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Climate Around the World
http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/complexsystems/activities/climate_around_the_world.html

Cindy Shellito, SERC Cutting Edge

This activity introduces students to global climate patterns by having each student collect information about the climate in a particular region of the globe. After collecting information, students share data through posters in class and consider factors that lead to differences in climate in different parts of the world. Finally, students synthesize the information to see how climate varies around the world.

Activity takes about one to two 50-minute class periods. Computer access is needed for each student team.

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Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Earth’s climate is influenced by interactions involving the Sun, ocean, atmosphere, clouds, ice, land, and life. Climate varies by region as a result of local differences in these interactions.
About Teaching Principle 2
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Climate is determined by the long-term pattern of temperature and precipitation averages and extremes at a location. Climate descriptions can refer to areas that are local, regional, or global in extent. Climate can be described for different time intervals, such as decades, years, seasons, months, or specific dates of the year.
About Teaching Principle 4
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Climate is not the same thing as weather. Weather is the minute-by-minute variable condition of the atmosphere on a local scale. Climate is a conceptual description of an area’s average weather conditions and the extent to which those conditions vary over long time intervals.
About Teaching Principle 4
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The components and processes of Earth’s climate system are subject to the same physical laws as the rest of the Universe. Therefore, the behavior of the climate system can be understood and predicted through careful, systematic study.
About Teaching Principle 5
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Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:G) Drawing conclusions and developing explanations
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G) Drawing conclusions and developing explanations.
1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:C) Collecting information
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C) Collecting information.
1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:E) Organizing information
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E) Organizing information.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.1 The Earth as a Physical System:A) Processes that shape the Earth
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A) Processes that shape the Earth.

Benchmarks for Science Literacy
Learn more about the Benchmarks

Science is based on the assumption that the universe is a vast single system in which the basic rules are everywhere the same and that the things and events in the universe occur in consistent patterns that are comprehensible through careful, systematic study.
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d
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The earth has a variety of climates, defined by average temperature, precipitation, humidity, air pressure, and wind, over time in a particular place.
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Climatic conditions result from latitude, altitude, and from the position of mountain ranges, oceans, and lakes. Dynamic processes such as cloud formation, ocean currents, and atmospheric circulation patterns influence climates as well.
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Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • The synthesis discussion of the class posters could be an opportunity to launch into a discussion of Hadley circulation, ocean currents, semi-permanent highs and lows, etc.
  • Scientist's comment: Students will need some guidance to understand the reliability of different websites for data/information. The suggested starter sites are good but students could go off into unreliable sites. Wikipedia is okay to use but not necessarily reliable and it doesn't really expose students to scientific sources. For example, for a given country, a good place to start would be the country's meteorological organization as opposed to Wikipedia. Activity encourages students to do research but doesn't necessarily help them discriminate the reliability of sources.

About the Science

  • Activity addresses the difference between weather and climate.
  • Best for an educator who is proficient in climate science. The educator needs to have a confident grasp of background knowledge to make this lesson cohesive.

About the Pedagogy

  • Students learn about temperature ranges, precipitation, and extreme weather events for their region and will understand that regional variations in temperature and precipitation exist.
  • Activity gets students to do their own research and thus provides exposure to research.
  • Moves from individual to team/small group to class/large group work.
  • Lesson is well organized, especially the student handout.
  • Activity is more complex than it first appears; many layers of instruction and content knowledge can be added.
  • Multi-part assignment, so teacher needs to pay attention to the timeline and sequence of steps.
  • Includes links to assessment techniques.
  • Includes good educator's notes.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • All materials are provided.

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