Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Understanding Climate

Wendy Meehan

Description

Students create two dioramas out of household materials and additionally provided materials to compare the influence of various factors that impact climate.

Objectives

The student knows how climatic patterns on Earth result from an interplay of many factors (Earth's topography, its rotation on its axis, solar radiation, the transfer of heat energy where the atmosphere interfaces with lands and oceans, and win

The student understands the relationships between events on Earth and the movements of the Earth, its Moon, the other planets, and the Sun.

Materials

-Topographical maps (use wall maps, textbooks, clip art)
-Shoebox or similar sized cardboard container (two per group)
-Construction paper
-Glue, tape (any kind that sticks), scissors, stapler
-Miscellaneous supplies (suggestions: grass clippings, paint, clay, pipe cleaners, twigs, small pinecones, cotton, plastic people and/or animals, Styrofoam scraps, crayons, colored pencils, colored markers, sand, soil, aluminum foil, powdered soap or soap flakes, thread, string, yarn, etc.)
-Climate Factors Data Sheet
-Factors Influencing Climate guided outline (one per student)(see associated file)
-Change in Factors, cut into slips for random drawing (see associated file)
-Pretest and posttest (copy of each for every student)(see associated file)
-Copy of rubrics (expectations relating to individual and group effort)(see associated file)

Preparations

1.Gather miscellaneous materials over period of time and store until needed.
2.Determine where materials and projects will be stored for the week while lesson is in progress.
3.Tell class about the upcoming lesson, and that they will need a shoebox and various construction materials for that day.
4.Photocopy for each student: pre and post-tests, guided outlines
Photocopy maps, if needed
Photocopy data sheets (each group needs one page that contains their region)
Photocopy one per class: “Change in Factors” sheet per class.
5.Day one: administer pre-test
6.Brainstorm activity
7.Divide class into groups
8.Distribute data sheets, rubrics, and maps.
9.Give each group a region-time-date (see suggestions)
10.Have students plan their dioramas first and then make a list of supplies they will need. Have one student show you the list before they get their supplies. Provide time to create diorama. Move about the room asking or answering questions.
11.Once dioramas are completed, give each group an opportunity to present their region to the class.
12.Present lecture/ guided outline
13.Get students back into groups. Cut “FACTOR CHANGES” into strips and have one student per group pick a slip. Create a second diorama using the same region-time-date, but incorporate the factor changes. Provide time to create diorama. Move about the room asking or answering questions.
14.Once dioramas are completed, give each group an opportunity to present their region to the class. Remind the students that they should be be prepared to justify why/how their region changed.
15.Draw conclusions; summarize
16.Administer post-test

Procedures

Prior knowledge: Students will have already defined latitude and longitude.

The day before: Present overview of upcoming lesson. As a homework assignment, have students bring in shoeboxes and miscellaneous materials to create a geographical region. Keep supplies generic, as they will not know the region until the day of the lesson.

Day One:

1) Administer pretest. (20 minutes)

2) Brainstorming/ Hook activity: Ask students where they were born and write the locations on the board or overhead. Attempt to organize locations by putting northernmost cities on top of the list; southernmost locations on bottom, etc. Repeat process, but ask about vacations or other travel destinations. Draw about three boxes –one near northern locations, one near southern locations, and locations in center of the U.S. (more if necessary). Ask the students who lived or traveled north to describe plants/ animals/ weather/ seasons/ nearby bodies of water/ mountains. Write these characteristics in boxes near the cities.
Have the students look at the boxes containing regional characteristics. Ask them to consider reasons for the differences among contents of boxes. (20+ minutes -varies with student input)

3) ACTIVITY ONE:
Distribute Factors Influencing Climate guided outline found in the associated file. Explain that students will be responsible for knowing vocabulary and the relationships among the factors listed on this sheet.

Divide class into groups or teams. Each team should not be larger than four or smaller than two students per group. Stress that this is a group activity and that all members must participate and are encouraged to help each other. Have students move into groups. Distribute maps and climate data for regions. Each group should have a different area. Have the students discuss and plan the way their region will look. One student from each group will make a list of supplies needed for diorama. That student brings the materials wish-list to the teacher for approval first. (This provides some control over supplies so that one group doesn’t take all the cotton balls, for example.) (20 minutes)

*If time is limited, provide time to organize and store group supplies somewhere in the room, and stop for the day. If not, continue.

Students will use data sheet, textbook, computer (if available), reference materials (if available) and miscellaneous construction materials to create diorama. Details from data sheet must be accurately represented in diorama. (50 minutes)

*If time is limited, provide time to organize and store group supplies in somewhere in room, and stop for the day. If not, continue.

4) Students will choose a speaker in their group to present their diorama to the class. Each group will list factors that influence the climate, flora, and fauna of their area. Allow for input from class -comments, questions, corrections… (approximately 40 minutes, depending upon class size and input)

5) Brief lecture: Use Guided Outline and answer key. (30 minutes)

6) ACTIVITY TWO:
Tell the students they are going to create another diorama of the same region as their first. One member from each group will choose a slip of paper from a container (random drawing) indicating two climate factors that will change in their region. The group will get another shoebox and materials and create a new diorama incorporating those changes. (50 minutes)
-What happens to the geographical region with these changes?
-If two factors change, will all the others remain the same?

7) Once again, students will choose a speaker in their group to present their diorama to the class. Each group will discuss how the change in factors influenced the climate, flora, and fauna of their area. Again, allow for input from class -comments, questions, corrections… (approximately 40 minutes, depending upon class size and input)

8) Summary and review: Use Guided Outline and answer key. (20 minutes)

9) Administer post-test (20 minutes)

Reteaching (10-15 minutes, if necessary)

Assessments

Description:
Students will
-Complete pre-test
-Work within group to create two dioramas as described
-Compare dioramas and explain differences resulting from changes in climactic factors
-Correctly complete guided outline
-Achieve at least a 95 on post-test

Criteria: Students know how climactic patterns on Earth result from an interplay of many factors.

Extensions

The lesson can easily be expanded using films on global warming, field trip to a specific biome, etc. Advanced students can research a region rather than use data provided. Students needing extra help can move through guided outline at a slower pace.
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