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What are the causes and effects of ENSO?

Sarah Bednarz, Texas AM University, From the On The Cutting Edge activity collection

This activity addresses naturally occurring climate change involving ENSO (El-Niño Southern Oscillation). In this activity, students play the role of a policy maker in Peru. First, they determine what sort of ENSO variation is occurring. Then, they must decide how to allocate Peru's resources to manage for possible weather-related problems.

Activity takes five to six 45-minute class periods.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Climate Literacy

This Activity builds on the following concepts of Climate Literacy.

Click a topic below for supporting information, teaching ideas, and sample activities.

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:C) Collecting information
Other materials addressing:
C) Collecting information.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.1 The Earth as a Physical System:A) Processes that shape the Earth
Other materials addressing:
A) Processes that shape the Earth.

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

    This lesson revolves around the driving question of "What are the causes and effects of ENSO?"
  • Students learn about some of the possible economic impacts of El Niño using Peru as an example.
  • Students understand the various policies that the Peruvian government could establish to mitigate the negative economic impacts from El Niño.
  • Students learn how to analyze satellite data as presented on a map.
  • Student hone oral presentation and group collaboration skills.

About the Content

  • Students learn about ENSO and then role play policy makers who must decide how to allocate Peru's resources to manage possible ENSO related problems.
  • Background information provided in the form of briefings, which are integrated into the activities at appropriate times. Students use the briefings to analyze data and write their responses in logs.
  • Weather-effects maps from NOAA and NASA allow analysis.
  • Comment from expert scientist: This activity seems fun for students and involves hands-on learning, at home and in the classroom. Students build conceptual understandings by reviewing the data and phenomenon from multiple sources and locations and have to apply what they have discovered. By including the methods of measurement used in examining ENSO phases, students get an opportunity to address the problem in a real world manner.

About the Pedagogy

  • Students use their learning about ENSO to take the role of a policy maker in Peru. Students determine how to allocate resources based on predicted weather and climate.
  • Lesson contains worksheet-type work along with the role playing game.
  • Lesson seems well-scaffolded and organized in a way to allow students to build and use their knowledge.
  • Assessment is likely based on the student presentations and worksheet, although this is vague in the lesson plan.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • All materials printable.
  • Color printing is necessary for the maps and briefing sheets.
  • Information on second and third investigations are not included.
  • All material available in download.

Related URLs These related sites were noted by our reviewers but have not been reviewed by CLEAN

Direct link for this activity is: http://www.missiongeography.org/III-3-1.pdf. The entire collection of mission geography is at: http://www.missiongeography.org/revcrit.htm#912
Entered the Collection: October 2012 Last Reviewed: August 2016

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