter 6 constructing a barometer 27 chapter 7 does air have weight 31 chapter 8 can you show that the temperature of air has an effect on its weight and its direction of vertical movement 35 chapter 9 are cold liquids more dense than warm liquids 39 chapter 10 does air contain water vapor 43 chapter 11 a sling psychrometer and relative humidity 47 meteorology activities for grades 5-9 i np-2006-08-97-larc

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chapter 12 how clouds form understanding the basic principles of precipitation 51 chapter 13 tornado in a box 55 is there a relationship between surface heating temperature and the formation of a low-pressure system 56 is there a relationship between surface heating temperature and the formation of and duration of a low-pressure system 59 is there a relationship between surface heating temperature and the duration of a low-pressure system based upon different amounts of water 62 develop a testable question and design an investigation that will provide valid information regarding factors that affect the formation and duration of a model cloud using the tib apparatus 65 chapter 14 design challenge what factors determine the comfort level of air 69 chapter 15 bringing more meaning to weather predicting the weather station and reading the sky help put it all together 71 chapter 16 predicting weather by connecting the basic cloud types with information collected from the weather station 77 references 81 meteorology activities for grades 5-9 ii np-2006-08-97-larc

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appendices i ii iii iv v vi suggestions for maximizing the use of learner-designed activities 85 selected weather adages 89 the scientific habits of mind and conceptual themes addressed in this publication 91 science and technology national science education standards addressed in this publication 93 web sites for enhancing the understanding of weather 95 constructing equipment 103 how to build a flashlight holder 103 how to build a tornado in a box 105 additional activities 107 cloud wheel 109 the mysterious snake 113 how often should i measure the weather 115 beaufort scale of wind speed 121 the saffir-simpson hurricane scale 125 the fujita scale for tornado damage 129 bookmarks 131 vii viii ix x xi about the authors 133 meteorology activities for grades 5-9 iii np-2006-08-97-larc

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meteorology activities for grades 5-9 iv np-2006-08-97-larc

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how to use this guide meteorology an educator s resource for inquiry-based learning for grades 5-9 is written as a supplement to existing earth and space science curricula for grades 5-9 the guide may be used in both formal and informal educational settings as well as at home it should be used in conjunction with lectures discussions textbooks and other teaching material this guide is not intended to be a complete course in meteorology rather its function is to assist educators in instilling excitement in learning about meteorology by permitting the learner to take increasing responsibility for his/her learning the learner should experience how we arrive at what we know rather than memorizing what we know this publication was developed to enhance the understanding of inquiry-based learning from the educator/teacher s perspective as well as from the learner s perspective inquiry-based learning has many levels in general inexperienced learners and younger learners will require more guidance than more-experienced and older learners who are better equipped to take responsibility for their learning there are four levels of inquiry defined in this publication confirmation-verification structured inquiry guided inquiry and open inquiry the levels will be further defined and explained in the introductory chapter the guide is structured to include a short review of some principles of meteorology and facts so that they may be readily available to the educator the weather and climate chapter chapter 2 is not intended to be used as an all-inclusive textbook but rather an educator s guide to some of the phenomena explored in this publication many activities offered in this guide build upon each other and use the inquiry in the previous activity to assist in the activity that follows thus this publication enhances the understanding of meteorology by beginning with basic and essential parameters of weather and then moving through mind-engaging interactions with complex meteorological systems the think about this probing further and examining results sections are provided as examples to the educators they may be used to stimulate the students to organize their thoughts in a particular direction educators may use their own creativity in stimulating student inquiry further educator information concerning these sections can be found in appendix i suggestions for maximizing the use of learner-designed activities the learner is encouraged to build and/or test a variety of weather instruments to better understand the basic factors involved in weather phenomena the weather instruments are then brought together to form a weather station collecting weather information combined with existing information about cloud systems allows the learner to apply the knowledge to predict weather systems supplementary information and activities which are not inquiry-based but deemed useful by the authors are included in the appendices including career information web sites in appendix v an interactive video game entitled the hurricane hunters is the second part of this project nightlight studios and the authors of this guide developed the game which should be the culminating experience in learning about meteorology as the learner has the opportunity to better understand the dynamics of hurricanes meteorology activities for grades 5-9 v np-2006-08-97-larc

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acknowledgements the authors thank john pickle for his contribution in appendix vii how often should i measure the weather erik salna of hurricane warning s disaster survival house for his contribution to appendix ix and ron gird and dennis cain of the noaa national weather service for their support and contributions to this guide we gratefully acknowledge dr tina cartwright west virginia state climatologist marshall university bethany gordel gene pike middle school justin texas and carol laird long beach island grade school ship bottom new jersey for their reviews and constructive comments on an early draft of this publication as well as the comments and reviews from the unnamed reviewers for the nasa product reviews denise m stefula science systems applications nasa langley research center for technical editing and richard e davis of the systems engineering directorate nasa langley research center for detailed review and refinements incorporated in the final version of this document we thank dr lelia vann director of the science directorate at nasa langley research center and dr mingying wei program manager for the science mission directorate nasa headquarters for their continuing support and enthusiasm for this project the authors are very grateful to anne c rhodes nci information systems nasa langley research center for outstanding work and meticulous care in the graphical design editing and general organization of this guide dr joseph d exline dr arlene s levine dr joel s levine telephone 757-864-3318 e-mail arlene.s.levine@nasa.gov meteorology activities for grades 5-9 vi np-2006-08-97-larc

