GROUP SIZE: Large
TIME: 60 minutes
TYPE OF ACTIVITY: Student Activity Skill Practice TEACHING STRATEGY Expository Guided Discovery
CONCEPTS: Weather Symbols Weather Maps Meteorology
SKILLS: Reading and Interpreting Data Plotting Data
Objective: To practice reading and using the standard weather symbols used around the world.
Materials: Activity sheet and pencils.
Teacher Background Information:
Understanding and predicting the weather is a vital concern of aviation and space for poor weather can cause delays and cancellations of flights, at best, and loss of life, at worst. As a protection from misunderstanding, weather symbols have been standardized around the world and meteorologists receive and transmit weather information using these symbols.
The following activity deals with reading some of the more common symbols and using them to draw weather station map entries for three cities.
Hand out the activity sheets to each student. Then,
- Discuss some of the reasons why the aviation and space industry must obtain, and thoroughly understand, reliable weather data.
- Discuss the need for meteorologists to have standard international symbols to relay weather data.
- Have the class look over the Weather Symbol Table together. Look at the similarities and get a feeling for what the various symbols stand for.
- Clarify the directions on the activity sheet so students understand how to proceed with their drawings.
Unless they have had some prior experience with this, drawing the weather station entry may seem a bit complicated at first. The important part is to understand the symbols and to realize how important it is to be absolutely accurate in using them.
Obtain a weather service map. Have the students choose a city and write a paragraph telling the weather picture is for that city on a specific day. You can request maps from the Weather Service Bureau at a major airport nearby or from a local TV station which the National Weather Bureau service.
WEATHER DATA (ACTIVITY SHEET)
Procedure: Examine the weather Symbol Table (a). Then, draw a complete weather station map entry for Detroit, Michigan. Start by drawing a small circle. Use the Weather Station Model (C) as your guide. Convert the information in b to weather map symbols. The numbers or symbols on your drawing should be in the same position as they are shown in c. For example, the symbol for type of low clouds appears just below the circle, the symbol for type of high clouds appears left and above the circle and the air pressure reading appears directly right of the circle. The wind speed and direction symbol is the only symbol found in different locations around the circle, since it indicates the direction of the wind in relation to the circle (The direction of the wind in the example (c) is from the southwest.)
Repeat your procedure for Cape Canaveral and San Francisco
- What is the weather like in the three stations in b?
- Why is the change in air pressure important?
- What type of change in air pressure would you find at a station where a cold front recently passed through?
- Do you think the people at Kennedy Space Center would be happy with the weather indicated here if they had a Space Shuttle launched planned?