Friday Teaching Demos: Weather, Climate, and Global Change
Friday 1:30pm-3:00pm Ritchie Hall: 366
Teaching Demonstration Part of Friday Teaching Demos: Weather, Climate, and Global Change
Absorption and Reflection of Solar Energy
Peggy McNeal, Towson University
As part of an overall lesson on Earth's energy budget, the objective of this inquiry activity is for students to describe how surface material type and color affect absorption and reflection of solar energy. Students collect data on the temperature of multiple outdoor surfaces using infrared temperature guns. The collected data provide a basis for inquiry into why the varied surfaces exhibit different temperatures. Students subsequently engage with concepts including albedo, heat capacity, absorption and re-radiation to explain the observed temperature differences. Understanding these concepts is a precursor to lessons addressing the greenhouse effect, solar radiation (ultraviolet, infrared, visible wavelengths), weather and climate, Wien's Law, the Stefan-Boltzmann Law, and topics addressed in geoscience and climate change lessons.
Finding the front: Two Approaches to Teaching with Weather Maps
Sarah Glancy, University of Hawaii-West Oahu
Robert Glancy, Metropolitan State University of Denver
The authors present how they use the same surface weather map from the National Weather Service to teach about weather for two different courses (introductory meteorology and climate and introductory earth science) and at different levels of detail. The weather map shows weather symbols for each weather station as a strong cold front moves through Texas. The presence of the strong cold front provides weather contrasts that are easy for students to observe. For an introductory weather and climate class, this activity was used as an introduction to some of the techniques used by weather forecasters to interpret surface weather maps. For an introductory earth science class, the goal of this activity was for students to demonstrate that they could read temperature, precipitation type, and wind direction from weather symbols on a surface weather map and to use this information to identify a weather front.
Effects of Climate Change on the American Southwest
Alexandra Priewisch, Fresno City College
The activity consists of a PowerPoint presentation which introduces the students to the topic. They will then work on handouts which engage them in analyzing various graphs related to climate data, such as summer drought from 1900-2012, forest and woodland mortality, trends in flood magnitude, and frost-free days from 1900-2010. The handouts include questions that help the students to interpret the data and develop an understanding of how the data is related to climate change. They are also prompted to apply their understanding and infer possible effects of this climate change on the Southwestern US. The outcomes of the activity are 1) students will be able to explain how the climate has changed over the last 110-112 year, and 2) students will be able to list and explain at least three effects of this climate change in the Southwestern US.
Beyond Sustainability: The Anthropocene as a paradigm for thinking about the Earth Across Disciplines
Gary Gomby, Central Connecticut State University
The Anthropocene has been defined as the period during which humans have become a global geophysical force. The concept of the Anthropocene can be expanded beyond this "narrow" definition to a more all-encompassing view of the ethical, social and economic implications of human activity on planetary systems. It is no longer possible, nor desirable to compartmentalize human activity into traditional disciplines. New paradigms for communicating geoscience to our students and the public are essential if business as usual outcomes are to be avoided. As such, I have been developing a "Human Impacts" course over the last two years that uses the Anthropocene as its organizing principle. It is critical and essential that students understand socioeconomic systems and environmental systems are dynamically linked. Discussion of sustainability thus becomes a natural part of the discussion of any linked system. It arises naturally, rather than as a goal in and of itself. The Anthropocene is perforce a global lesson in unsustainable human behaviors. The window of opportunity for human success on Earth has been the Holocene; we have now entered the Anthropocene, an epoch with profound implications for humanity's future. It is now necessary to teach the Anthropocene.