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Table of Contents Using Real-Time Data Lesson Plans Implementation Assistance
 
Lesson 2: Use the Internet to observe Weather
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Overview
Students will record today's weather for their own location and the weather from another location using the Internet and compare their findings with their own measurements for their city. This activity serves two purposes: to orient the students to the weather web site so they know how to enter a city, read and record the weather information, and access archived data for previous days and to introduce them to some of the graphs used to compare and analyze weather data.

Objectives
Students will be able to:
  • collect data about weather using the Internet;
  • compare weather data with student-built tools to data from the Internet;
  • interpret information on a chart;
  • understand that weather varies with location; &
  • compare and contrast weather in their location with the weather in another location.

Time
One 45 minute class period. This activity can also be combined with the previous activity if time is limited or computer / Internet access is limited (see notes on Combining Activities 1 & 2 from the previous activity).

Materials
  • Weather Learning Log or Student Worksheet.
  • Weather instruments.
  • Computer with Internet access.

Teacher Preparation
  • LIMITED ACCESS: If technology resources are limited, you can access the weather web site previously and print the weather data or display the weather web site using a projector or television screen.
  • GRAPHING: Students will be creating three graphs for this lesson. If you are new or not familiar with graphing, please review the Graphing Tips.
  • Weather related-topics:

Procedure


Part 1: Data Tables
If you are using the Weather Learning Log, students should make the tables exactly as they appear in the activity. If you are using the Student Worksheet, they can simply record their measurements in the tables. As an optional activity, you can make a wall-sized table to record and share the data.

Part 2: Use the Internet to observe weather

  1. Class Instruments: As in the previous activity, it is recommend to arrange the students in teams with specific tasks assuring that each team member has a role.
  2. Before students begin to take measurements, you should discuss how to make entries in the weather log using the table. For example, students in each group can take turns making entries, but all should go outside and participate in the data collection.
    • Students should record the time of day that they are taking the current measurements in the "Time Conditions last updated" cell under Class Instruments.
    • IMPORTANT: Above all, emphasis should be placed on making careful observations and recording them accurately.
  3. Your City / Town: The first thing you should do before students access the Weather Underground web site is log on to the Internet and review the web pages with the students. You should begin by explaining how to access the web page, how to enter a city's name in the "Fast Forecast" box in the upper left hand corner, how to read the weather data under the "Current Conditions" table, and how to access the archived weather data by scrolling down to "Historical" below the current conditions and selecting the date, and then clicking on "GO". You should also consider the following.
    • Tell the students that they will see several pieces of data reported, but that, for now, they will only look at the items in their table.
    • NOTE: if the exact location is not in the database, select the next closest city or town.
    • Explain that the last update refers to the last time the information was reported.
    • Explain that air pressure is measured in hPa, also known as millibars (mb). Commonly observed values at sea level vary between 970 mb and 1040 mb however the average is 1013 (at sea level). Sometimes, atmospheric pressure is also quoted in inches of mercury (in Hg). This is an older form of measurement related to measuring pressure using a mercury barometer. To convert the two terms, 1 in Hg is equal to 33.86 mb.
  4. Barrow, AK: Students should repeat the steps above however for Barrow, AK.
    • NOTE: Many factors may be different between your city / town and Barrow, AK such as the time zone, latitude, etc. Students will be asked later in this activity to provide some reasons that might account for the different weather readings.

Part 3: Analyze the Data
The purpose of this section is to introduce students to the charts and graphs meteorologists use to compare and analyze weather data and how to analyze real-time weather data from the internet. Students will create and compare two bar graphs and one line graph comparing the temperature for the last 7 days for their city and Barrow, AK. Barrow was selected since your city / town will most likely have current weather conditions that are significantly different however you are free to select a different or additional city if you would like.

  1. Class Instruments vs. the Internet: Students will create a bar graph comparing the temperature collected with the class instruments with the data from the Internet for their city / town. The purpose of this is so that they will both value the need to use accurate weather instruments when taking measurements and understand how the web site and meteorologists determine the weather data found on the page.
    • Encourage the students to create a formula to convert units from the barometer and thermometer they created to standardized units, mb and șC respectively.
  2. Your location vs. Barrow, AK: Students will create a bar graph and answer questions comparing and contrasting your city with the weather data from Barrow, AK.
    • Several reasons that might account for differences in weather and temperature include different geographic locations of both cities (Barrow is located at 71° N, 157° W), the time difference between your city / town and Barron since these are real time weather readings, the last time the weather data was updated to the web page, etc.
  3. Temperature for the last seven days: Students will learn how to access archived data from the weather web site and compare the two cities using a line graph to look for trends and/or relationships.

Homework (optional):
The homework questions will get the students thinking about how the weather, specifically temperature, is different in other parts of the world. It is highly recommend that students complete this prior to beginning the next activity. 

