Science
Strand V
Use Scientific Knowledge from the Earth and Space Sciences in Real-World Contexts

 

Science/Strand V
Content Standard 3
All students will investigate and describe what makes up weather and how it changes from day to day, from season to season, and over long periods of time; explain what causes different kinds of weather; and analyze the relationships between human activities and the atmosphere. (Atmosphere and Weather)

 

Science/Strand V/Content Standard 3
High School

 

Science/Strand V/Content Standard 3/High School
Benchmark 1
Explain how interactions of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere create climates and how climates change over time.

Benchmark Clarification

Climate is the average condition of the atmosphere usually taken over ten or more years. Many factors influence climate (temperature, precipitation) and cause it to change over time.

Students will:

  • Explain how each of the following contributes to the creation of distinct regional climates:
    • the angle of the Sun’s rays (which varies with latitude)
    • the uneven heating of the geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere
    • differences in global circulation of air and ocean currents
    • altitude and position of landforms

Key Concept / Real World Context / Instructional Example / Assessment Example / Resources

 

Science/Strand V/Content Standard 3/High School/Benchmark 1
Key Concept

  • average yearly temperatures
  • ice ages
  • volcanic dust in atmosphere
  • greenhouse effect
  • global air circulation
  • effects of latitude
  • effects of mountain barriers
  • effects of large bodies of land or water
  • ocean currents

 

Science/Strand V/Content Standard 3/High School/Benchmark 1
Real World Context
Evidence of short-term climate changes:

  • catastrophic volcanic eruptions
  • impact sun spot activity

Evidence of long-term climate changes:

  • ice ages
  • global warming
  • El Nino and La Nina

 

Science/Strand V/Content Standard 3/High School/Benchmark 1
Instructional Example

Benchmark Question: What changes in the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere cause climates to change?

Focus Question: How does the altitude of the Sun and the length of the day affect regional climates (especially temperature)?

The teacher will review with students how to estimate the following information:

  • the altitude of the Sun using one of the several methods (protractor/weight, transparent plastic dome, etc.)
  • the length of the day

Twelve groups of students (arranged by month) will determine the length of the day and the Sun’s altitude for four different locations (local, equatorial, Tropic of Capricorn, Tropic of Cancer) on the twenty-first day of each month. Students will plot the altitude and length of day calculations for the entire year on a classroom graph for each location. Each student will compare the graphs and predict how the altitude of the Sun and the length of the day each affect the climate.

Extension: an area near the Arctic or Antarctic Circle could be used.

Constructing: (SCI.I.1.HS.1), (SCI.I.1.HS.4), (SCI.I.1.HS.5).

Reflecting: (SCI.II.1.HS.1), (SCI.II.1HS.3).

 

Science/Strand V/Content Standard 3/High School/Benchmark 1
Assessment Example

The teacher will present the following scenario to the class:

Assume that the Earth’s rotational axis is tilted so that the North Pole always directly faces the Sun.

Each student will write a list of predictions that describe the altitude of the Sun, the length of the day, seasonal changes, and temperature conditions that would result on such an Earth.

(Give students rubric before activity.)

Scoring Rubric

Criteria

Apprentice

Basic

Meets

Exceeds

Predictions of changes

Predicts one component: altitude of the Sun, length of the day, seasonal changes, and temperature conditions.

Predicts two components but leaves two incomplete: altitude of the Sun, length of the day, seasonal changes, and temperature conditions.

Predicts three components but leaves one incomplete: altitude of the Sun, length of the day, seasonal changes, and temperature conditions.

Predicts all four components: altitude of the Sun, length of the day, seasonal changes, and temperature conditions.

 

Science/Strand V/Content Standard 3/High School/Benchmark 1
Resources

Webliography.
http://mtn.merit.edu/mcf/SCI.V.3.HS.1.html

Sunrise/Sunset Calculation Program-calculate the sunrise/sunset for anywhere in the world.
http://aa.usno.navy.mil/AA/data/

Milankovich Cycles: “Milankovich cycles are cycles in the Earth's orbit that influence the amount of solar radiation striking different parts of the Earth at different times of year. He explained how these orbital cycles cause the advance and retreat of the polar ice caps.
http://deschutes.gso.uri.edu/rutherfo/milankovitch.html

Athropolis: tabular display for hours of daylight/twilight for Arctic locations. Discover that there are over 2 hours of daylight at the Arctic Circle on Dec. 21, dispelling the misconception that there is 24 hours of darkness at all high latitudes.
http://www.athropolis.com/sun-fr.htm

Climate Summaries of the Midwest. MESTA, 98.5.
http://mcc.sws.uiuc.edu/Summary/index.html

For Kids Only — Earth Science Enterprise. MESTA, 00.1.
http://kids.earth.nasa.gov/

Geosciences — atmosphere and weather.
http://www.covis.nwu.edu/geosciences/resources/

Hunter’s Guide. Michigan DNR, 2000.

NASA’s Earth Observatory. MESTA 1999.5, 1999.4.
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/

National Climate Data. National Climatic Data Center. Federal Building, Asheville, NC 28801.

NOAA Paleo-Global Warming Page. MESTA, 00.1.

Photographers Almanac.
http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/paleo/globalwarming/sitemapgw.html

Regional climates.
http://faldo.atmos.uiuc.edu/w_unit/LESSONS/regional.climates.html

Resources for Geography and Earth Science.
http://personal.cmich.edu/Franc1m/homepage.htm

Weather Channel.