Weather is one of the most common topics of discussion and it effects all aspects of our student’s lives. A unit on meteorology can thus be a welcome “attention-getter” to increase interest in science. Students need to relate to what they are learning, and weather with its severe storms, temperature fluctuations, and changeability makes an ideal topic for a unit.
I teach meteorology at the beginning of the year, right after a unit on the atmosphere. Not only are the two topics related, but hurricanes are still possible and hopefully students will be able to track at least one. Also, a unit on meteorology provides ample areas where science experiments, demonstrations, charting, graphing and record-keeping can be done. All of these are vital elements of the eighth-grade curriculum and much needed preparation for high school. Furthermore, a two-week weather log is a key part of this unit. Students will be able to chart local/Connecticut weather conditions, and see connections as well as trends.
For this unit, I am not going to be spending much time on general meteorological information that can be found in any earth science textbook. Emphasis will be on supplemental materials. Weather lore examples are given and it is quite fascinating how people equate changes in animal behavior with changes in the weather. Severe storms that affect Connecticut are part of this unit. Thunderstorms can be not only dangerous, but can spawn other types of storms such as tornadoes and hail storms. Hurricanes, with their destructive winds, can also cause the formation of thunderstorms, tornadoes and hail. Lastly, the history of meteorology and how modern weather forecasting has come about will be looked at.
(Recommended for General Science and Earth Science, grades 8-9)
Ecology Environmental Science Atmosphere Connecticut Ecosystems Meteorology New Haven Pollution American History