Many of the experiments in this unit ask students to think about weather systems or weather events and then consider how their observations might relate to larger climatic changes, so it is crucial that students should have a strong understanding of the difference between weather and climate. They should understand how greenhouse gases contribute to global climate and climate change and be able to identify some potential climate change impacts. Finally students should be familiar with the water cycle.
This lesson asks students to refer to the SMUBA (Seeing, Mapping, Understanding, Believing, Acting) Process of Innovation and to think about different types of models and how these models can help us understand climate change impacts. It is suggested that you complete the lesson THINK: The Process of Innovation to give your students a base understanding of the SMUBA Process, which includes a discussion of different models.
By the end of this lesson, students will be able to:
In this lesson, students will explore how climate change can impact the water cycle. As part of this exploration, students will gain a deeper understanding of the term “drought.” Drought can have many definitions depending upon whether you are using the term in a meteorological or more social context. In this lesson, drought is defined as periods of abnormal dryness in a particular area.
Climate change may cause both more extreme drought and more extreme flooding. This concept is difficult for students to grasp, and this lesson provides basic information about how increases in temperature affect the water cycle and precipitation patterns. You can increase the complexity of this lesson by including more meteorological concepts in Part 3 of this lesson, including discussions of high and low pressure systems, the movement of air masses, and the interaction between pressure, temperature, and moisture.
This unit requires students to explore the THINK app. If you do not have a class set of tablets, you can connect one tablet up to a project using an adapter, and have students work as a class to explore the app.
Climate change mitigation: Actions that reduce the amount of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere in order to reduce the effects of climate change
Climate change adaptation: Actions or strategies that help humans to cope with changes that will be caused by or have been caused by climate change
Scientific Modeling: Physical, mathematical, or theoretical representations of information that help make abstract concepts more concrete in a way that reveals connections and behaviors of a system.
Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Seeing
Part 3: Precipitation Changes
US Drought Monitor: A site from the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, providing drought indices to detect and measure droughts
Lesson developed by the New York Hall of Science
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