Students will forecast the weather by interpreting a graph of weather front strength and humidity.
Main Curriculum Tie:
Science - 4th Grade
Standard 2 Objective 3
Evaluate weather predictions based upon observational data.
Front cards (pdf)
Humidity cards (pdf)
paper and pencils
Background For Teachers:
Stormy weather is often caused by fronts or by lower pressure. A cold front brings colder air and a warm front brings warmer air. At the boundary (front) warm air rises due to its lower density causing clouds to form, wind to blow, and precipitation to fall. The strength of a front depends on the temperature and pressure differences on either side of the front. Increasing humidity increases the amount of water available to form clouds and precipitation. Without humidity, only winds will occur.
Student Prior Knowledge:
Students should know how to read a graph and you may need to review pressure, density, and cloud formation.
Intended Learning Outcomes:
1. Use science process and thinking skills.
2. Manifest science interests and attitudes.
3. Understand important science concepts and principles.
4. Communicate effectively using science language and reasoning.
5. Demonstrate awareness of the social and historical aspects of science.
6. Understand the nature of science.
Start out by reviewing cloud formation and density if need be. Otherwise start with defining fronts and humidity. Emphasize that fronts can be warm or cold (or occluded or stationary) and both cause storms. Humidity provides water to form clouds and cause precipitation.
Go on to explain that we can make a simple graph to predict the weather but instead of a line graph or bar graph, this will be a graph with pictures. Transcribe the Weather Chart to the board or distribute copies. Note that temperature difference is the difference of temperature on each side of the front (e.g. 20° F front approaching a 45° F area gives a 25° F temperature difference. You may need to tell the students that difference means use subtraction.
If you wish to consider snow, tell the students to replace rain with snow if the front temperature is less than 32° F.
Forecasting the weather activity
Split students into groups of 2-3 and tell them that each group will forecast the weather using the graph we have made and weather data. Each group will be assigned a day (Day 1, Day 2...) and will select a front card and a humidity card at random.
Their job is to determine the temperature difference using subtraction and then read the chart to determine the weather. Using the front temperature students will predict weather snow or rain will fall. As an example, a card with a cold front and temperatures 6°F and 56° F and humidity of 70% gives a temperature difference of 50°F. Consulting the chart shows cloudy and windy with moderate rains. Because the temperature is below 32° C snow will fall.
Each group will present their forecast to the class. Ideally the groups will say something like "A strong cold front will hit on Day 3 bringing cloudy, windy conditions and a moderate level of snow.
Strategies For Diverse Learners:
Students can draw what the forecast will look like. This could be a snowy, windy scene or their own symbols that represent the forecast.
If computer access is possible, let students create their own weather by changing temperature and humidity. http://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/wwatch/sim/game.htm
Note that Flash Player is required.
The groups' presentations of the weather forecast lets you determine if they properly read the graph. Communication skills can be evaluated as well.
Created Date :
Jan 26 2011 11:00 AM