Today in class we addressed the topic of weather and how it can be affected by the earth’s atmosphere, heat and water. We also addressed a common misconception that climate and weather are the same thing. (They’re not!) Weather is what is happening currently, while climate is spaced out over a longer period of time. We talked about precipitation and how different types form differently in clouds. We also talked about how the earth’s rotation affects weather and how sunlight at the tropics emits more energy than sunlight spread out over a larger distance near the North and South poles.
Activities for today’s lesson included constructing balloon scales to demonstrate how air has mass. Measuring air pressure compared with other pressures in our pencil flipping activity. Students learned about how thunderstorms happen with a demonstration that involved mixing warm water and colored ice cubes to see how cool air sinks and warm air rises above it. Students constructed their own thermometers and were able to see how the warmth from their hands was able to cause the solution to rise through a straw in the bottle. For the Space Taken activity we were able to see how air has pressure and when it is sealed in an airtight flask, water cannot enter through the funnel at the top. A final take home message that students were able to ponder is that here on earth there are nearly 14 pounds of atmospheric pressure acting on us at every moment!
So, the next time it starts to rain, ask your student how a rain droplet is formed, or whether the rain is weather or climate!