Day One of Alana Explains the Atmosphere

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Objective

SWBAT describe how winds in the atmosphere interact with landforms to determine patterns of weather.

Big Idea

What is the difference between weather and climate? What are the main ingredients of weather? Students construct Tree Diagrams and a Process Grid to develop important background information on the way to understanding interactions with the atmosphere.

Setting Up the Investigation

Connection to The Next Generation Science Standards

In this investigation, students begin the work that will lead them to explore the Disciplinary Core Idea of Earth's Systems:  Earth Materials and Systems -  that Earth's major systems are the geosphere (solid and molten rock, soil, and sediments), the hydrosphere (water and ice), the atmosphere (air), and the biosphere (living things, including humans).  These systems interact in multiple ways to affect Earth's surface materials and processes.  The ocean supports a variety of ecosystems and organisms, shapes landforms, and influences climate.  Winds and clouds in the atmosphere interact with the atmosphere to determine patterns of weather.  (5-ESS2-1); The Roles of Water in Earth's Surface Processes:  Nearly all of Earth's available water is in the ocean.  Most fresh water is in glaciers or underground:  only a tiny fraction is in streams, lakes, wetlands, and the atmosphere.  (5-ESS2-2)  and the Crosscutting Concept of Systems and System Models  - A system can be described in terms of its components and their interactions (5-ESS2-1), and Scale, Proportion, and Quantity - Standard units are used to describe and measure physical quantities such as weight and volume (5-ESS2-2)

Please Note:  The Lexile Level for Plaid Pete Is Modeling Earth's Systems - Lab Scenario Sheet Lesson 13 is 770 (5th Grade Range is 740 - 1010).

The Preparation Time for This Investigation is approximately 10 minutes.

Materials Needed:

One copy for each student of Plaid Pete Is Modeling Earth's Systems - Lab Scenario Sheet - Lesson 10

One copy for each student of Plaid Pete Is Modeling Earth's Systems - Lab Sheet Lesson 10

One Plaid Pete Is Modeling Earth's Systems - Answer Key Lab Sheet Lesson 10

One set of Plaid Pete Is Modeling Earth's Systems Word Wall Cards - Lesson 10

One paper copy for each student of Plaid Pete Is Modeling Earth's Systems Word Wall Cards - Lesson 10

One copy for each student of Plaid Pete Is Modeling Earth's Systems Weather Process Grid

One transparency of the Concept Map on Weather to trace on chart paper.

Focus & Motivation

5 minutes

Introduce the Scenario

I tell my students, "We get to meet another one of Plaid Pete's classmates today.  And of course, she has to come to Plaid Pete's rescue.  It seems that he is a bit confused about an assignment that Mrs. Glaze has given him.  Gee, I wonder what has got him perplexed this time?  Let's read and find out!  If we look carefully, I bet there will be some clues about what we will be learning!  

I pass out Plaid Pete Is Modeling Earth's Systems - Lab Scenario Sheet - Lesson 10 to my students.  They get their highlighters out so that they can prepare their sheets to read them "Reader's Theater Style."  I explain that there will be 4 parts today - Plaid Pete, Dawson, the new classmate, Alana, and a narrator.  

Students Read the Scenario in their Teams

My students read the scripts in their teams.  At the beginning of the year, it was a struggle to get some students to read, now I have to remind them that everybody gets a turn.  They have now decided to "rate" my scripts - letting me know which ones they decide are good ones and which ones are "lame."  I am hoping they will like this one.

Learning Objective & Success Criteria

Note:  Consistent with the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol, I am now including a language objective with each lesson.  These objectives were derived from the Washington State ELP Standards Frameworks that are correlated with the CCSS and the NGSS.

I share the learning objective and success criteria and explain that we will be working on this over the next two days:  

Learning Objective:  I can describe how winds in the atmosphere interacts with landforms to determine patterns of weather.

Language Objective:  I can construct grade appropriate written claims, and support them with reasoning and evidence.  [ELP.4-5.4]

Success Criteria:  I can complete my lab sheet, including a correctly supported claims and evidence T table.

