Weather

This learning block represents one week’s work. Aim to watch at least one video and choose at least one activity or project to complete.

There are two videos to choose from about weather. Feel free to watch one, or both!

If you are a high school student, or you’re interested in going deeper, make sure to check out the Advanced Projects at the end of the block. Have fun!

Now choose an Activity

What is a Meteorologist? Project

In this project, you will learn how METEOROLOGISTS predict weather! A meteorologist is a weather scientist.

Start with the first video. It shows a meteorologist at work. Then watch the second video to learn about what meteorologists do.

Listen for these words and try to figure out what they mean:
– RADAR
– SATELLITE
– PATTERN

Write definitions for these words in your Science Notebook!

Make a Rain Cloud Demo Lab

The video above will show you how to make a demo of a raincloud at home! Follow the directions in the video to try it yourself. Be careful when using food colouring – it stains!

You will need:
– two glasses
– water
– shaving cream
– food colouring
– water dropper

Answer:
How do clouds form?
What makes rain?
How is the raincloud you made similar to a real cloud? How is it different?

Include a sketch or photo of your raincloud, and your observations, in your Science Notebook!

Be a Weather Watcher

In this project, you will make a Weather Journal! A weather journal is a record of the weather where you live. Watch the video above to see how it works.

You will need:
– a piece of paper (or your Science Notebook)
– a pencil
– a spot to observe the weather (you can do this through a window, but going outside is even better!)
– outdoor thermometer (or you can look up the temperature)

Start by recording the weather every day for 5 days. Remember to check the weather at the same time each day.

What do you notice? Do you see any patterns yet?
Which day was the warmest? Which day was the sunniest? Which day was the windiest?

If you keep recording for a whole month, you will really start to see how the weather shifts. If you record even longer, you will see more patterns emerge!

Add your observations to your Science Notebook.

Sing the Weather Song

This video will teach you a catchy song about weather! Listen to the words and see if you can figure out what it is teaching you about what weather is.

Now try to learn some of the words. You can sing along with the chorus, or practice the whole thing! Try to perform the song for your family or make a video of yourself singing along!

Make a Rain Gauge

A RAIN GAUGE is a tool used to measure how much rain has fallen. Watch the video above to see how you can make your own rain gauge and use it at home to measure rainfall.

You will need:
– large plastic bottle
– scissors
– tape
– ruler
– marker
– glass of water

Choose a day when you expect it to rain, and then set up your rain gauge outdoors. Don’t forget to pick a spot where there is nothing blocking the rain from reaching your rain gauge! Leave it outside for 24 hours before bringing it back indoors to measure how much higher the water is inside your rain gauge. This tells you how many milimetres of rain has fallen!

Draw a diagram of your rain gauge, or take a photo of it. Add this, along with your rain measurement, to your Science Notebook. If you are expecting several days of rain, you can repeat this process every day and then compare rainfall for for each day.

Books About Weather

Click on a book to buy it from Amazon. Or, you can ask for them at your local library. 

What Will the Weather be? Read Aloud

The Meteorologist in Me Read Aloud

Advanced Projects

Choose at least one!

Cloud in a Bottle Experiment

This project is adapted from NASA’s S’COOL Program! You are going to make your own CLOUD at home and learn about the relationships between air pressure, temperature, and cloud formation.

NOTE: This project requires you to use a lighted match. Check in with an adult before using matches in any experiment, and always practice fire safety!

 Step 1: Watch the videos above to learn more about cloud formation.

Step 2: Read about CONDENSATION NUCLEI. What are they? Why are they necessary for cloud formation? Write a definition for this term in your Science Notebook.

Step 3: Prepare for the experiment.

You will need: 
– warm water
– metal tray
– ice
– clear jar
– match
a printout of The Cloud Cookery page from NASA

Step 4: Follow the procedure outlined on The Cloud Cookery page.

Step 5: Observe your jar. Answer the following:
– Is anything changing inside your jar? Describe it.
– Why did you need the smoke for your cloud to form?