Assessment
Make each student or cooperative group responsible for their answers.

Student Activity


NOTE: The following instructions also appear in Student Activities.
Notebook Top Left Corner  Activity 2: Use the Internet to observe Weather Notebook Top Right Corner
  Part 1: Data Tables
Make the following two tables in your Weather Learning Log to record your weather data:

  1. Current Conditions
  Class Instruments Internet Barrow, AK
Latitude, Longitude:

NA

   
Time Conditions last updated:      
Temperature: șC șC șC
Sky Conditions:      
Wind:      
Wind Direction:      
Wind Speed:      
Precipitation Type:      
Precipitation Amount: mm mm mm
Air Pressure: units mb mb
  1. Temperature for the last seven days
  7 days ago 6 days ago 5 days ago 4 days ago 3 days ago 2 days ago Yesterday
Your City șC șC șC șC șC șC șC
Barrow, AK șC șC șC șC șC șC șC

Part 2: Use the Internet to observe weather
  1. Class Instruments: Record your measurements in the column marked "Class Instruments" using the weather instruments you made in the previous activity.
    NOTE: If you are combining Activities 1 and 2, you should record your measurements as you build each of the instruments.
     
  2. Your City / Town
    1. Go to the Weather Underground site.
    2. Enter the name of your city in the "Fast Forecast" box which is in the upper left hand corner and click the return button on your keyboard. If the exact location is not in the database then select the next closest city or town.
    3. Locate the latitude and longitude on the right-hand side of the screen in the navy blue bar and write it in the "Current Conditions" data table.
    4. Locate the current weather conditions in the center of the page and write the time the conditions were last updated, the current temperature, wind, air pressure, etc. in the "Current Conditions" data table.
    5. Scroll down to "Historical" below the current conditions and select the date for yesterday and then click on "GO".
    6. Write the "Mean Temperature" in the corresponding column for your city / town (i.e. yesterday) in the Temperature for the last seven days Data Table.
    7. Click the "Previous Day" link and write the mean temperature in the 2 days ago column.
    8. Repeat until you complete for the seven days.
    9. After you've entered the data, click the back button to return to this page.
       
  3. Barrow, AK
    1. Return to the Weather Underground site and enter Barrow, AK in the "Fast Forecast" window.
    2. Repeat the steps above and enter the corresponding information into both Data tables.
    3. After you've entered the data, click the back button to return to this page.

Part 3: Analyze the Data
  1. Class Instruments vs. the Internet: Compare and contrast the weather you collected for your city with the data from the Internet for your city.
    1. Create a bar graph comparing the temperature you collected with the class instruments with the data from the Internet for your city / town (see example).
    2. Is your temperature the same as reported on the web site? If not, can you think of any reasons why they're not the same?
    3. Will the temperature be the same tonight? tomorrow? in one week? in one month? Why or why not?
    4. Why is it important to use standardized terminology for sky conditions? Are your sky conditions the same as reported on the web site? If not, can you think of any reasons why they're not the same?
    5. Does your wind data (direction and speed) match the data from the web? If not, can you think of any reasons why they're not the same?
    6. For air pressure, you used general units while the Internet posted the measurement in mb. How could you correlate the two?
    7. What are some of the other items listed on the weather web page? What do they measure?
       
  2. Your location vs. Barrow, AK: Compare and contrast your city with the weather data from Barrow, AK.
    1. Was the weather similar or different? Describe the similarities and differences.
    2. Create a bar graph comparing the current temperatures in Barrow, AK with your city.
    3. Were the temperature similar or different in both cities?
    4. What reason (s) do you think might account for the similarities or differences?
      (Hint: there are several)
       
  3. Temperature for the last seven days: Analyze the changes in temperature for the last week and compare the two cities.
    1. Draw one graph containing two line graphs comparing the temperature from your city and Barrow, AK for the last seven days over Time (see example). Label the x-axis using each of the different dates starting with 7 days ago to the left and ending with today's date to the right and the y-axis in șC.
      NOTE: Don't forget to label each of the lines to distinguish between the two graphs.
    2. For your city, did the temperature go up, down, or stay the same over the past week?
    3. For Barrow, AK, did the temperature go up, down, or stay the same over the past week?
    4. How did the two cities compare?

Homework (optional):
Do you think weather is the same all over the world? Choose a city in another country where a family member or friend lives and write a short narrative about what you think the weather is like there. In your paragraph, try to answer the following questions:
  • Do you think the temperature in your relative's town will be warmer or colder then in your own? Why?
  • How would this affect their lives? For example, their house, clothes, etc.
  • What type of precipitation might you expect? Why?
  • Will the wind speed be higher or lower? Why?

 

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