Day Two of Alana Explains the Atmosphere

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

Big Idea

How is wind created? Students engage in a series of wind labs that will assist them in understanding wind formation in the atmosphere.

Setting Up the Investigation

This is Day Two of a Three Day Lesson.  Click here for Day One of Alana Explains the Atmosphere.

On Day One of this investigation, students learned the difference between climate and weather, and the four main ingredients of weather.  Today, students will participate in three different labs to investigate the formation of wind.  On Day Three, they will consolidate that information to understand how wind in the atmosphere interacts with landforms to determine patterns of weather.

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 air pressure lab is based on an experiment, Why Does The Wind Blow, from The Little Shop of Physics at Colorado State University.

The Preparation Time for This Investigation is approximately 20 minutes.

Materials Needed:

One copy for each student of Plaid Pete Is Modeling Earth's Systems- Lab Sheet Lesson 11

Uneven Heating Lab

Potting Soil

2 Plastic Dishes or Cups per team

2 Thermometers per team

1 Balance with gram cubes per team

Air Pressure Lab

1 - 1 liter plastic bottle per team (pre cut a hole approximately 1 inch from the bottom and cover with a square of duct tape)

1 Fizz Keeper Pump Cap per team (Available from the Educational Innovations website)

Styrofoam packing peanuts

Duct tape

Convection Current Lab

3 plastic vials per team

4 plastic cups per team

2 pipettes per team

2 dispensing bottles (for cold blue water and hot red water)

red food coloring

blue food coloring

Day One

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

Focus & Motivation

5 minutes

This morning, as part of their "Do Now" Activity, my students completed the Plaid Pete Is Modeling Earth's Systems Weather Process Grid in their teams.  We take a few moments to discuss their completed grid.  I can tell that my students do not have a clear understanding of wind and how it affects weather.  I am hoping that after tomorrow's lesson, this will become more clear.  This is a student's completed Weather Process Grid.

Before we begin our activities for the day, I share the objectives with my students.  I tell them that they need to use their scientist's observation skills to closely pay attention to what they do today, because by the end of tomorrow's class period they should be able to meet these objectives.

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 wind 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

55 minutes

Introduce the Task

I explain to my students that we will be completing a series of labs that will help them to understand the formation of wind, and how wind interacts with landforms to determine patterns of weather.  

I hand out a copy of Plaid Pete Is Modeling Earth's Systems- Lab Sheet Lesson 11 to each of my students.  I point out the three different labs that we will be working on today:  Uneven Heating Lab, Air Pressure Lab, and Convection Lab.  I explain that we will set up and run the first lab, as it involves collecting data over time.  Then while we are working on the second and third lab, one team member will need to stop and collect data for the team.  

Uneven Heating Lab

I read through the directions with my students, ensuring that they understand the steps.  I explain that once everyone has their dishes under the heat lamp, we will be moving on to the Air Pressure Lab.  So I ask my teams to create job lists for both labs.  I tell them that they will need a Recorder for the Air Pressure Lab.  At least one team member will need to write down the answers to some of the prompts, as other team members are working with the materials.  I explain that there will also be a recorder needed for the third lab, so perhaps this task can be shared.

They will retrieve the materials for both labs, however; I will be guiding them through the Air Pressure Lab so I ask them not to begin until I have given them the direction to do so.  Once my students have created their job lists and retrieved their materials, they get busy calculating the mass of the soil and water.  Students set their cups under the heat lamp, marking their team's cups with a Post-It Note. Since I will be directing the Air Pressure Lab, I set a timer, and call out when it is time for team members to collect their data.

Air Pressure Lab

I read through the directions with my students, again ensuring that they understand them. I make it a special point to emphasize that the packing peanuts are constructed of foam and air.  It is important that they understand the peanuts have air inside of them.  Students draw and label their models, as indicated on Step 4 of the lab sheet (before air is pumped into the bottle).

I make sure that everyone fills in the prediction about what they think will happen when they pump more air molecules into the bottle with the Fizz Keeper Pump Cap.  I specifically ask them to describe what they think might happen to the packing peanuts - will it cause them to change in some way, or will they remain the same?

