Teaching Atmospheric Dynamics to Improve Learning and Engagement

Thursday 1:30pm-4:00pm Appleby 3
Afternoon Mini Workshop


John Knox, University of Georgia
Casey Davenport, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Zachary Handlos, Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus

Atmospheric dynamics represents a challenging hurdle in the undergraduate meteorology/atmospheric sciences curriculum, and is arguably the hardest material to teach well for comprehension, application, and learning. The subject is rooted in math and physics concepts that our students may not have learned well, heavily based in theory that is at times counterintuitive. While dynamics is a critical component of the curriculum, there have not been coordinated efforts to improve teaching and learning to make the course more accessible, understandable, and applicable to students.

During the EER 2021 "How Can We Teach Atmospheric Dynamics Better?" workshop, participants spent time in breakout groups informally discussing their experiences with instructing atmospheric dynamics, as well as their concerns and ideas for how to improve such courses. For this year's workshop, the primary goal is to develop working groups from participants to tackle action items that will work towards improving atmospheric dynamics course instruction. Possible proposed action items will include (but will certainly not be limited to) the following: 1) developing an open-access free online atmospheric dynamics textbook for institutions to adopt, 2) creation of active learning resources to improve student engagement and learning of atmospheric dynamics material within and outside of the classroom setting, and 3) conducting DBER and/or SoTL research projects on the effectiveness of various modes of instruction within atmospheric dynamics courses.

Pre-Workshop Survey Link (now closed)


By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  • Meet and get to know colleagues who teach, and care about teaching, atmospheric dynamics
  • Become part of a continuing group of instructors interested in teaching atmospheric dynamics better
  • Create action plans within working groups on how to improve teaching specific topics in atmospheric dynamics


1:30 Welcome and introductions

1:55 Results of pre-workshop survey: Presentation of working groups and group discussion of key issues to tackle in dynamics

2:15 Working group discussions on key issues

3:15 Develop action plans

3:30 Report back to whole group

3:50 Wrap-up and workshop evaluation

4:00 Adjourn


Workshop slides

Composite Dynamics Syllabus