My students are often amazed by the various climatic conditions of nature and they are searching for some scientific data to explain the different phenomena of nature. They are not content with the traditional folklore, even though the folklore piqued their curiosity and stimulated their critical and analytical thinking abilities.
In expanding one’s knowledge, the use of technology is essential in today’s society. As with the use of weather, technology makes predicting weather more accurate.
To motivate the students I will introduce my unit with folklore. Early man used stories to explain weather. Early Greek believed that gods caused the weather, and traditionally in some cultures it was believed that the groundhog could predict weather.
Prior to making a weather forecast there are many elements to be considered. Elements that affect or cause weather are heat, air, pressure, wind, and moisture. Data on these elements are continuously being collected from various locations throughout the country and world in order for the meteorologist to make a weather prediction.
Meteorologists use many instruments to collect weather data. These instruments play a very important role in accurate weather predicting. The instruments that raised the highest level of interest to my students in the areas of critical thinking and problem solving skills as related to weather were the aneroid barometer, the weather satellite, the computer, the anemometer, the rain gauge, the thermometer, and the hydrometer.
One cannot think about weather without thinking about climate. Climate is weather, but at a given place over a long period of time. Climate is affected by physical conditions and classified according to average temperature, rainfall and seasonal cycles.
Weather predictions require rapid communication which is vital to accurate forecasting. It requires a network of people collaborating together around the world collecting and sending out weather data. This continuous cycle of weather data affects the lives of many people in many different ways.
It is through the network method of communicating weather data that we come to realize even more that weather affects our lives. Weather lets the farmer know when to plant and when to harvest. Weather dictates around the world what to wear as well as what not to wear, types of houses to build, types of industry, recreation, and the list goes on. Weather does indeed have a great affect on life.
The effect of the weather on the lives of my students have prompted them to ask many questions. They have very little faith in the predictions of the meteorologist. Their multiple questions ad concerns have directed me in selecting the topics in this unit. My objective was to address all of their concerns scientifically and stimulate their critical thinking through the use of manipulatives, observations, hands-on-activities, resources and visual aids.
Some problems that may arise out of this unit are the ability of students to work in groups, following written directions, using manipulatives, comprehension of weather terminologies, reading graphs and charts as well as making them, field trips, securing resources and making predictions.
An asset to teaching this unit is the possibility that a student may choose meteorology as a career. This unit can be used in grades 7-9 and for a duration of 2-3 weeks. This unit includes a career— meteorology, resources, vocabulary, a pretest/post test, hands-on activity, lesson plans, teacher and student reading lists and bibliography.