Course 3: Life

Life

Lesson 7 – Baby Is It Cold Outside? Weather Forecasting

Grade Level

Content Standards for 8th

Subjects Physical Science, Earth Science
Duration Preparation:    20 min

Activity:  4 hours class time

Setting Classroom with internet access and outdoor access

Objectives:

In this lesson students will

  1. Describe how weather forecasting has evolved from the observation of patterns to modern forecasting equipment.
  2. Explain how engineering advancements in weather forecasting improve the quality of people’s lives around the world.
  3. List several examples of technology behind modern forecasting equipment (weather balloons, satellites and weather radars).
  4. Describe how disturbed GPS signals are analyzed in order to understand the type of weather they passed through.
  5. Compare actual results to expected results to find out reasons for any differences.
  6. Describe how GPS satellites are used for more than just navigation, specifically for natural disasters and other atmospheric phenomena.

Activity Summary

Students consider how weather forecasting plays an important part in their daily lives and the role of GPS in weather forecasting. They learn about the history of weather forecasting — from old weather proverbs to modern forecasting equipment — and how improvements in weather technology have saved lives by providing advance warning of natural hazards.

Activities will include building a weather station and simulating message distortions to represent information sent from GPS satellites as they pass through different atmospheric conditions and reach other satellites.

Materials

  • Lesson 7 Brief (Start Here) – click to download
  • PowerPoint Presentation – click to download
  • Video: STEM stories NOAA’s Pam Henselman – click this link to watch 
  • Weather Forecasting Worksheet (one per student) – click to download
  • Weather Station Worksheet (one per team) – click to download
  • Forecasting w/ Clouds Reference Sheet (one per team) – click to download
  • One large box or crate per team as the team’s weather station tool kit
  • 2 Index Cards per Student
  • Weather Tool #1: Wind Vane

    • Wind Vane Worksheet –  click to download
    • Cardstock
    • straight pen
    • pencil with eraser
    • scissors
    • hot glue
    • pencils and markers
    • plastic straw
    • compass
    • small piece of modeling clay
    • piece of cardboard
  • Weather Tool #2: Barometer

    • Barometer Worksheet  – click to download
    • 2-liter plastic bottle
    • food coloring
    • clear plastic cup
    • water
    • marker
  • Weather Tool #3: Thermometer

    • Thermometer Worksheet – click to download
    • maximum/ minimum thermometer
    • tape
    • climatology data for your area
  • Weather Tool #4: Rain Gauge

    • Rain Gauge Worksheet – click to download
    • wide glass
    • masking tape
    • straight, thin jar (a graduated cylinder works best)
    • water
    • ruler


Lesson 8 – Environmental Conservation: Saving Mother Nature 

Grade Level Content Standards for 6-8th
Subjects Physical Science, Earth Science
Duration Preparation:    20 min                         

Activity:  10 Hours

Setting Classroom with internet

Objectives:

In this lesson students will

  1. Be able to identify the types of environmental challenges that exist in the world
  2. Be able to explain and give examples of how land use and water quality impacts the ecosystem
  3. Be able to list ways that soil erosion can be minimized in the watershed
  4. Be able to identify 4 best management practices to reduce water pollution
  5. Be able to explain the water quality requirements for healthy oyster populations
  6. Be able to suggest 3 management practices that can be used to improve water quality for oyster growth and reproduction
  7. Be able to describe how natural seasonal climate changes as well as human activities may affect the rainforest
  8. Build upon previous lessons to utilize models demonstrating satellite remote sensing used to observe and measure plants

Activity Summary

This is an overview of environmental challenges in the world and come of the conservation efforts ongoing to maintain a positive carbon footprint and reverse damages to the environment due to human inattention.  The lesson provides an overview of the inter-related activities within the environment and the issues facing the human race and the Earth today.  The lesson includes a lot of data review, online investigation and analysis.

Materials



Lesson 9 – Feed the World! Agriculture and Precision Farming

Grade Level Content Standards for 8th
Subjects Life Science, Earth Science, Technology
Duration Preparation:    10 min                         

Activity:  4 hours of class time

Setting Classroom with internet

Objectives:

In this lesson students will

  1. Be able to explain what is “Precision Agriculture” and why the world needs it.
  2. List common applications of GPS and GIS technologies used to enable better farming results.
  3. Outline the ways in which Differential GPS is are implemented in production agriculture
  4. Be able to discuss potential careers and applications of precision farming throughout the United States

Activity Summary

This hands-on lesson teaches students how precision agriculture uses geographic information systems (GIS) to help farmers and manufacturers make smart, efficient, and responsible decisions about how and when they plant, grow, irrigate, harvest and transport crops.

Materials

  • Lesson 9 Brief (Start Here) – click to download
  • PowerPoint Presentation – click to download
  • Video: Fields of the Future – click to watch
  • Video: Farming is High-Tech! – click to watch
  • Video: GPS/GIS Technology: Training & Careers –click to watch
  • Video: Precision Farming in the Family –  click to watch
  • GPS Impact Worksheet – click to download
  • Increasing Production w/ Precision… Student Handout – click to download
  • Increasing Production w/ Precision… Teacher Key – click to download
  • Calculators
  • Materials for each lab group
    • Water bottle
    • 1 styrofoam cup
    • 3 plastic cups
    • Variety of straws (jumbo, regular, coffee)
    • Various art supplies: scissors, tape, rubber bands, paper clips, rulers