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Day 159: Station Models May 7, 2007

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In the first of three days we will spend on the online weather forecasting unit, students were introduced to the “station model” format of plotting weather data on a map.  They completed the (1.  Station Models) handout on how to decode the station plot as well as how to sketch their own based on a table of “current conditions” information.

For those who did not complete the page in class, the “Weather Tabs” link at the top of this page will get you to the list of all of the links you need to complete the handout.

Day 158: Fronts May 4, 2007

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fronts.jpgMeteorologists often discuss FRONTS on the weather forecast, but these do not just bring warm and cold air – they are much more complicated than that.

Today we drew diagrams of each of the four types of fronts, along with the clouds they form, the weather they bring, and the way they move:

  • Warm front
  • Cold front
  • Occluded front
  • Stationary front

Image source:  http://www.met.tamu.edu/class/Metr304/

Day 157: Air Masses May 3, 2007

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After completing discussions of temperature and heat last week, followed by moisture and humidity earlier this week, we combined these concepts into a discussion about air masses in class today. We labeled air masses as being either warm or cold, moist or dry.When these characteristics are fused, we end up with a total of four possible combinations:

  • Maritime tropical (mT): Moist, Warm
  • Continental tropical (cT): Dry, Warm
  • Maritime polar (mP): Moist, Cold
  • Continental polar (cP): Dry, Cold

We then discussed where each of these air masses would originate and how they’d move into Kansas. Be prepared to see a map of North America on a quiz or a test on which you will need to label the areas of origin for each of the four air masses described above. Also – bring that page back tomorrow so we can disect Fronts.

Image source:  http://www.met.tamu.edu/class/Metr304/

Day 156: Cloud Postcards May 2, 2007

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cloudstamp.jpgYesterday’s cloud type research was the setup for today’s project:  Creating four postcards- one representing each cloud type.  These postcards are to be designed as real postcards are – with an image on one side, some text and an address on the back.

Each postcard should include the following:

  • Image on the front
  • Text describing the cloud type with DETAILS on the left side of the back
  • Address on the right side of the back.

Additionally,  for two points of extra credit, add a real stamp to one of the cards with a valid name and address (other than your own) to one of the cards.

All four cards are due at the start of class on Friday.

Day 155: Cloud Research May 1, 2007

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The four major cloud types:  Stratus, Nimbus, Cumulus, and Cirrus were researched in class today.  Students completed a guided notes page detailing the following for each cloud type:

  • Latin root of the name
  • Physical description
  • Unique characteristics
  • Sketch

Every student should use (and cite) at least two sources for their cloud information.   If you can find additional information/resources on cloud types, you are invited to bring those to class tomorrow – we’ll then complete a project using this research.

Day 154: Water in the Sky April 30, 2007

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How do meteorologists quantify the amount of moisture in the air?  That was today’s big question.  We completed guided notes on several definitions dealing with moisture in the air:  Humidity, Dew Point, and Relative Humidity.  We also sketched a graph showing how warm air holds more water vapor.  Keep these guided notes for tomorrow, as we’ll continue with then later in the week.

Homework:  Complete the labeling of the Water Cycle diagram on the back of the notes page.  Due at the start of class tomorrow (no late passes!)

Day 153: Heating Lab – Day 2 April 28, 2007

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Analysis of yesterday’s lab data on the heating of three substances (water, dirt, and sand) was completed in class today. We first discussed graphing basics: When graping temperature vs. time, it is best to place Time on the x-axis and Temperature on the Y axis. Remember to scale your axes as to allow your graph to be as large as possible. You may also want to consider placing a break on the Y axis.

Following the graphing of the data, students worked in pairs to complete the lab analysis questions on the back of yesterday’s handout. This completed lab write-up with answers and graphs from each group member should be submitted as a complete packet (don’t turn it in if you’re missing any parts!) and is due on Monday at the start of class.

Day 152: Egg Quiz; Lab Completion April 27, 2007

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Today’s goal was to assess the understanding of the first few days of this meteorology unit. We completed an electronic vote quiz of 10 questions and grades were updated online immediately following the quiz.

Remember, quizzes are worth 15% of your overall grade – a small fraction of the total. The main goal of a quiz is for you, the student, to assess your understanding of the material as we are progressing through the unit. The larger assessment that will more strongly impact your grade will come with the unit-end test. Additionally, the assignments and labs we do between now and the end of the year have the largest overall impact on your grade, so keep working hard right through the end!

Following the vote quiz, students had a few minutes to collaborate with their lab groups and map out the completion of their lab write-up. Remember, all lab write-ups are due at the start of class on Monday!

Day 151: Heating of the Earth April 25, 2007

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Today we began the Heating of the Earth lab. In this lab, students observed/recorded the temperatures of three different substances subjected to heat from a lamp: dirt, sand, and water. Today’s goal was to record data every minute for 20 minutes. This information will be interpreted in tomorrow’s Part II of the lab – data analysis.

All lab groups should have turned in their lab handout today in class and it will be returned to them tomorrow to complete Part II.  There is no homework tonight.

Day 150: Why Does the Wind Blow? April 24, 2007

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What forces cause the wind to blow?  In class today, we discussed and took notes on the processes at work in the Earth’s atmosphere:

  1. The Earth is heated unevenly.  Warm air is less dense and rises.
  2. Uneven heating causes differences in pressure:  Some areas are higher pressure, some are lower.
  3. The atmosphere wants to be in balance
  4. This desire for balance causes air to move
  5. Air moves from where there is too much (H) to where there is too little (L)
  6. Moving air = wind!

We then explored more about how the Earth’s rotation affects weather:  The Coriolis Effect.  Tomorrow we’ll complete a lab on how the Earth’s surface heats differentially.