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  • MI.SS.MS.ESS2.6
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
6th Grade Weather and Climate Unit
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In this part of the unit, students are exploring how global temperatures have changed over the past hundred years.  Students will examine tables and graphs about global temperatures and carbon dioxide levels, human consumption of food, and human consumption of natural resources.  They will find patterns in the graphs.  Based on this data, students will construct an argument about how human activities (increase in population and consumption of natural resources) cause global temperatures to increase.

Subject:
Applied Science
Environmental Science
Material Type:
Unit of Study
Provider:
Michigan Virtual
Author:
Michelle Landis
Date Added:
03/24/2017
Climate Change Lesson 11 : Water Balance and the Great Lakes
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CC BY-NC
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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
Earth Science for Middle School (Student's Edition)
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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
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:
NASA
National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)
Provider Set:
NGSS@NSTA
Date Added:
02/16/2018
Vortex
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CC BY-NC-SA
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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
What is the Future of Earth’s Climate?
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This computer-based learning module engages students in questions that scientists around the world are exploring about Earth’s climate. They gain an appreciation for how much is not known about the Earth and climate change. The module contains 5 activities; 1) Earth’s 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.

Subject:
Atmospheric Science
Material Type:
Simulation
Provider:
Concord Consortium
National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)
Provider Set:
NGSS@NSTA
Date Added:
02/16/2018
Why is it Hotter at the Equator?
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The students investigate the heating effects of light striking a surface at angles varying from 0 to 90 degrees. Temperature data is collected over time and graphed. They gather and analyze data and explain how direct light at the Equator results in a warmer climate. Students describe temperature patterns at locations poleward from the Equator. This illustrates the heat differential on Earth based on the angle of incoming sunlight at latitudes north and south of the equator. Questions and follow-up activities are provided. Suggested follow-up activities include writing about the temperature patterns and gathering climate and weather data from other sources to compare to their experiment. A PDF document of the entire activity includes student sheets. The instructions state that it would take 60 minutes to complete the activity. Please note: Teachers should experiment with the setup and the covering of the thermometers because the top of the vertical thermometer is closer to the light than the others and it may impact the results.

Subject:
Atmospheric Science
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility
National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)
Provider Set:
NGSS@NSTA
Date Added:
02/16/2018