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Lesson Title: What Influences Planetary Weather?
November 3, 2011

Unit: Earth and Space Science - Weather

Grade Levels: 7-9

Connection To Curriculum: Earth Science and Astronomy

Teacher Prep Time: 1 hour

Complexity Basic


Coriolis Effect
For each group of students a turntable that can be spun both ways, paper tape, three colored markers. A "Lazy Susan" can be substituted for a turntable.
Atmospheric, Geology and Design a Planet
Computers with Internet access

This lesson combines a series of activities to provide students with an understanding of the dynamics of weather on planets.

Students will:
• Create a simulation to model how the principles of the Coriolis effect influence weather patterns on a planet with gaseous atmospheres.
• Research the characteristics of what makes a planet habitable by engaging in a Web-based interactive game.

First page of What Influences Planetary Weather?

Lesson Guide
What Influences Planetary Weather? Lesson
[75KB PDF file]



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Lesson Activities and Sequence

  1. Coriolis Effect
    Demonstrate the true and apparent motions of objects as they move across the real Earth.
  2. Atmospheric, Geology, and Design a Planet
    Explore what makes a world habitable. This interactive website allows students to determine what makes a planet habitable and hospitable for life.

National Standards:

National Science Education Standards, NSTA
Earth and Space Science
• Origin and evolution of the earth system.
• Structure of the earth system.
• Earth in the solar system.

History and Nature of Science
• Science as a human endeavor.

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, NCTM
Ratios and Proportional Relationships
• Analyze proportional relationships and use them to solve real-world and mathematical problems.

Expressions and Equations
• Understand the connections between proportional relationships, lines and linear equations.

National Geographic Society
The World in Spatial Terms
• How to use mental maps to organize information about people, places and environments in a spatial context.

ISTE NETS and Performance Indicators for Students, ISTE
Creativity and Innovation
• Apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products or processes.

Critical Thinking, Problem Solving and Decision Making
• Use multiple processes and diverse perspectives to explore alternative solutions.


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