EE Week 2012 Greening STEM Planning Toolkit:
Climate & Weather
|A student observes the properties of water at Garlough
Environmental Magnet School in West Saint Paul, Minn.
From using the latest technology to track and analyze weather patterns to designing new tools to measure and predict weather and climate phenomena, there are many ways in which students can employ STEM in their study of weather and climate. The dynamic nature of weather and climate make for engaging and challenging topics of study and provide abundant opportunities for exploration in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
Below, we outline projects and activities organized by grade-level as well as resources that engage students in STEM learning around weather and climate.
Measuring Weather with Tools
Sci, Math, Tech
In this National Geographic Education activity, students study how weather is measured. Students will learn about the different instruments used to measure weather, the various units of measure and predict what instruments might be useful to measure weather on other planets.
What to Wear? What to Drink? Weather Patterns and Climatic Regions
In this lesson developed by the University of Colorado at Boulder, students learn about the different climatic regions and the factors that determine climate. They also explore how engineers enable humans to adapt to living in most environments by designing buildings, water systems and other technologies.
Graphing the Weather
Students track the weather over a month-long period using basic weather instruments, chart the information, and make predictions based on their observations.
In this Illuminations activity by the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics, students gather weather data, interpret the information and make a stem-and-leaf plot to illustrate patterns.
What's Up with the Weather? Examining Temperature Statistics
This lesson prepared by NOVA examines temperature data over ten years. Students use a statistical analysis technique, the moving average, to search for meaningful trends in the raw temperature data.
Moisture and Clouds
Sci, Math, Tech
In this activity developed by NASA, students develop a basic understanding of the relationship between cloud type and the form of precipitation. They also explore the relationship between the amount of water in the atmosphere available for precipitation and the actual precipitation observed by satellite.
This activity, developed by NASA, integrates a series of activities to introduce changes in water, ice and soil as well as understanding how they reflect climate.
Prehistoric Climate Change: And Why It Matters Today
This activity, developed by Smithsonian Education, introduces students to environmental topics using fun and challenging real-world math problems. Students determine average annual temperatures 55 million years ago by examining the fossils of leaves from various prehistoric tree species.
Climate Status Investigations: Let the Chips Fall Where They May
In this lesson from Keystone Science School, students apply the concepts of ice core analysis to measure atmospheric CO2 concentrations from 1006 A.D. to 1978 A.D. Register for free with Keystone Science School to access the lesson plan.
It's Easy Being Green: Green Building and Climate Change
Sci, Tech, Eng, Math , PBL
This lesson introduces students to green building practices and their benefits. Students collaborate to design their own green building, conduct an energy audit of their school and use the resulting data to suggest ways to improve the school's energy efficiency and reduce its carbon output.
Earth Gauge provides science-based quick facts, in-depth fact sheets, videos and online courses that make the links between climate, weather and environment. Earth Gauge Kids Earth Gauge Kids makes the connection between weather and the environment for middle school students.
Sci, Tech, CS
Journey North enables students to track the seasons on a real-time basis, by monitoring migration patterns, plant budding and other natural events. Student then share their observations and data with classmates across North America.
Wildest Weather Education
Sci, Tech, Eng
Explore this National Geographic Education collection, complementing the Wildest Weather in the Solar System film, to find hands-on multimedia activities, worksheets, lessons and interactive whiteboard content.
Climate Change, Wildlife and Wildlands: A Toolkit for Formal and Informal Educators
This kit, developed by several government agencies including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, helps illustrate how climate change affects wildlife and public lands. It contains classroom activities, video, links and other materials.
Climate.gov, developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provides multimedia information, data and educational resources on climate.
The Climate Literacy & Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN), developed by NOAA, provides a collection of educational resources designed to build students' understanding of the core ideas in climate and energy science.
Wildest Weather: The Game
Sci, Tech, Eng
Based on the National Geographic film Wildest Weather in the Solar System, this game challenges students to build a space probe that will withstand the extreme weather conditions on each of our solar system's planets.