Inquiring about Earth’s Weather
Big Idea : Weather is a snap-shot description of Earth’s atmospheric conditions at a particular location and at a particular time that is characterized by temperature, humidity, cloud cover, precipitation, barometric pressure, and wind speed.
Goal : To complete several scientific inquires about changing weather conditions at various locations.
Computer Setup and/or Materials Needed : Internet access to http://www.wunderground.com/history/ ( yes, you need the last slash )
Phase I: Exploration
1. In the Location box, enter in your current location for today and complete the first blank column of the table below. Then, change the date to yesterday and then one year ago today and complete the remaining two columns.
ONE YEAR AGO TODAY
Maximum Temperature ( using ° F )
Minimum Temperature ( using ° F )
Average Humidity ( using %)
Day’s Precipitation ( using inches )
Barometric (or Sea Level) Pressure *
Wind Speed ( mph )
* ( using inches Hg )
2. For YESTERDAY, make a few rough sketches of how the temperature, barometric pressure, and wind speed have changed throughout that day. Be sure to clearly label the vertical axis.
6 p m
6 p m
6 p m
6 am WIND SPEED
3. Create a written description of today’s weather and how it is different than yesterday’s weather using several complete sentences . Be sure to include temperature humidity, precipitation, pressure, and wind speed.
Phase II – Does the Evidence Match a Given Conclusion?
If a student proposed a generalization that “ the temperature here today is about the same as it was at this same location on this same date, but back in the year you were born” would you agree, disagree with the generalization based on evidence? Explain your reasoning and provide specific evidence either from the above questions or from any new evidence you yourself generate using this web site.
Phase III – What Conclusions Can You Draw From This Evidence?
Wind is caused when air rapidly moves from one place to another. What conclusions and generalizations can you make from the following data collected by a student in terms of WHAT TIME OF YEAR IS IT THE MOST WINDY IN LARAMIE, WYOMING ? Explain your reasoning and provide specific evidence from data, with sketches if necessary, to support your reasoning .
Average Wind Speed (mph) Wind
Evidence-based Conclusion :
Phase IV – What Evidence Do You Need To Pursue?
Imagine your team has been assigned the task of designing a scientific observation plan for determining where to build windmills for electricity. Describe precisely what evidence you would need to collect in order to answer the research question of, “ Where is it windiest in my state?”
Create a detailed, step-by-step description of evidence that needs to be collected and a complete explanation of how this could be done—not just “ look and see where it is windiest,” but exactly what would someone need to do, step-by-step, to accomplish this. You might include a table and sketches-the goal is to be precise and detailed enough that someone else could follow your procedure.
Phase V – Formulate a Question, Pursue Evidence, and Justify Your Conclusion
Your task is design an answerable research question, propose a plan to pursue evidence, collect data, and create an evidence-based conclusion about an aspect which you have not completed before.
Research Report :
1) Specific Research Question:
2) Step-by-Step Procedure to Collect Evidence:
3) Data Table and/or Results:
4) Evidence-based Conclusion Statement:
Phase VI – Summary
Create a 50-word summary, in your own words, that describes what you have learned and what evidence you have to justify this notion. Feel free to create and label sketches to illustrate your response.