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, for several reasons. First, weather occurs in the atmosphere and concepts become clearer when the two units are taught back to back. Second, hurricane season normally runs from June through November, and odds are that a hurricane/ tropical cyclone will be happening somewhere, at some time during the unit. This gives a lesson on hurricanes added impact.
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 8th grade curriculum, and much needed preparation for high school science.
Furthermore, a two week weather log is a key part of the unit. Students will be able to chart local/ Connecticut weather conditions, and see connections, as well as trends. In addition, this unit is adaptable to students of differing abilities.
For this unit, I am not going to be spending much time on general meteorological information that can be found in earth science textbooks, but on supplemental materials. Emphasis will also be on hands-on activities as they relate to weather forecasting. I plan to cover and concentrate on the following; weather lore, severe storms, the history of meteorology and modern weather forecasting.