Saturday, October 15, 2011

Meteorology Questions

Image Credit: Pics4Learning
I frame our science learning in terms of questions—learning goals, laboratory research questions, daily warm-up questions, one-on-one student conversations, etc. Questions stimulate thinking and conversation; the more questions, the better. I am famously known for never giving students "the right answer," but always asking them that one additional question. Of course, my favorite question is, "Why?"  :)

Throughout the school year, I will share some of the questions we ponder as we engage in the process of science. Here is a sampling of some of the "big idea" questions that I pose during our study of meteorology:

Atmospheric Structure
  • What are the features and characteristics of Earth's atmosphere?
  • What is the composition of Earth's atmosphere?

Heat Transfer
  • How is heat transferred in Earths's atmosphere?
  • What are the three types of heat transfer in Earth's atmosphere, and how does each work?
  • What is Earth's energy budget?

Weather Maps
  • How do scientists measure, record, and analyze various types of weather data?
  • How do we measure air temperature?
  • How do we measure dewpoint and humidity?
  • How do we measure atmospheric pressure?
  • How do we measure wind direction and wind speed?
  • How do we draw isobars?
  • What are fronts and how do we locate them on a weather map?

Types of Weather
  • What causes weather?
  • How are clouds formed?
  • How do scientists forecast the weather?
  • How do different types of severe weather form?
  • How do scientists monitor severe weather? 
  • How do we prepare for and stay safe during severe weather?

Climate Change
  • How do scientists study global climate and climate change?
  • What are the factors affecting climate change over time?
  • What is the greenhouse effect and how does it work?
  • How do we measure "parts per million?"
  • How does carbon cycle through the Earth system over time?
  • What is our current understanding of climate change?

For more information about effective questioning:
Ivan Hannel, Insufficient Questioning, Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 91, No. 3, November 2009, pp. 65-69. In this article, author Ivan Hannel discusses how highly effective questioning can keep students interested and improve their learning.

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