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The Difference Between Weather and Climate
http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/ecb10.sci.ess.watcyc.weather/

Wisconsin Educational Communications Board, Teachers' Domain

This video features University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher John Magnuson, who studies the ecology of freshwater systems. He explains the difference between weather and climate using data on ice cover from Lake Mendota in Madison, WI. Analysis of the data indicates a long-term trend that can be connected to climate change.

Video length: 2:44 minutes.

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Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

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
Other materials addressing 4a
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
Other materials addressing 4b
Environmental observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system. From the bottom of the ocean to the surface of the Sun, instruments on weather stations, buoys, satellites, and other platforms collect climate data. To learn about past climates, scientists use natural records, such as tree rings, ice cores, and sedimentary layers. Historical observations, such as native knowledge and personal journals, also document past climate change.
About Teaching Principle 5
Other materials addressing 5b

Benchmarks for Science Literacy
Learn more about the Benchmarks

Scientific investigations usually involve the collection of relevant data, the use of logical reasoning, and the application of imagination in devising hypotheses and explanations to make sense of the collected data.
Explore the map of concepts related to this benchmark
The earth has a variety of climates, defined by average temperature, precipitation, humidity, air pressure, and wind, over time in a particular place.
Explore the map of concepts related to this benchmark

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 video focuses on Wisconsin. The teacher should consider incorporating local examples into their lesson that uses the video.
  • Citizen science projects like Project Budburst or Pikanet or CoCORAHS are very good examples of how students can get involved in doing research and contribute actual data to databases like those referred to in the video.

About the Science

  • Video combines footage of actual measurements, instruments, interviews, data, results and some landscape shots.
  • Comments from expert scientist: Uses real data to convey the message–I think that the graph that shows the variation in ice cover with the trend is helpful and can be a quite powerful visual aid.
  • The provided teaching tips are great.
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

About the Pedagogy

  • Examples that are used to illustrate the difference between climate and weather are very intuitive.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Resolution of the video is very low. It would be difficult to use effectively showing to an entire class. Students should view individually.

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