Step 6: Draw or photograph your experiment to be included in your Science Notebook. Label the parts of your image.

Step 7: Write a paragraph or record a voice memo describing the conditions which are necessary for the formation of YOUR cloud, and how they compare to the conditions needed for real cloud formation.

Step 8: Draw a diagram or create a list of the steps needed for clouds to form in the atmosphere.

Make sure all your work is included in your Science Notebook!

Explore Weather & Climate Data

In this project adapted from UCAR Centre for Science Education, you will compare local weather data and local climate data.

Step 1: Look up high and low temperature data for your city. You will need data for the past 10 days or the past month. You can find weather data on your local news, or check Weather Underground. Make sure you search YOUR city!

Step 2: Next, find your local climate data for the same time period. What you are looking for is the AVERAGE high and low temperatures based on historical data. You can find this information by searching searching for your location on Weather Underground, then clicking the HISTORY tab. Select the date you are looking for and scroll down until you find the Historical Average for that day. Write down your data in a table so you will have it ready.

Step 3: Make a line graph comparing the weather data and the historical climate data. If you need some help setting up your line graph, check out the videos below. The first video will show you how to make a line graph by hand; the second video will show you how to do it using Google Sheets.

Step 4: Compare the data lines. 

Answer:
– Which has more variation: the weather data or the historical averages? Why do you think that is?
– Is the weather warmer, cooler, or about the same as the historical climate data?
– If you had to predict tomorrow’s temperature, would you use the weather data or the climate data? Why?

Step 5: Watch the video above to learn more about climate and weather.

Now write a paragraph or record yourself describing what each one is and how they are different. Consider what weather data and climate data can tell us about global warming. If tomorrow is warmer than today, would that be evidence of climate change? What about if next year is warmer than last year? Or if this decade is warmer than last decade?

Step 6: Take all the documentation and responses from this project and add them to your Science Notebook.

Analyze Weather in the News

This project is adapted from UCAR Centre for Science Education. In it, you will be diving in to how weather events are portrayed in NEWS MEDIA. The way the media talks about weather can shape how we understand our environment and the way we choose to interact with it. We will be looking at three different weather case studies and examining the news coverage of each one.

Before we start, let’s get clear on a few things!

The videos below discuss terms that we need to know to be media-savvy. As you watch them, jot down definitions for the following terms:

FACT
REPORTING

OPINION

Sometimes news outlets publish REPORTING on weather events, sometimes they publish OPINIONS. It’s always important to pay attention to whether we are reading news or opinion pieces!

You will also notice that sometimes news media take a SCIENTIFIC focus in their reporting (telling us about the science behind a weather event) and sometimes they take a HUMAN focus (telling us about the impact of the weather event on people and communities). Both are important and valuable.

Case Study #1: The Joplin Tornado
Read the following articles about the Joplin Tornado. Then print out this worksheet and fill it in to compare the two stories.

Local News Story: ‘Five years ago: Tornado left behind six miles of terror’
National News Story: ‘Deadly tornado kills 124, leaves ‘twilight zone’ in its wake’

Case Study #2: Snowmageddon
Read the following articles about “Snowmageddon.” Then print out this worksheet and fill it in to compare the stories.

News Story: Snowmageddon: Snowstorm likely to be historic
News Story: Historic snowfall in D.C. leaves a mess to be reckoned with
Editorial: Snowmageddon is nigh

Case Study #3: Hurricane Sandy
Read the following articles about Hurricane Sandy. Then print out this worksheet and fill it in to compare the stories.

Science Focus: Tracking Hurricane Sandy Up the East Coast
Science Focus: Did Global Warming Contribute to Hurricane Sandy’s Devastation?
Human Focus: After the Devastation, A Daunting Recovery

Think about:
What did you notice about the different types of articles? Did you notice any differences in the types of language used? In the emphasis of the articles? Does this project change the way you think about news articles?

Remember to add your work to your Science Notebook!

NOw Let’s Have some fun!