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chapter 1 introduction an historical look meteorology is one of the oldest observational sciences in human history and perhaps the most relevant to a broad segment of society some of our first observational meteorologists and weather forecasters were shepherds farmers and sailors whose livelihoods and safety depended upon understanding and predicting the weather shepherds guarding their flocks on the ancient hillsides looked skyward for signs of changes in the weather farmers noticed that rain or drought could destroy crops if they were planted or harvested at the wrong time sailors experienced severe storms at sea or long delays if they were trapped in areas of calm these groups gathered data through keen observations which proved important as a foundational database of weather information the following are old adages that relate to weather changes ·red sky at night sailors delight ·red sky in morning sailors take warning ·aches in bones and joints indicate changes in the weather ·wind that causes leaves to turn upward on trees indicates the coming of weather changes ·lack of dew on the grass in early morning indicates changing weather ·a circle around the moon indicates impending precipitation can these adages be explained scientifically can they become crude weather predictors perhaps after an in-depth examination of some of the weather activities included in this booklet these statements can be reexamined additional weather adages may be added to this list see appendices ii and v for more adages ask your students to think of others questions for the students can you think of ways that weather changes affect activities and events in modern society do you think weather has important consequences for most people in modern society why why not meteorology activities for grades 5-9 1 np-2006-08-97-larc

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equipment and supplies necessary to conduct the activities we understand that many schools may not have the supplies and equipment necessary to conduct costly meteorology experiments and activities so this publication focuses on activities using common materials people can find in the home or in local stores it is important to note that we have included only one way to construct instruments the educator may have alternative methods which may work as efficiently and are less costly the authors make these instrument construction suggestions as a starting point for educators staff members who work in well-equipped schools may substitute commercially available equipment and supplies however there are pedagogical advantages to constructing the equipment constructing the equipment may lead to a better understanding of the phenomenon measured and how the equipment works the materials needed suggestions are based on the activity quantities required would depend upon how the students are grouped for conducting activities it is extremely important that teachers advise students about safety considerations when conducting science activities educators must exert judgment as to the maturity level required for the students to carry out some of the activities independently as an example can the students wearing protective heatproof gloves and safety glasses handle the boiling water or should the educator handle the water with the students at a safe distance the same question applies to the sling psychrometer are the students mature enough to sling the psychrometer or should the educator sling it at a safe distance from the students development of the learning philosophy to science education for science education to have meaning for all students there should be a strong focus on the essential elements of inquiry learning which are described in the national science education standards nses and the american association for the advancement of science aaas benchmarks using these documents as a foundation the council of state science supervisors cs3 through the cs3/nasa nlist initiative developed an operational definition of science as inquiry www.nlistinquiryscience.com the operational definition of science as inquiry promulgated by the cs3/nasa nlist initiative consists of these essential elements 1 conceptual context for science content 2 relevant and important science content 3 information-processing skills and 4 the scientific habits of mind approaches these essential elements should become the focus of material development they enhance the relevancy and applicability of science knowledge ·learning set in a broad context concepts can enable deeper understanding and enhance the transfer of knowledge to new and different situations appendix iii ·content then becomes a building block for constructing and comprehending important concepts ·skill development becomes the means for continuing the generation of new knowledge ·habits of mind approaches employed by experts and nurtured in learners can ensure the integrity of the discipline and provide a valid world view from the perspective of science appendix iii these essential elements brought together holistically in a learning environment make science both relevant and applicable for all learners furthermore this approach enables the development of skills and approaches needed to continue lifelong learning 2 np-2006-08-97-larc meteorology activities for grades 5-9

