Weather & Climate for Teachers of Grades K-8
This comprehensive professional development course for grades K–8 science teachers provides all the necessary ingredients for building a scientific way of thinking in teachers and students, focusing on science content, inquiry, and literacy.
Session 1: Sunlight
Sunlight is the primary source of energy for all of the Earth’s weather. This session is designed to help teachers understand how sunlight strikes the Earth over the course of a year, explain the causes of observable seasonal changes, explore common ideas students and teachers have about sunlight and seasons, and consider the tradeoffs of various models for helping students understand seasons.
Session 2: Earth's Temperature
The factors that determine Earth’s temperature are complex. The Poles are not cold simply because they are covered in snow, nor is the Equator warm because it’s closer to the Sun. This session is about analyzing data, and using evidence and scientific reasoning to explain the patterns and anomalies seen in Earth’s temperature.
Session 3: Weather Prediction
If you spend any time watching TV weather forecasts, it becomes pretty clear just how hard it is to predict weather. This session is about understanding the multiple facets of weather prediction and putting them into practice. Teachers will explore the geophysics of what happens with air and water in the atmosphere, and will uncover common misconceptions that students have about air masses, fronts, and pressure centers.
Session 4: Oceans
It’s one thing to realize that oceans have significant effects on global weather and climate. It’s another thing to know what those effects are, and an even more complex thing to understand the mechanism of how those effects work. This session gives teachers an opportunity to explore how land and water warm and cool, how heat energy transfers between land and water, how air temperature effects air pressure, and what occurs as a result of air pressure differences.
Session 5: Climate
This session is about understanding the mechanics of climate change, of how Earth’s climate is regulated, and how it changes. It explores the nuances of the greenhouse effect, including the different types of light and matter involved and the resulting effects on Earth’s temperature. In addition, this session explores how the mechanism for ozone depletion is very different from the mechanism for the greenhouse effect and how they produce different results.
WEATHER & CLIMATE OVERVIEW (PDF)
Download a printable version of the session-by-session course overview.