Teach the Earth > Introductory Courses > Activities > Predicting Weather and Understanding Weather Systems

Predicting Weather and Understanding Weather Systems

Carla Grandy
City College of San Francisco
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This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection

This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are

  • Scientific Accuracy
  • Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
  • Pedagogic Effectiveness
  • Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
  • Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page

For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.

This activity has benefited from input from faculty educators beyond the author through a review and suggestion process. This review took place as a part of a faculty professional development workshop where groups of faculty reviewed each others' activities and offered feedback and ideas for improvements. To learn more about the process On the Cutting Edge uses for activity review, see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.

This page first made public: May 23, 2008


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.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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