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  • MI.SS.MS.ESS2.5
6.3 Weather, Climate & Water Cycling
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This unit on weather, climate, and water cycling is broken into four separate lesson sets. In the first two lesson sets, students explain small-scale storms. In the third and fourth lesson sets, students explain mesoscale weather systems and climate-level patterns of precipitation. Each of these two parts of the unit is grounded in a different anchoring phenomenon.

The unit starts out with anchoring students in the exploration of a series of videos of hailstorms from different locations across the country at different times of the year. The videos show that pieces of ice of different sizes (some very large) are falling out of the sky, sometimes accompanied by rain and wind gusts, all on days when the temperature of the air outside remained above freezing for the entire day. These cases spark questions and ideas for investigations, such as investigating how ice can be falling from the sky on a warm day, how clouds form, why some clouds produce storms with large amounts of precipitation and others don’t, and how all that water gets into the air in the first place.

The second half of the unit is anchored in the exploration of a weather report of a winter storm that affected large portions of the midwestern United States. The maps, transcripts, and video that students analyze show them that the storm was forecasted to produce large amounts of snow and ice accumulation in large portions of the northeastern part of the country within the next day. This case sparks questions and ideas for investigations around trying to figure out what could be causing such a large-scale storm and why it would end up affecting a different part of the country a day later.

Subject:
Environmental Science
Atmospheric Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Assessment
Lesson Plan
Student Guide
Teaching/Learning Strategy
Unit of Study
Author:
Assessment Specialist Colleen O’Brien
Boston College Emily Harris
BSCS Science Learning Audrey Mohan
BSCS Science Learning Dawn Novak
BSCS Science Learning Katie Van Horne
BSCS Science Learning Lindsey Mohan
BSCS Science Learning Tracey Ramirez
Columbia University Elisabeth Cohen
Indian Woods Middle School Ann Rivet
Indian Woods Middle School Whitney Smith
Lombard Middle School Vanessa Hannana
Michael Novak
Northwestern University Renee Affolter
Williston Central School Heather Galbreath
Date Added:
08/04/2020
Air Masses
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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.

Subject:
Atmospheric Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)
Provider Set:
NGSS@NSTA
Date Added:
02/16/2018
Climate Change Lesson 11 : Water Balance and the Great Lakes
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Climagraphs can tell us about the seasonal shifts in climate due to climate change. Changes in growing season and water balance in the Great Lakes region will have economic impacts.

Subject:
Environmental Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Author:
Michigan Geographic Alliance
Date Added:
08/28/2020
Climate Change Lesson 1 : What Is Climate?
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What is the distinction between weather and climate? As a way to understand climate, students interpret climagraphs, and read about climate variability. An extension lesson has
students comparing climate data from different regions in the United States.

Subject:
Environmental Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Author:
Michigan Geographic Alliance
Date Added:
08/28/2020
Convection Current
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CC BY-NC-SA
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In this activity, learners make their own heat waves in an aquarium. Warmer water rising through cooler water creates turbulence effects that bend light, allowing you to project swirling shadows onto a screen. Use this demonstration to show convection currents in water as well as light refraction in a simple, visually appealing way.

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Provider Set:
Science Snacks
Date Added:
09/04/2019
Earth Science for Middle School (Student's Edition)
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CC BY-NC-SA
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CK-12 Earth Science For Middle School covers the study of Earth - its minerals and energy resources, processes inside and on its surface, its past, water, weather and climate, the environment and human actions, and astronomy.

Subject:
Astronomy
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Textbook
Provider:
CK-12 Foundation
Provider Set:
CK-12 FlexBook
Author:
Brainard, Jean
Sandeen, Julie
Date Added:
08/22/2010
Exploring the Great Lakes
Unrestricted Use
CC BY
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As rain falls all over Michigan, the water gathers in small local watersheds, which feed into larger regional watersheds, which ultimately feed into the Great Lakes. Water that falls on the land in Michigan eventually flows into one of the Great Lakes because the elevation of the Great Lakes is generally lower than the elevation of the land in Michigan. Students will be able to use elevation maps to study water flow from watersheds emptying into the Great Lakes. Success with this lesson will happen when students can investigate the Great Lakes water flow and produce a simple diagram that illustrates this flow pattern.

