The Weather-Ready Student: Bringing Meteorology into your Course

Wednesday 1:30pm-4:00pm Student Union: Mirage/Thunderbird
Afternoon Mini Workshop


Cindy Shellito, University of Northern Colorado
Are your students weather-ready? This workshop is aimed at educators across a range of disciplines, from those who teach courses in meteorology, to those who simply wish to prepare their students for fieldwork with lessons on weather safety and awareness. We will consider the challenges of teaching students about weather and how to incorporate aspects of meteorology and its impacts into a wide range of courses. Participants will have an opportunity to explore educational resources and websites with real-time data for use in day-to-day weather forecasting, as they brainstorm and share ideas for using these resources in the classroom. Each participant will develop or adapt an idea or resource suitable for their specific needs.


By the end of this workshop participants will:

  • Identify the most important things your students should know about weather - tailored to your specific needs and course goals.
  • Be aware a set of online weather resources appropriate for students, along with ideas on how to incorporate them into your class.
  • Have a detailed plan for a new meteorology lesson or activity, or for a meteorological component to a field excursion in any environmental or earth science course.
  • Be able to prepare students for inclement weather in the field, on campus, or at home.


Please bring a device with internet access to this workshop!

1:30 Welcome and Introductions

1:40 Warm-up Weather Challenge: Train your eyes on the skies!(Weather Ready Student - Handout (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 28kB Jul20 17))

2:05 Discussion: Where do you hope to bring weather into your courses? What are your greatest challenges in teaching about weather?

2:25 Ideas for preparing 'weather-ready' students: weather websites for introductory-level students; using weather data; simple demos; preparing for and responding to severe weather (PPT from Wx-Ready Workshop (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 29.8MB Jul20 17))

2:50 Individual reflection and small-group discussion: Finding the best ways to introduce your students to weather

3:20 Develop a detailed 'classroom-ready' plan

3:30 Exchange of ideas - documenting resources and ideas for future reference

3:50 End of Workshop Evaluation

4:00 Adjourn

The Weather-Ready Student: Bringing Meteorology into your Course -- Discussion  

Understand the difference between a watch and a warning, flash flooding, to realize that there can be vast differences in the local weather around the world, difference between weather and climate, having cirriculum rigorous enough that K-12 teachers can teach it, basic principles (relative humidity, wind speed, temperature)

Challenges are student phobias of math and science, lack of time, lack of TA knowledge/background in meteorology and still making it interesting/relevant


Share edittextuser=1895 post_id=32777 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=12090

- Not a lot of time to teach concepts.
- Non-majors do not like science.
- Too many concepts to cover.
- Not able to make content rigorous enough. TAs with no background have trouble helping.
- Not being familiar enough with the material to create meaningful/interesting content.

What we want them to learn:
- Humidity, clouds, heat index, wind speed.
- Be able to understand the weatherman! What does it mean when the front approaches from a certain direction.
- Difference between a watch and a warning. Tornado warnings should be taken seriously when in the field.
- Flash floods. How thunderstorms affect the streets (flooding, traffic delays, stalling in water).
- Hurricanes.
- Rigorous content so future teachers have enough knowledge to teach it.
- That real weather exists outside of California.
- Why atmosphere portion is important
- Difference between weather and climate
- Climate literacy


Share edittextuser=46961 post_id=32780 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=12090

For our various classes, we are interested in bringing in extreme weather into a climate class, to help students think about attribution of extreme weather to climate change; helping students develop simple weather forecasts, and differentiate between weather and climate.

The biggest challenges are that there's a lot of terminology, a lot of different types of data, and understanding the concepts is tricky because they are abstract. Therefore, how much detail do you go into for different purposes?


Share edittextuser=9841 post_id=32783 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=12090

What do you want students to learn? Course - Weather & Climate (GEOG 3500) - Upper-division elective, few STEM majors, many social science and public health majors. 1. The difference between weather and climate 2. How to interpret weather maps and symbols, and make predictions based upon those maps 3. Climate controls and their impact upon local and regional weather 4. Koppen climate classification


Share edittextuser=47684 post_id=32786 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=12090

Important takeaways for our classes:
Weather safety issues
Difference between weather and climate
Applied: talking about temperature and pressure in the context of weather
Experience weather data collection outside
Severe weather and storms

Challenges: scale and perception of scale


Share edittextuser=755 post_id=32789 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=12090

What do you want your students to know about the
How much water vapor be held in the atmosphere, then they can learn about dew point, climate change. Clausus clapeyron equation.
Ingredients to the weather are different and they create the weather, this changes through time, PV= nrT. Eveerything in weather happens for reason, understand the driving forces locally.
In chemistry class, high-school level, PV=NRT and stoichiometry to understand climate change.The atmosphere is heated from the earth surface.
On Earth, water can be solid, liquid and gaseous form and that is important.

Challenges: chaos theory, longstanding misconceptions, get the kids to come to class, interpret data


Share edittextuser=41643 post_id=32792 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=12090

Example of Bringing Weather Studies into a General Education Course: Pre-service teachers are required to take my World Regional Geography (GEOG 1010/1020) courses. Approximately half of the students enrolled come from the College of Education. I have been Tennessee State University's Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Point of Contact and Trainer since 2001. In my GEOG 1010/1020 courses, pre-service teachers have the opportunity to become certified by me in the GLOBE Atmosphere Protocols, which essentially engages them in hands-on exercises during which they collect atmospheric data (i.e. temperature, cloud types, precipitation, etc). They also work with WeatherBug weather station data and use the ArcGIS Online mapping platform to map the results of their investigations.


Share edittextuser=47684 post_id=32795 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=12090

Join the Discussion

Log in to reply