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Earth Systems

Standard VI, Objective 6

Title: Weather Watchers

Description: Students will use weather instruments and the Internet to monitor the
weather for a week. They will make graphs that compare weather factors analyze their
relationships.

Time Needed: 45 minutes the first day, 10 minutes each day for 3 more days and 45
minutes the last day.

Materials: Cloud chamber or clear 2 liter plastic bottle, thermometer, barometer, sling
psychrometer, cloud chart, wind meter, student sheet (see below)

Procedures: (first-make sure the weather pattern is changeable during the week
you are going to do this. 5 days of high pressure will be very boring, choose a
week with a storm coming in)

1. As a “hook” activity, show students a cloud chamber and make a cloud. Follow the
directions if you have a commercially produced one or you can make one using a two or
three-liter clear pop bottle. Put a tablespoon of water in it, place the cap on and shake it
to thoroughly saturate the air in the bottle. Light a small candle (like a birthday candle)
and place it in the mouth of the bottle until it goes out and smokes. Cap the bottle
tightly and squeeze and release it several times. It may take some practice but if you
watch carefully, a “cloud” will form. This could be a student activity also.
2. Explain to students that energy is used to evaporate the water in the atmosphere,
convection allows it to rise and expansion in the upper atmosphere cools the air,
condensing the water. The website in #4 has a nice description of this process.
3. Explain the use of each weather instrument. The thermometer should be familiar but
the sling psychrometer and barometer may take some explanation. A neat site for the
psychrometer is located at:
http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/slc/projects/wxcalc/rhTdFromWetBulb.php
It will take the dry bulb, web bulb and air pressure readings and tell you the relative
humidity.
4. Explain that students will be checking the cloud type and percentage of the sky
covered. Since the percentage is what they will graph, it is quite important. An online
skychart is located at:

http://www.srh.noaa.gov/srh/jetstream/synoptic/clouds.htm#skywatcher

5. The data for any of the equipment you are missing can be easily accessed from the
Internet on a site like:

http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/slc/
6. On the first day, show the students how to use the instruments and then take them
outside in groups that collect one of the specific weather data points, on the following
days, send only enough to take the data.
7. Share the information each day as students collect it. You may wish to have the IMC
in your school available for your students to access a computer if you do not have a
classroom computer they can use. You can also project the website on a projector if
you have access to one.
8. Do the graphing and analysis on the last day. Student may need help understanding
a direct and inverse relationship. There are several relationships you may see
depending on the weather you had for your week.
Student Sheet Name________________________________
Period _____

Title: Weather Watchers

Introduction: Weather is often a topic of conversation. We want to know what to wear,


where we can go and what we can do when we get there. Imagine taking a ski trip in
summer or a trip to the amusement park in winter. Many scientists are studying the
long-term weather patterns that we call climate. In this activity, you will monitor the
short-term changes that we call weather. You will compare different weather factors
such as temperature and humidity and see if you can discover how they are related.

Materials:

Procedures:
1. Listen carefully as your teacher describes how each weather instrument will be used
and what it measures. Fill in the “materials” as you go. You may be chosen to collect
this data.
2. Write down the data collected by your class each day of this activity. Make a
forecast for the next day.
3. Graph the data and look for patterns and relationships.
4. Answer the analysis questions using the graphs you create.

Data:

Weather Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5


Factor

Air Pressure

Temperature
(degrees C)

Wind Speed
(mph)

Relative
Humidity %
Cloud Cover
(% sky
covered)

Forecast
Graphs Air pressure vs. Temperature

Day Day Day Day Day


1 2 3 4 5
Cloud
Cover
Temperature vs. Cloud Cover
100%

80%

60%

40%

20%

0
Day Day Day Day Day
1 2 3 4 5
Cloud
Cover
Air pressure vs. cloud cover
100%

80%

60%

40%

20%

0%
Day Day Day Day Day
1 2 3 4 5

Relative
Temperature vs. Relative Humidity Humidity
100%

80%

60%

40%

20%

0%

Day Day Day Day Day


1 2 3 4 5
Analysis:

1. How are air pressure and temperature related? (use your graph)

2. Why might they have this relationship?

3. How are temperature and cloud cover related?

4. Why might this be so?

5. How are air pressure and cloud cover related?

6. Why might this be so?

7. How are temperature and relative humidity related?

8. Why might this be so?

9. What day had the largest change in weather factors?

10. What happened that day?

11. If air pressure were rising, what would you expect temperature and cloud cover to
do?

12. If air pressure were falling, what would you expect temperature and cloud cover to
do?

13. Which weather factor seems to give the best prediction of what weather will be
coming?
Conclusion: