Severe Weather Patterns Unit
Research a Severe Weather Pattern of Interest
- Grade level: Upper elementary and middle school.
- Subject Area: Science, Language Arts
Students select a severe weather pattern of interest and research these patterns to collect data for a report they will write in the next lesson. Have students pick one of the following severe weather patterns to study using printed or on-line resources:
- Lightening, Hail, and Thunderstorms
- Use the Internet to research a severe weather pattern of interest.
- Collect data on several key components of their severe weather pattern and address the following questions:
- Under what conditions does the severe pattern form?
- Where is it most likely to occur (geographically)?
how do meteorologists predict its formation?
- What steps can be taken to prepare for the weather and provide safety for people?
- How do people who have lived through the pattern describe the experience?
- Identify possible damage from their severe weather pattern.
Materials and Resources
In developing our lessons and activities, we made some
assumptions about the hardware
and software that would be available in the classroom for teachers who visit the
LETSNet Website. We assume that teachers using our Internet-based lessons or
activities have a computer
(PC or Macintosh) with the necessary hardware components (mouse, keyboard, and
monitor) as well as software (operating system, TCP/IP software, networking or
software, e-mail and a World Wide Web client program, preferably Netscape, but
Mosaic or Lynx). In the section below, we specify any "special"
requirements for a lesson or activity (in addition to those described above)
and the level of Internet access required to do the activity.
Special hardware requirements: none.
Special software requirements: none.
Internet access: High-speed (greater than 1 MBPS via network).
Before beginning, collect printed materials on weather and meteorology or visit specific Websites (see Web Resources below) designed for students and have these sites available when students study their severe weather patterns. The Internet provides an excellent set of resources on severe weather patterns and allows students to conduct their own research on topics of interest to them.
For those students who are interested in more research and discovery about weather patterns, there are a variety of useful shareware programs available for students. These "free" software programs can be downloaded and run by students as they study specific weather phenomona and learn about weather modeling. The following programs are available from the University of Michigan Weather Underground [http://cirrus.sprl.umich.edu/wxnet/software.html] download site:
- Students visit the following appropriate Websites, depending on their severe weather pattern of interest.
- As students are investigating their severe weather patterns, ask them to identify and document steps that can be taken in the case of an actual weather emergency. Also ask them to consider how a severe weather pattern might affect the school and surrounding community.
Another useful set of freeware are available at the El Paso National Weather Service Office [http://nwselp.epcc.edu/elp/wxcalc.html] under their Weather Calculator site.
- Tracking The Eye v1.7 - a Windows application for tracking severe storms. With features like toolbars, status bars, graphs, full color printing, print previewing and context sensitive help, 'Tracking The Eye' can instantly determine the distance between any city on the eastern seaboard and the storm it is tracking. Plots map, storm and coordinates on any printer. Imports ASCII data from other storm trackers. Animation, Sounds, VCR style controls, statistical graph and storm warning flags.
- StormTracker Demo (450K) - a lightning detection and analysis program for DOS PCs.
- Quik-Sky v4.6 (536K) - a fun and and easy-to-use weather mapping application. Like WeatherGraphix and WeatherView, Quik-Sky generates weather graphics from raw alphanumeric data. All 50 states are supported. Mouse driven.
- WxView v2.8 (314K) - a favorite among weather enthusiasts, WeatherView converts your raw National Weather Service data into exciting maps and tables. Packed with features that make analyzing weather data fast and enjoyable, even for novices.
- Go'Canes! - hurricane tracking program. Features customizable high definition maps, storm tagging, animated plots, and command line capability for fast plots. Color VGA required. Fast disk/cache will help. Famous storm histories included.
- WeatherCaster Gold (627K) - an integrated and low cost weather forecaster, database and analysis program. It includes numerous features, such as a built-in weather forecasting module, conversion utilities, graphical analysis functions, and an observation decoder.
- Merlin v2.0c (201K) - Track and forecast the movement of hurricanes with Merlin v2.0c, a powerful new weather application by Ted Parker. What distinguishes Merlin from other hurricane tracking software is its use of artificial intelligence and an advanced mathematical model. Despite its power, Merlin is extremely easy to use.
- Digital Atmosphere (2.3M) - a software program available for PC and 100% compatible computers which runs under Windows. It is a powerful, easy-to-use graphics-based program that allows you to create, display, and print an infinite variety of weather charts and analyses. It's the same type of tool that is used by National Weather Service offices nationwide. Digital Atmosphere is an absolute must for any serious weather hobbyist, storm enthusiast, pilot, climatologist, or meteorologist.