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By Anna Mills, Science Teacher
Do you ever think about the implications that weather has on city events or on your own personal safety? Weather affects our daily activity and lifestyles; therefore it is of high importance. Weather objectives that 6th grade students need to meet are:
1. Differentiate between basic and severe weather conditions, and develop an appropriate action plan for personal safety and the safety of others (3.1.a)8
2. Use models to develop and communicate a weather prediction (3.1.c)8
I presented a weather challenge to my students. They were in charge of designing forecasting equipment in order to make an accurate weather forecast. Each one of them was labeled as an engineer for the City of Longmont and split into teams. It was a celebration weekend and that meant FIREWORKS! It was their team’s job to build a "backyard weather station" and make a weather forecast to determine whether or not there should be a fireworks display. We discussed why it was important to do this for the safety of the town.
The students used the design thinking process to ideate ways to make the weather tools collect data on wind velocity and direction, amount of precipitation, air temperature, and air pressure.
They built their own backyard weather stations and recorded the weather for one full week. The student teams used this data to predict the weather during the next few days. Each group of students made the decision as to whether or not Longmont should have a fireworks display based on their data collection.
The end result was that most student groups predicted the correct weather. It was very neat to see the students so invested in the weather and their innovative creations.
This unit was created for Race to the Top as a summer unit planning. For more information, here is a link to the design challenge overview.
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