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Science in Focus: Shedding Light: Workshop 8

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Wind and Weather

Climactic conditions in each season are not just the result of the tilt of the Earth's axis. In this workshop we will examine the effect of light on our weather. We will follow the path of light as it enters our atmosphere, and is absorbed, reflected, and radiated as heat by the land and by the water.

We will visit a fifth grade classroom as they explore these phenomena. And we will examine a weather map to discover the significance of high and low pressure.


Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:

  • Draw diagrams and generate examples that explain how sunlight provides the energy that drives weather on Earth.
  • Draw diagrams and verbally explain the high and low pressures as one of the two major components driving wind on Earth.
  • Draw diagrams and verbally explain how the Coriolis Effect deflects wind into the swirling patterns seen in satellite images.

Standards

National Science Education Standards

K-4 Standards: http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=4962&page=121

  • The sun provides the light and heat necessary to maintain the temperature of the earth.

    Content Standards: K-4: Earth and Space Science: Objects in the Sky
  • The surface of the earth changes. Some changes are due to slow processes, such as erosion and weathering, and some changes are due to rapid processes, such as landslides, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes.

    Content Standards: K-4: Earth and Space Science: Changes in the Earth and Sky
  • Weather changes from day to day and over the seasons.

    Content Standards: K-4: Earth and Space Science: Changes in the Earth and Sky

5-8 Standards: http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=4962&page=143

  • The solid earth is layered with a lithosphere; hot, convecting mantle; and dense, metallic core.

    Content Standards: 5-8: Earth and Space Science: Structure of the Earth System
  • Water, which covers the majority of the earth's surface, circulates through the crust, oceans, and atmosphere in what is known as the "water cycle." Water evaporates from the earth's surface, rises and cools as it moves to higher elevations, condenses as rain or snow, and falls to the surface where it collects in lakes, oceans, soil, and in rocks underground.

    Content Standards: 5-8: Earth and Space Science: Structure of the Earth System
  • Water is a solvent. As it passes through the water cycle it dissolves minerals and gases and carries them to the oceans.

    Content Standards: 5-8: Earth and Space Science: Structure of the Earth System
  • Clouds, formed by the condensation of water vapor, affect weather and climate.

    Content Standards: 5-8: Earth and Space Science: Structure of the Earth System
  • Fossils provide important evidence of how life and environmental conditions have changed.

    Content Standards: 5-8: Earth and Space Science: Earth's History
  • The sun is the major source of energy for phenomena on the earth's surface, such as growth of plants, winds, ocean currents, and the water cycle. Seasons result from variations in the amount of the sun's energy hitting the surface, due to the tilt of the earth's rotation on its axis and the length of the day.

    Content Standards: 5-8: Earth and Space Science: Earth in the Solar System

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Project 2061 Benchmarks

By the end of the 2nd grade, students should know that:

  • Some events in nature have a repeating pattern. The weather changes some from day to day, but things such as temperature and rain (or snow) tend to be high, low, or medium in the same months every year.

    The Physical Setting: 4B The Earth: K-2

By the end of the 2nd grade, students should know that:

  • Water can be a liquid or a solid and can go back and forth from one form to the other. If water is turned into ice and then the ice is allowed to melt, the amount of water is the same as it was before freezing.

    The Physical Setting: 4B The Earth: K-2

By the end of the 5th grade, students should know that:

  • The earth is one of several planets that orbit the sun, and the moon orbits around the earth. Stars are like the sun, some being smaller and some larger, but so far away that they look like points of light.

    The Physical Setting: 4B The Earth: 3-5

By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that:

  • Energy cannot be created or destroyed, but only changed from one form into another. Most of what goes on in the universe—from exploding stars and biological growth to the operation of machines and the motion of people—involves some form of energy being transformed into another.

    The Physical Setting: 4E Energy Transformations: 6-8




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