Subject:
Physical Science
Material Type:
Lesson
Provider:
Michigan Virtual
Author:
GRACE Project
Date Added:
12/27/2016
How's the weather?
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Explore relationships between temperature, pressure, and humidity with daily weather forecasts.

GeoInquiries are designed to be fast and easy-to-use instructional resources that incorporate advanced web mapping technology. Each 15-minute activity in a collection is intended to be presented by the instructor from a single computer/projector classroom arrangement. No installation, fees, or logins are necessary to use these materials and software.

Subject:
Physical Science
Material Type:
Lesson
Provider:
Michigan Virtual
Author:
GRACE Project
Date Added:
11/21/2016
Manned Mission to Mars
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Educational Use
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This lesson will discuss the details for a possible future manned mission to Mars. The human risks are discussed and evaluated to minimize danger to astronauts. A specialized launch schedule is provided and the different professions of the crew are discussed. Once on the surface, the crew's activities and living area will be covered, as well as how they will make enough fuel to make it off the Red Planet and return home.

Subject:
Engineering
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Chris Yakacki
Daria Kotys-Schwartz
Geoffrey Hill
Janet Yowell
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Ocean Currents and Sea Surface Temperature
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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 ocean’s 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.

Subject:
Atmospheric Science
Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)
Provider Set:
NGSS@NSTA
Date Added:
02/16/2018
OpenSciEd - Science Materials Middle School Learning
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CC BY-NC-SA
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OpenSciEd middle school is NGSS-aligned science curriculum. Designed for all students and teachers, OpenSciEd includes student-facing materials as well as teacher guides. As with most instructional materials, excellent professional learning for teachers should be provided. For more information in Michigan contact the Michigan Mathematics and Science Leadership Network, starrm@mimathandscience.org

Subject:
Life Science
Physical Science
Material Type:
Full Course
Date Added:
03/19/2021
Stormy Skies
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Educational Use
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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.

Subject:
Engineering
Atmospheric Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Glen Sirakavit
Janet Yowell
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
Marissa Forbes
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Tropical storms
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Use hurricane track information to understand factors that encourage the formation of hurricanes.

GeoInquiries are designed to be fast and easy-to-use instructional resources that incorporate advanced web mapping technology. Each 15-minute activity in a collection is intended to be presented by the instructor from a single computer/projector classroom arrangement. No installation, fees, or logins are necessary to use these materials and software.

Subject:
Physical Science
Material Type:
Lesson
Provider:
Michigan Virtual
Author:
GRACE Project
Date Added:
11/21/2016
Vortex
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In this activity, learners create a tornado in a bottle to observe a spiraling, funnel-shaped vortex. A simple connector device allows water to drain from a 2-liter bottle into a second bottle. Learners can observe the whirling water and then repeat the process by inverting the bottle. Use this activity to talk about surface tension, pressure, gravity, friction, angular momentum, and centripetal force.

Subject:
Atmospheric Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Provider Set:
Science Snacks
Date Added:
02/12/2008
Weather Basics
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Educational Use
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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.

Subject:
Engineering
Atmospheric Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Glen Sirakavit
Janet Yowell
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
Marissa Forbes
Date Added:
09/18/2014
You Grotto Go to Hemlock Gorge: Illuminating Standards Video Series
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Sixth grade students in Boston, MA created a geology book for young readers with a unique format: it is written as a graphic informational book, similar to the graphic novels that students enjoy.  During a four-month investigation, the students explored a nearby geological feature, Hemlock Gorge, in order to understand geological processes. This film features interviews with the teacher and former students, and poses the question of what understanding actually looks like, and how students can demonstrate it. Illuminates Massachusetts Science Standard: Earth’s History: "Describe and give examples of ways in which the earth’s surface is built up and torn down by natural processes, including deposition of sediments, rock formation, erosion, and weathering."

Subject:
Geology
Material Type:
Teaching/Learning Strategy
Provider:
EL Education
Date Added:
07/03/2018