How Can We Teach Atmospheric Dynamics Better?

Monday 12-2:30pm PT / 1-3:30pm MT / 2-4:30pm CT / 3-5:30pm ET Online
Afternoon Mini Workshop


John Knox, University of Georgia

Atmospheric dynamics is/are arguably the hardest class(es) to teach in the undergraduate meteorology/atmospheric sciences curriculum. The subject is rooted in math and physics material that our students may have not learned well; dynamics is an important gateway class for prospective atmospheric sciences graduate students, but its theoretical content can be off-putting to future forecasters and visual learners; some of its key topics, such as the Coriolis force, confound even faculty; and the first edition of James Holton's classic textbook on the subject will be 50 years old in 2022. In this mini-workshop, we will pool both our frustration and our fresh ideas in order to emerge with an improved understanding of, and new approaches to, how to teach atmospheric dynamics successfully to a wider range of students than before. Bring with you an example of what works for you and your students in dynamics, and a topic or aspect of dynamics that you want to improve on as a teacher!

Fill out this pre-workshop survey to give input ahead of time


By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  • Meet and get to know colleagues who teach, and care about teaching, atmospheric dynamics
  • Share and receive new ideas and resources for teaching atmospheric dynamics better
  • Make an action plan for implementing one or more innovations in their next dynamics class
  • Become part of a continuing group of instructors interested in teaching atmospheric dynamics better


3:00 Welcome to the workshop and brief introductions

3:10 Breakout groups to get to know each other better

3:30 Refining goals

3:40 Whole-group discussion of common challenges in atmospheric dynamics: what's hard to teach, what gets left out that belongs, what should get left out?

3:50 Breakout groups focused on individual topics/challenges: why is it hard, why should it be included, whyshould it be left out? What would solutions look like?

4:10 Break

4:15 Problems to Solutions: whole-group discussion including feedback from breakout groups and responses from those with new ideas, innovations, and/or resources

4:55 Participants work on action plans/discuss possible collaborations

5:15 Wrap-up, next steps, and evaluations

5:30 Adjourn


Coming soon!