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the skills scientists use and the scientific approach which are the foundation of generating a body of scientific knowledge are often overlooked in science education science education is still taught and learned as a history lesson with a focus on this is what we know if educators emphasize how we know students will develop skills and acquire scientific attitudes that yield a valid scientific view of the world and the ability to use these skills as a lifelong way of resolving problems many activities used to teach science are mindless hands on lessons and do not engage a minds on response capable students can see the activity outcomes without going through the procedures and are not challenged many educators think inquiry learning takes place only through student activities teacher demonstrations classroom discussions and even lectures can encourage the development of the essential elements of inquiry if the focus is on how we come about knowing rather than on this is what we know scientists approach the generation of knowledge differently than the way schools provide learners access to this knowledge experts start with observations pose questions and at some point frame a context for these questions depending upon the discipline they apply the ground rules or approaches to a particular discipline experts make wrong turns or reach dead ends and often must rework approaches to get resolutions to questions using these skills and applying the ground rules of the discipline enables experts to improve the learners abilities to resolve problems with this emphasis on learning the student develops a more valid view of the scientific process and can better see the world through the lens of a particular discipline an important note for teachers who need a more traditional correlation with the national standards and benchmarks that put greater emphasis upon content correlation see appendix iv this type of correlation does not negate the important educational approach outlined previously but helps to illustrate that this publication s approach considers the demands on teachers in current classrooms meteorology activities for grades 5-9 3 levels of inquiry in activities just as children move through a series of stages when learning to walk programs designed for science education should consider important developmental stages in moving learners toward taking charge of their own learning the programs should have effective experiences that will enable learners to move from receivers of information to pursuers of knowledge young learners and less-experienced learners need more direction and hand holding but as they mature and increase their abilities they need more sophisticated challenges there should be a gradual shift in the help given students as they move to the upper levels of schooling even during the later stages in a course there are four levels of activities that can be classified according to levels of inquiry potential while any of these inquiry levels can be appropriate for all levels of learners it is expected that the morestructured learning experiences lie at lower grade levels and the more open-ended and less-structured ones predominate as students approach high school graduation the following classification is modified from the work of herron 1971 and his efforts to develop a simple practical rubric for assessing the degree to which activities promote student inquiry based partly on the writings of schwab 1964 herron describes four levels of inquiry the subsequent classification is a slight modification in looking at a teacher-centered approach versus a shift toward a more learner-centered approach np-2006-08-97-larc

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3 guided inquiry students investigate a teacherpresented question using their own procedures for conducting the activity the value of this level of activity is in challenging learners to design the procedure that will produce appropriate data to validly resolve the question further the learner has an additional opportunity to learn from the teacherpresented testable question 4 open inquiry students investigate a topic-related question that they have formulated they are responsible for defining a manageable questions designing procedures to collect record and evaluate data and draw interpretations inferences and conclusions in this level of activity the student benefits from learning how to design a testable question and also to design a procedure to generate the data necessary to appropriately resolve the question the teacher ensures that the student addresses the concepts being studied by framing a context in a broad nontestable statement such as investigate an aspect about what causes air movement within earth s atmosphere it is then necessary for the learner to carve out a piece or pieces of this statement that can be tested note it should be understood that any of these inquiry levels of activities can provide educational benefit however it is important to challenge the learner to take more responsibility for his/her learning after working through these activities with students the teacher will also have a better understanding of ways to modify these levels of activities to suit the needs of various learners throughout this publication the learner will have the opportunity to experience activities that represent each of the four levels furthermore these activities will be specifically identified as to the predominant inquiry level of the particular activity this identification will assist the educator in better understanding inquiry levels and how to select or develop more activities that address these various inquiry levels 1 confirmation-verification students confirm or verify a concept through both a prescribed question and procedure the results are known in advance the value of this level of activity is in introducing students who have had very little or no experience in performing science activities to the general steps in the design of investigations 2 structured inquiry students investigate a teacher-presented testable question through a prescribed procedure the results of the investigation are not known in advance and students generalize relationships by using the outcomes of the activity the value of this level of activity is to challenge the learner to examine the data and to come to a valid conclusion based upon these data it also gives the learner further experience with the concept of a testable question and investigative design structure meteorology activities for grades 5-9 4 np-2006-08-97-larc

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chapter 2 weather and climate the structure of the atmosphere surrounding the earth is a gaseous envelope or atmosphere held in place by the planet s gravitational attraction the earth s atmosphere is a complex dynamical physical and chemical system dynamic processes cover a large range of scales from the microscopic-scale dynamics of evaporation condensation cloud formation and precipitation to small-scale localized vertical and horizontal wind motions to medium-scale cyclones anticyclones hurricanes typhoons tornadoes thunderstorms fronts etc to the largescale general circulation of the atmosphere physical processes in the atmosphere include the transfer of incoming solar radiation through the atmosphere to the surface the heating of the surface the emission of outgoing infrared radiation the absorption of infrared radiation by atmospheric gases the evaporation of water the condensation of atmospheric water vapor into clouds and precipitation chemical processes include the transformation and production of atmospheric gases such as atmospheric ozone via chemical reactions involving many dozens of gases in the atmosphere while the earth s atmosphere extends upward for hundreds of kilometers until it merges with interplanetary space more than half of the atmosphere s total mass is below an altitude of only about 6 kilometers 3.75 miles above the surface figure 2-1 the lowest region of the atmosphere the troposphere extends from the surface to an altitude that varies from 10 to 15 kilometers km 6.2 to 9.3 miles mi depending on latitude and season the top of the troposphere is called the tropopause the regions of the atmosphere above the troposphere are the stratosphere from between 10 and 15 to 40 km between 6.2-9.3 and 25 mi the mesosphere 40 to 80 km 25 to 50 mi the thermosphere 80 to 500 km 50 to 310 mi and the exosphere begins at about 500 km 310 mi the exosphere merges with interplanetary space the ionosphere is the region of atmosphere between 40 and 300 km 25 and 185 mi it is the region of positively-charged atoms and molecules and negatively-charged electrons figure 2-1 regions of the atmosphere meteorology activities for grades 5-9 5 np-2006-08-97-larc

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