"Students can interpret, analyze, and evaluate data and recognize bias in order to formulate logical conclusions."This past week, Hurricane Irene struck the eastern United States, causing major flooding and destruction in many areas. A plethora of science instruments—land-based, sea-based, plane-based, and satellite-based—monitored Irene's vital signs as it trekked across the planet and affected millions of humans. These instruments captured a wealth of data and images that can be used in the classroom to help students better understand hurricanes as well as reinforce how science works.
|Hurricane Irene, Doppler Radar Animation,|
courtesy of the Weather Underground
When using images and animations, I ask students three main questions:
- What do you see? (observations)
- How do you know? (evidence)
- What can you infer? (interpretation)
Capturing a Doppler Animation Loop
There are numerous sources of weather information on the internet, but my favorite is the Weather Underground. Their maps, graphics, and animations are well-designed, easy-to-read, colorful, accessible, and appropriately scientific, which makes them an ideal source for the science classroom.
To capture a Doppler animation loop, do the following:
- Go to the Weather Underground website, and of course bookmark/favorite it for future use.
- Select the Radar link under the Maps & Radar tab on the main page.
- Select one of the Doppler radar sites (indicated by + symbols) closest to the area of interest.
- To generate an animated loop on the radar page, adjust the Radar Controls on the right side of the page, then click the Update Radar Map button. For Hurricane Irene, I modified the Animate Frames box to 40, and the Frame Delay to medium, while leaving the other options at their default settings.
- Once the full animation loads, select the View/Save This Image link at the bottom of the loop to display the animation on a separate web page. Then, save a copy of the animation to your computer (usually File-->Save As…). This animation can be replayed on your favorite web browser for later classroom use.