Before students begin pumping air into the bottles, I explain that it is very important that one person hold their finger over the tape that is covering the hole that is in the bottom of the bottle.  Then I allow students to begin pumping air.

I have to really prompt my students to see what is happening with the packing peanuts. Some students think the peanuts are "swelling," because they are not watching the level on the bottle.  As the air is being pumped inside the bottle and the air pressure is increasing, the packing peanuts are being compressed.  However, they can definitely hear the whooshing sound of the air as it is released from the bottle when they remove the tape.

Students complete the questions on their lab sheet before we move on to the next lab.

Convection Current Lab

I make sure that all of the data has been collected for the uneven heating lab before I begin this one.  It is very important that the cold water be ice cold.  I have placed some ice cubes in the dispensing bottle, and also placed it into a bowl of ice.   The hot water must be hot, but not so hot that it will melt the plastic bag.  I have hot water in a thermos, and additional room temperature water available to dilute, as needed.

We do the first step together.  I have given my students a cup of room temperature water and they pour that into the vial.  I have mixed 40 drops of red food coloring into a dispensing bottle with hot water.  I quickly move to each team, dispensing a small amount of the red water into a plastic cup.  As soon as I have dispensed red water to the last team, I give the signal to carefully collect the water with the pipette, gently lower it into the vial (without squeezing it!) to the bottom and carefully expel the red water into the vial.  My students are shocked to see the red cloud of water rising to the top of the vial!  I tell them to draw that model in the space indicated, indicating the red water with a colored pencil.

We repeat the same process, this time with the dispensing bottle of ice cold water in which I have added 40 drops of blue food coloring.  After releasing the contents of the pipette - they are again surprised to see that this time, the blue water stays at the bottom of the vial.  I give the instruction to draw and label that model in the space indicated.

My students are now ready for the third step - the creation of a convection current (although they don't know this yet!).  I read the steps with them, ensuring they understand exactly what they will do, and I model it for them using the materials.  I quickly ready the bags of hot water and go to each team, placing them inside of another cup so that they can quickly take them out and set them in the cup beside the vial, when I give the signal.  Then, I dispense the ice cold blue water to each team, and give the signal for them to carefully release the blue water in the bottom of the room temperature vial (that has been set inside the cup) as they did in the previous step.  I verify with the teams that the blue water has indeed sunk to the bottom again.  Then I give the signal to place the plastic bag of hot water next to the vial inside the cup, and to watch very carefully to see what happens.  

They are amazed to see that on the side where the hot bag of water is against the vial, the blue water is beginning to rise.  Then the water travels across the top and begins to sink on the opposite side.  There is a clear circular pattern.  I give the instruction to draw that model using a colored pencil in the space indicated.  

I move in to work with this group who has had a late start.  They demonstrate the creation of a convection current for their peers, as seen in this Video Clip.

I tell my students, "You have just learned some very important information about how wind is formed.  Let's get cleaned up and move to the meeting area.  We have some things we need to add to our chart.

Page One of a student's lab sheet:

Reflection & Closure

5 minutes

Anchor Chart - Drawing Comparisons to Earth

Just below yesterday's notes from our Anchor Chart:  What We Know About Air, I have written another heading:  Drawing Comparisons to Earth.  Tomorrow, my students will have to make some big jumps with the concepts they have learned today.  I want to get their minds ready, so I ask the following question, "How is the uneven heating lab that we did today like geosphere?

I ask my students to turn and talk.  I call on a student who responds. "Well, the heat lamp is like the sun.  It heated the soil and the water just like the Sun heats the Earth and the water."  Underneath the heading I write:  The Sun heats Earth's land and water.  

I ask, "When this happens, what kind of energy is being transferred?"  I call on a student who correctly answers that it is heat energy.  I write:  The Sun transfers heat energy to the land and the water.

I tell my students, "This is important information that we will use to pull together what we learned in our labs today.  Tomorrow at the end of our lesson, we will have enough information to meet our objective of describing how wind in the atmosphere interacts with landforms in the geosphere to determine weather patterns on Earth!