Cindy Shellito, University of Northern Colorado, InTeGrate, SERC
Activity takes about 30-60 minutes.Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»
See how this Activity supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
High School: 2 Cross Cutting Concepts, 2 Science and Engineering Practices
About Teaching Climate Literacy
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2.4 Water stores and transfers energy.
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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy |
- This activity is flexible in how it is taught. For example the jigsaw method can be used or students can work individually. It can be taught entirely in class or parts can be assigned for homework.
- This is part of a sequence of activities in an InTeGrate module on climate change. It follows a similar activity that focuses on the tropical Pacific http://serc.carleton.edu/integrate/teaching_materials/climate_change/casestudy2-1.html
- The next step in the sequence examines a related case study that explore El Niño and La Niña. http://serc.carleton.edu/integrate/teaching_materials/climate_change/unit3.html
- Activity overview includes teaching tips.
About the Science
- Activity addresses climate variability of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NOA) and the cause-effect relationship between North Atlantic pressure anomalies and precipitation on the Iberian Peninsula.
- These topics help students learn how climate in one location can be affected by distant events.
- Comments from expert scientist:
Scientific strengths are:
- The focus on positive and negative anomalies
- Connecting the difference between pressure systems and precipitation (see comments below)
- Interpretation of lat/longs and scales
- Great lead-in into other subjects about weather patterns (ENSO)
A few suggestions:
- I know it might sound obvious, but when I taught this subject to upper-division science undergraduates, they had the hardest time understanding that pressure was atmospheric pressure and not water pressure... so that should be emphasized
- I'd love to know what time period the long term mean is derived from
- This is a GREAT connecting question: 12) Hypothesize a physical mechanism that might explain a connection between anomalous pressure and precipitation. How does pressure affect precipitation?
- However, I think its really tough and unless the students have a meteorological background they will need a pre-question about precipitation patterns from high and low pressure systems (low pressure --> air rises --> condenses --> precipitation) a visual would be very helpful, too:
- Note that the link on the first slide of the PowerPoint does not work (http://nomad3.ncep.noaa.gov/ncep_data/index.html)
About the Pedagogy
- Activity walks students through a data set depicting climate variability in the North Atlantic associated with the North Atlantic Oscillation (NOA). Students examine anomalies of precipitation and pressure over a 10-year period, create a chart showing the movement of these anomalies over this time period, and answer questions about the relationship between North Atlantic pressure anomalies and precipitation on the Iberian Peninsula.
- Students gain practice at reading contour plots, finding relationships in data, working in small groups, and expressing their findings in written or oral format.
- A student guide that walks students through the data displays is well structured and easy to follow. An answer "sheet" is provided for the instructor.
- Assessment ideas are included.
- This resource engages students in using scientific data.
See other data-rich activities
Next Generation Science Standards See how this Activity supports:
Cross Cutting Concepts: 2
HS-C1.1:Different patterns may be observed at each of the scales at which a system is studied and can provide evidence for causality in explanations of phenomena
HS-C2.1:Empirical evidence is required to differentiate between cause and correlation and make claims about specific causes and effects.
Science and Engineering Practices: 2
HS-P4.1:Analyze data using tools, technologies, and/or models (e.g., computational, mathematical) in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims or determine an optimal design solution.
HS-P6.2:Construct and revise an explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained from a variety of sources (including students’ own investigations, models, theories, simulations, peer review) and the assumption that theories and laws that describe the natural world operate today as they did in the past and will continue to do so in the future.