Predicting Weather and Understanding Weather Systems

Carla Grandy
City College of San Francisco
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The assignment gives students to the opportunity to bring together everything that they have learned in 7 weeks of atmospheric processes and meteorology to try to predict weather conditions.

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This assignment is used in an undergraduate non-major course in physical geography. (See the course profile page for this course)

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Students will need a basic understanding of meteorology including: atmospheric pressure, circulation, moisture, and storm systems and also the ability to read a weather map including isobars and an understanding of fronts. It is one of two homework assignments.

How the activity is situated in the course

This assignment is given at the end of 7 weeks of discussing meteorology and hopefully provides them with the opportunity to take the ideas that they have learned about different aspects of weather and see how they actually work in reality.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

The content goal is for students to understand weather patterns and atmospheric pressure, moisture, and temperature.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

The main higher order thinking skill goal is to synthesize ideas.

Other skills goals for this activity

Other goals of this activity are that students apply the concepts learned in the classroom to the real world. This is also a writing and communication exercise as well as an opportunity for students to find and use the library.

Description of the activity/assignment

The assignment requires students to observe the weather map in the newspaper for four consecutive days. On the first day they are instructed to choose a location somewhere in the country. The will record the weather conditions there and observe any weather systems that exist elsewhere in the country. They then make predictions of how they expect weather in their location to change over the subsequent three days.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Students are evaluated based on their effort and on the basis of their predictions. My goal is that they will take be able to assimilate the information from class to understand something about actual meteorologic conditions, not that they accurately predict the weather.

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