Hurricane Season: Lessons & Resources

Image Source: NOAA Current Hurricane Activity

Updated August 2016

We are heading into Peak Hurricane Season, with forecasts predicting 12-17 named storms. Using the resources below, students can track Tropical Storms and Hurricanes, as well as learn about how hurricanes form, the parts of a hurricane, the difference between a tropical storm and a hurricane, and the intensities of hurricanes with this mini-unit from my Adopt-a-City Weather Unit (link).

Hurricane Resources:

  • Hurricane Notes (pdf) –
    • How are hurricanes named?
    • Which storm was more destructive, Katrina or Sandy?
  • Tracking Hurricanes (Google spreadsheets)
    • Choose any one Hurricane and plot it on the NOAA/NWS Atlantic Basin Hurricane Tracking Chart (pdf)
  • Practice latitude and longitude: plotting hurricanes worksheet (pdf)
  • Hurricane Isabel 2003: tracking and analysis of Hurricane Isabel (pdf)
  • BrainPOP Hurricanes Video (link) & Activity Sheets (link)
    • this website needs a subscription to view video and activity

View Current Activity using WunderMap: https://www.wunderground.com/wundermap/

  1. Layers: Click on Tropical – deselect any other layers to make map less cluttered for now
  2. Check the box next to Hurricanes/Typhoons to view activity for the US
    • The Legendtab will show Hurricane categories
    • There may not be any activity today
  3. Check the box next to Sea Surface Temperature to view ocean temperatures

Interactive Activities

  • Create-a-Cane (link)
  • Aim a Hurricane (link)
  • Hurricane Tracker (link)
  • How Hurricanes Form (link)
  • NatGeo – Forces of Nature (link)
  • Saffir-Simpson Scale (link) – What happens when a hurricane hits?

Additional Resources:

  • Hurricane Names (link)
  • NOAA/NWS Historical Hurricane Data (link) – Data for every Hurricanes, including maps
  • Weather Underground Hurricane Archive (link)
  • NOAA/NWS National Hurricane Center (link)
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Reading a Triple Beam Balance

Image: Ohaus Scale Reading Exercise
Image: Ohaus Scale Reading Exercise

Reading a Triple Beam Balance Worksheet (pdf) and Ohaus website (link)

This is a great interactive tutorial from Ohaus (link). Using the tutorial prior to using the triple beam balance in class significantly improved the student’s understanding of how to find, read, and record the mass of an object to the nearest 1/10th of a gram.

For the tutorial, each student works at their own pace and is given immediate feedback for each answer they submit. The problems are randomly generated and each student has a slightly different experience, as opposed to having each student answer the same set of problems. Students will also review place values for 100s, 10s, 1s, and 1/10ths. (Values for the 100ths place may appear in the answers, but students will only be assessed up to the 10ths place)

Here is nice video that gives a general overview on how to use the TBB:

Next Generation Science Standards, Science and Engineering Practices (SEP)

  • (SEP2) Practice 2 – Developing and Using Models
  • (SEP4) Practice 4 – Analyzing and Interpreting Data
  • (SEP5) Practice 5 – Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking

How are frequency, amplitude, and wavelength related?

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 7.28.13 PM

In this interactive tutorial, students can explore how frequency, amplitude, and wavelength are related. Students can create 16 different scenarios, make observations, & take notes for each scenario. What patterns did they notice? How does changing the frequency affect the wavelength? How does changing the amplitude affect the shape of the wave? What happens to the boat in each scenario?

Resources

  • Interactive website (link)
  • BrainPOP – Waves (link)
  • Study Jams – sound waves (link)

Interactive Weather Maker

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Adopt a City Task #9 (link)

How do air masses create weather?

  • Study Jams Video – Air Masses and Fronts (link)
  • Using this interactive website (link), find out how air masses interact to create different types of weather
  • Worksheet (pdf)

Charles Darwin Survival Game

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 11.11.19 AMWill your species survive for a million years? Will it survive a viral outbreak, meteorite impacts, predators, temperature changes, and changes in food sources?

In this natural selection simulation, students will choose 3 individuals as their starter population. What traits do they think will increase the chances of survival for their species? Long legs? Long necks? Stripes? Furry or bulky bodies? Only time will tell!

My 6th graders enjoyed playing this game and many were much more successful than I was 🙂

Links:

  • I removed the link, looks like you can’t play in online anymore, needs to be downloaded now and says might be harmful?
  • Natural Selection – how are traits passes on?
    • Click on Natural Selection in the menu options
  • Who wants to live a million years?
    • Click on Survival Game in the menu options

“Pour to Score” – Interactive Website for Volume

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 7.03.20 PM“Pour to Score” is an interactive website created by PBS. The objective of the game is to pour the water between the larger container and the smaller container to create 8 different volumes of water.

At first glance, it may seem like an easy exercise in addition and subtraction, but it requires problem solving skills, logic, and patience. My 5th graders have enjoyed using this game as part of our volume unit. Some students will figure out the pattern quickly, and advance to the next few levels, while for others, it will require trial and error, and perseverance.

Websites

  • Pour to Score (link)
  • Can you fill it? (link)  and Fill it Up (link)
    • Try to fill up the container in the least amount of moves, and without over filling
  • additional games from PBS (link)

‘Alien Juice Bar’ – Cabbage Juice and pH Values

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 11.29.30 AM

This classic interactive website is a great way to practice identifying acidic, basic, and neutral substances along with reading pH values. There are three different levels which increase in difficulty as the students complete each activity.

Challenge 1 – students have to identify and categorize the different ‘juices’ that they will serve to the aliens as either Acids, Bases, or Neutral.

Challenge 2 – students will practice serving requested juices to aliens, but if they serve a juice from the wrong category, aliens can become sick, or worse!

Challenge 3 – students have to change the pH values of the juices on the tray by either adding acids or bases to raise or lower the pH values.

Drawing Isotherms

NOAA_map_1-27-15

Looking at today’s weather map inspired me to dig out a lesson on reading and drawing isotherms. I haven’t taught weather in a very long time, but plan to in the spring, and was happy to see that this interactive website was still up and running (link) after all this time.

I really like this interactive tutorial for drawing isotherms because after a student has drawn their line, they can immediately check their work by comparing the line they drew to the line drawn by the computer. They have instant feedback and make adjustments if needed. Then they draw the correct line on their worksheet and try the next one using what they just learned.

After students are done with the online tutorial, they can try creating their own lines on a map of the USA for additional practice.