Activities to Enhance STEDII

By Derek Geise

Objectives

Develop an understanding of related weather processes such as wind, cloud cover, and temperature using STEDII data and instrumentation as well as on-line weather maps and satellite images. In addition, students will be able to recognize appropriate scales and units, analyze data, and integrate mathematical calculations to produce a forecast map.

Procedures

NOTE: It would be advisable to the teacher to join the STEDII network before attempting this activity. All instrumentation will be provided free of charge as will school or class home pages and data tables. Instrumentation is necessary for the students to have a hands on experience.

1) Knowledge, Observation, Data Collection

At the beginning of this activity, students should identify what they know about temperature, cloud cover, wind and how these are all related to each other. Questions about weather conditions should also be addressed. These will help to guide the activity.

Instrumentation to be used in this activity are:

  • Min-Max Thermometer
  • Wind Direction Indicator
  • Wind Speed Indicator
  • Data Table for recording data

One week before starting the activity, explain the instrumentation and start observations. If this is not an option or you need more information on procedure, simply refer to the STEDII homage. Past weather conditions can be retrieved and used. The data may be collected at home or at school. Also remind students to keep notes on any hypothesis formed, questions, thoughts, etc.

Focus the early journal observations into more formal observations once the actual activity begins. Formal or meteorological documentation can be found on the web by visiting the NESEN homage or on most weather related searches. Nebraska weather maps can be downloaded from the net or can be obtained from newspaper or possibly from your local weather service.

Weather station model plots should be discussed at this time so that students can recognize temperature, wind direction, and cloud cover. Once the basic concepts have been developed, students can begin to utilize the data that has been collected.

Students can now begin to look for patterns in their data and the data obtained from other schools. This should be supplemented with weather maps obtained from newspapers and the internet for the corresponding time frame. This will lead to the development of a hypothesis based on their data. Have students compare their data with at least five other schools from across the state and compare this data to data obtained from the weather service. Discuss accuracy and precision.

Have students break into groups and look at temperature, wind and cloud cover from the data observations both locally and statewide for a given amount of time and have them compare and contrast. For example, two groups do temperature, two do cloud cover, etc. Have the student report their findings to the class and hold a classroom "scientific" discussion about the findings and how they may be related.

2) Relationships

In this part of the activity, students will examine the relationship between measured phenomena such as cloud cover and temperature, wind and cloud cover, temperature and wind-chill, etc. Atmospheric pressure may be discussed here in relation to the various phenomena. Compare locally as well as state-wide. Have students look at patterns as well as continuing with journal entries. Class discussion of hypothesis' about relationships would be helpful here as well.

3) Weather Report

In the last part of the activity, students will create a weather report for the state. This could be done in an "evening news" format in which there could be T.V weather reporters, behind the scene support meteorologists, camera persons, etc. The students should be able to demonstrate their meteorological skills and mathematical understanding. Weather should be demonstrated and explained using maps, charts, graphs, data, and on-line resources such as satellite images. Means, medians, ranges, patterns, observations, and relationships should all be addressed here as related to a systemic approach.