By Sharill Prey-Luedtke
Grade Level: 9-12
This activity will have students utilize their knowledge of air masses, fronts(cold, warm, stationary), high pressure, low pressure, clouds, relative humidity and the way air masses move across the U.S. They will also refamiliarize themselves with the names and locations of all states.
- overheads of the U.S. with state outlines
- overhead projector (more than one will make things go much faster)
- U.S. map with state names posted in room
- roll paper (i.e. butcher paper) for creating map
- colored construction paper
- video taped weather forecasts-night before
- Provide each group (pairs work the best) a list of helpful guidelines and explain that they should not feel limited, and your grading criteria. Forecasts should be accurate for the time of year they choose (i.e. Alaska shouldn't be 100F and Hawaii -10F). Possible guidelines are:
- fronts (cold, warm, stationary)
- what is the temperatures, humidities after the front passes
- clouds (cirrus, cumulus, stratus)
- location appropriate
- relative humidity
- wind speed and direction
- high and low pressure systems
- precipitation (correct for season chosen)
- storms, hurricanes (named), tornadoes, etc.
- Tape the U.S. state overhead on the projector, have students trace (pencil best in case of mistakes) the outline of the states on their piece of paper taped to the chalkboard or wall. Their map should be big enough for the students in the back of the class to see.
- Students should name all the states so they can read them during their forecast. They may have to free hand in Alaska and Hawaii in the corners of the map.
- Within their group, decide on the time of year and type of weather. Either draw on the map or cut out symbols and glue/tape on to the map. The cutting and taping works the best for if they should make a mistake it can easily be fixed. They may also want to bring materials from home for their map.
- After the map is completed, a written forecast should to developed. Both partners should have roles in the presentation to the class.
- Present their map/forecast to their class. You may have them display their maps in the room or in the hall outside you room.
- Video tape their forecasts.
- Look at weather maps in the newspaper.
- Have the local weather person come in and talk to your class. They often have great videos.