Guided Exploration

20 minutes

Class Quick-Check

I want to engage my students - and there is nothing quicker than bringing to light the idea that they might not know something!  I first ask students if, like Plaid Pete, they need a little bit of help explaining the difference between climate and weather - most of the hands in the class are raised.  Then I ask if there is anyone who thinks they know the difference - there are a few who try, but then realize that perhaps they need some more information - as seen in this Video Clip 1.  

Background Information

I tell my students that before we can begin to sort out the ideas of climate and weather, we need to first have some background information about this important Earth System - the atmosphere.  I explain that this next series of lessons that we will be working on for 3 days will be about this important Earth System.  I tell them to listen carefully as I play a Scholastic Study Jams Video:  Earth's Atmosphere.  

When the video is finished playing, I tell my students, "I want you to remember this idea that the atmosphere is a blanket of gases that surrounds the Earth, and that the weight of those gases pressing down is what causes air pressure.  This will become an important concept for us."

Introduce The Task

I tell my students, "This whole notion of landforms affecting weather and the atmosphere is a very complicated process - just as Plaid Pete discovered.  Now that we know that the troposphere is the part of the atmosphere where weather happens, we need to figure out the difference between weather and climate - so we don't get confused like Plaid Pete!  I have an activity here that will help our brains sort out the difference between these two very important concepts.

I pass out a copy of Plaid Pete Is Modeling Earth's Systems - Lab Sheet Lesson 10 to each of my students.  I have cut the second sheet in half and shared it with two students (saving paper), as each student will only need 6 boxes to complete the Tree Diagram on the first page of the lab sheet.  I explain that a Tree Diagram is a way to sort out the descriptors of two categories.  I tell my students, "Your first job is to cut out the six boxes along the dotted lines.  Then you will work in your teams to sort the boxes onto the Tree Diagram.  You will need to read them and decide how they go together.  When you have completed them, you should have a clear idea of the difference between weather and climate.

Teams Begin Working

Once students have cut out the boxes, they begin to work together in their teams to read and discuss them.  While this seems like it would be a relatively easy task, I know it will not be for a number of my students.  Students often miss the descriptors, or clues in text that would allow them to connect which boxes go together.  Working in their teams will assist them in discussing them and attending to text in a way that they might not do while working by themselves.  This is a language rich task, and it provides the opportunity for students to discuss and compare ideas.  I work with one of my teams to do that, as seen in this Video Clip 2.

It does take some discussion among the team members, but they are able to come to a consensus and correctly place the boxes on their tree diagrams.  I ask teams to signal me when they are ready to have their lab sheets checked, before they glue the pieces in.  When all teams have completed this task I say, "Now that you have an understanding of the difference between climate and weather, let's move on to getting a better understanding of this topic of weather is all about!"

Instruction

20 minutes

Introduce Concept Map on Weather

I am using an input chart, in the form of a Concept Map to introduce the four main ingredients of Weather.  I have made a transparency of the Concept Map on Weather, and have previously traced the outline and lightly penciled in the information on a large piece of chart paper.  I call my students over to sit on the carpet in front of the white board, where I have attached the chart paper.  (Consistent with the Guided Language Acquisition Design Process, as I present the "input" I am tracing over my pencil in colored marker).  I tell my students, "Listen carefully, because your "Do Now" activity tomorrow morning will be based on this concept map."

I trace the large circle in the middle of the piece of chart paper with a colored marker, and tell my students that today I will be presenting information about weather.  I write the word "Weather" in the middle of the circle.

Introduce The 1st Ingredient of Weather - Temperature

I trace the smaller circle above and to the left of the circle for weather with a different colored marker, and write "Temperature" inside the circle.  I connect it to the larger circle labeled "Weather."  I say, "The first ingredient in Weather is Temperature."  I write the following bulleted points underneath the word Temperature:  

  • Temperature is measured with a thermometer in either degrees Celsius or Fahrenheit.
  • The sun transfers heat to both land and water, increasing the temperature.
  • These temperature increases result in changes in weather and weather patterns.

