GROUP SIZE: Small
TIME: 60 minutes
TYPE OF ACTIVITY: Student Investigation Discussion
TEACHING STRATEGY: Guided Discovery Expository
CONCEPTS: Weather Front Weather Map High/Low Pressure
SKILLS: Reading for Information Interpreting Data
Objective: To measure the speed at which a front or a high moves.
Materials: Activity sheet; cm ruler.
Teacher Background Information:
One of the ways meteorologists can predict what the weather will look like for a particular area over the next few days, is to measure the speed at which the weather fronts are moving. This is helpful for pilots, for example, when they want to make sure that a front bringing poor weather is not going to move so fast that it interferes with getting from one place to another or in judging when a particular front will move out and provide good flying weather behind it. For these reasons, pilot training entails many hours of learning how weather works and the symbols used to communicate the weather picture.
- Hand out the activity sheets to each student.
- Talk with the class about the need for predicting weather and the notion that one of the criteria used for prediction is the speed at which fronts move.
- Discuss what each of the symbols means and clarify any concern about the directions on the activity sheet.
- When the students have finished, have them get together in small groups of 4-5 to compare the answers they came up with. Ask them to rethink any that now seem out of line.
Bring in the weather maps from the local newspaper for two consecutive days. The symbols used may differ from the one shown in the activity sheet, but students can repeat the activity using the same method of measurement. Then, have them make their own prediction about the following day‘s weather for their area. Does the paper predict the same thing? See how close their predictions come to what actually happens.
WEATHER FRONTS MOVE… (activity sheet)
- Locate the front along the West Coast on the map of Day 1.
- Calculate and record the distance in km that the front moved in one day.
- Divide the distance found in step 2 by the number of hours in one day. What does this give you? km/hr
- Find the high in Canada on the map of Day 1. Repeat steps 2 and 3 to find out how fast the high is moving. km/hr.
- Describe the general direction or path of the highs, lows and fronts on the maps.
- Describe the wind direction near lows and highs on the maps. Use these terms: in, out, clockwise, counter-clockwise.
- What has happened to the north end of the cold front in the West by Day 2?
- What are the weather conditions in Michigan on Day 1?
- Predict the weather where you live for the day after Day 2.
adapted from Scott, Foresman – Earth Science