 

I am also stopping in between each section and asking my students to turn and talk and process the information they are learning, as seen in this Video Clip

Introduce The 2nd Ingredient of Weather - Humidity

 I trace the smaller circle above and to the right of the circle for weather with a different colored marker, and write "Humidity" inside the circle.  I connect it to the larger circle labeled "Weather."  I say, "The second ingredient in Weather is Humidity."  I write the following bulleted points underneath the word Humidity:  

  • Humidity is measured with a device called a hygrometer.
  • Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air.
  • Warm air can hold more water vapor than cold air.
  • As humidity increases, the chance of rain also increases.

 

Introduce The 3rd Ingredient of Weather - Wind Speed & Direction

I trace the smaller circle below and to the left of the circle for weather with a different colored marker, and write "Wind Speed & Direction" inside the circle.  I connect it to the larger circle labeled "Weather."  I say, "The third ingredient in Weather is Wind Speed and Direction."  I write the following bulleted points underneath the words Wind Speed & Direction:  

  • Wind Speed is measured with a device called an anemometer. 
  • Wind Direction is measured with a number of devices including, wind vanes; wind socks; and flags.
  • Wind is the movement of large amounts of air.
  • Wind is the result of uneven heating of the Earth's surface.

 

Introduce The 4th Ingredient of Weather - Air Pressure

I trace the smaller circle below and to the right of the circle for weather with a different colored marker, and write "Air Pressure" inside the circle.  I connect it to the larger circle labeled "Weather."  I say, "The fourth ingredient in Weather is Air Pressure."  I write the following bulleted points underneath the words Air Pressure:  

  • Air Pressure is measured with a device called a barometer. 
  • Air Pressure is higher at sea level, and decreases as you go up in elevation.
  • Air pressure changes from place to place, which causes air to move.
  • Air flows from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure.

 

I tell my students, "Now that you are familiar with the four main ingredients that combine to form weather, let's work on some of this new vocabulary that we have been introduced to today.  Please get out your Science Notebooks and get ready to learn some new words!"

Vocabulary Instruction

10 minutes

Consistent with the 5E Model for Science Instruction, I have provided a hands-on opportunity before introducing vocabulary. 

Introduce Vocabulary

I present the words from the Plaid Pete Is Modeling Earth's Systems Word Wall Cards - Lesson 10 using the following instructional routine.

  1. Say the word to students.
  2. Ask students to repeat the word at least 5 times.  For example, I will say, "Say it to the window.  Say it to my hand.  Say it to the door.  Say it to the ceiling."
  3. I say the word in context.  For example, I will say, " The position the plants were placed in was one of the controlled variables in the video."  
  4. I will then randomly call on a student to use the word in a sentence, giving successive prompts to assist them, if needed.

Science Notebooks

I use the following routine to have students write these words into their Science Notebooks:

After introducing the words, I demonstrate for students how to make a three column table with rows for each of the eight vocabulary words.  I model for them in my own Science Notebook how to write the word in the first box, a non-linguistic (e.g. picture) representation of the word in the second box, and work with the class to generate an example sentence for the first word in the third box. Students cut out their copies of the cards and place in the envelope, which they glue on the page behind their table.  They will finish sentences for the remaining seven words either for homework, or for seat-work later.  A completed notebook will look like this Example.

I then ask my students to quickly come to the meeting area.  I want to share with them a bit about where we are headed for tomorrow's lesson.

Reflection & Closure

5 minutes

Anchor Chart - What We Know About Air

Once I have gathered my students in our meeting area I tell them, "Tomorrow, we will be focusing in on the weather ingredient of "wind."  Today we learned that wind is the movement of large amounts of air.  I want you to think back to our investigations into matter, and remember everything you remember about air."

I give my students a few moments of quiet think time.  Then I ask them to turn and talk to the person next to them and share what they know about air.  On my easel, I have labeled the piece of chart paper "What We Know About Air."

I ask students to share out everything they have learned about air so far.  This will be important information for us to use as a "touchstone" during tomorrow's investigations.

This is the the chart we constructed:


Tomorrow morning when my students come in, they will work in their teams to complete the Plaid Pete Is Modeling Earth's Systems Weather Process Grid as their "Do Now" activity.