Texas Instruments’ ‘Using Real World data’ booklet contains two projects for KS3 maths – ‘Compare the Weather’ and ‘Hurricane Force’. Although the instructions assume access to their software, the projects could easily be adapted.
An online, interactive lesson going from weather data collection through to forecasting from NGfL Cymru.
This project aims to extend students’ ideas and knowledge on correlation using the Weather Observations Website (WOW) website. It focuses on looking at the possible link between the weather and behaviour in schools
The project is more suited for KS4 pupils but a high ability KS3 class could probably cope with its content. It involves pupils drawing scatter graphs or using spreadsheets if they have access to computers.
The ideas here can be taught in a few lessons using these resources or they can be made into a mini project lasting longer.
Teachers can adapt the ideas to suit their needs and tasks can be extended.
For example pupils could design a survey to collect information on behaviour in their own school and gather local weather data using the WOW website. It has possible cross curricula links with maths.
To develop knowledge and understanding on correlation between two variables.
To investigate if there is a link between behaviour in schools and the weather.
To use the WOW website to gather data on past weather observations.
To design a survey to collect information on behaviour in your school.
To gain experience in recording data in tables and spreadsheets.
To build on pupils’ ability to draw and interpret graphs.
In this task you are going to analyse the weather data for a certain town and establish if there is a correlation between weather and behaviour. For instance, do pupils behave better or worse if it is windy?
The behaviour of the pupils was judged by their teachers over four weeks in the month of March and their behaviour was given a score by their teachers on a 1 to 8 scale.
The behaviour scale is determined by the teacher with 1 being excellent behaviour from the class and 8 being behaviour that is seen to be unacceptable from that class for that teacher.
No interruptions from the class
Very few interruptions to the lesson
When they are completing their own work some pupils get distracted
A few pupils start to distract each other and lose focus for longer periods
Level of noise starts to increase and more off task behaviour is seen
Pupils are distracted from their work and find it difficult to work
Lots of interruptions to the lesson from a range of pupils both in their own work and when listening to the teacher
Constant interruptions to the lesson, unable to work in the lesson
Ask the students to use the worksheet to draw a graph. If time and resources permit they can gather their own data from WOW. Alternatively they can use the data from the completed worksheet.
[the WOW website has changed a little since these instructions were written but it should be clear how to access the data]
1. Go to the WOW website address and search for station 3034 or St-Athan.
2. Click on the St-Athan weather station on the map.
3. Click on ‘View Full Observation’.
4. Click on the Graph tab.
5. Click on the ‘Show Filters’ tab and then the ‘Filter Options’ drop down box. Select ‘Air Temperature’ and ‘Wind Speed’, set the date range to the first week of observations, then click Update Graph.
5. To obtain the wind speed readings – go to the correct day and estimate the wind speed reading at 12:00. Fill this in the table of results.
The reading on 27/07/2020 at 12:00 is 9 mph. So write 9 mph for the wind speed.
6. Repeat this for each day of the week and then reset the date range for the next week. Do this by clicking the ‘Show Filters’ tab and then the ‘Filter Options’ drop down box, then ‘Update graph’.
Collect data and analyse mode, mean and median, range, interquartile range and standard deviation
Introduction: There are many words and many descriptions for different types of rain: fine rain, heavy rain, pelting down, mizzling. In fact the BBC news magazine has an article entitled “Fifty words for rain”. But how big is a rain drop? Does the size vary depending upon the time of year or the type of rain?
Aim: To collect data, manipulate data and analyse data to calculate and compare the size of raindrops.
A platform of area of about 0.5m2 with edges.
Enough flour to cover the platform to a depth of about 3cm
An accurate measuring device, e.g. electronic sliding callipers.
Collecting the data
Cover the platform with the flour.
Place the platform in the rain for about 90 seconds, long enough for about 200 raindrops to hit the platform.
Use your measuring device to measure the diameter of the raindrops and record the data.
Manipulating, analysing, displaying and interpreting the data
There follows a number of suggestions of how the data can be used depending upon the ability of the students.
1. Calculate the mode, mean and median diameter of raindrop. Which is the most appropriate measure to use? Compare results from different groups.
2. Group the data into appropriate groups. Represent the data using histograms. Discuss whether it is appropriate to have all the groups the same size of vary the size of the groups. Compare the results from different groups. Compare data collected at different times of year if possible.
3. Calculate the spread of the data using range, interquartile range and standard deviation.
4. Discuss different methods of displaying the data. Is the data discrete or continuous? Should a bar chart or a histogram be used? This activity is ideal for discussing when a histogram should be used and the reasons for using a histogram.
5. Draw box plots to show the distribution of the data. Compare the spread of different data sets. What does this information tell us?
6. Write a report comparing the size of raindrops.
Depression based exercise where students draw contours of temperature, pressure and precipitation to work out what the system looks like: Student worksheets and notes for teachers. Simpler versions of the same exercise can be found on the KS3/4 web pages.
(a) Go to the UK data pages and complete the table below for London and the nearest weather station to your school.
(b) Now visit the world data pages and fill in the values for Adelaide (Mediterranean), Barrow (polar) and Singapore (tropical).
(c) Suggest reasons that explain these differences in temperature and general weather conditions.
Nearest UK location
You are a travel writer for a national newspaper. Your Editor has asked you to write the weather section for a special supplement the newspaper is publishing for readers planning a short-break holiday this weekend to various British towns and cities. The Editor wants you to cover Bournemouth, Aberdeen and Jersey.
(a) Consult the rolling archive of data for the weather stations in Bournemouth, Aberdeen and Jersey to gain an idea of weather conditions over the past 48 hours. The data for 0600, 1200, 1800 and 2400 will help you. Write a paragraph describing the conditions at each of the stations.
(b) Now use the forecast charts for the UK to see what the weather might be like for the next couple of days at each station. Write another paragraph describing the future weather conditions at each of the stations.
3. European forecast
(a) Complete the table below using the most recent data in the world data pages for the weather stations at Barcelona and Moscow.
(c) Now consult the forecast charts(T+12 onwards) for Europe, and write a short weather forecast for each station, covering the likely changes to the weather conditions over the next 24 hours.
4. Climate zones
(a) Consult the world data pages and fill in the temperature information in a table for each of the weather stations in the polar, temperate and tropical climatic zones.
(b) Use an atlas to find the latitude of each weather station and add these values to the table.
(c) Now use this data to draw a scattergraph, plotting latitude along the horizontal axis, allowing for locations in both the northern and southern hemispheres along the same axis. Then add temperature on the vertical axis, remembering to allow for negative values on your vertical axis.
(d) Describe the general pattern that your scattergraph shows.
***NEW*** – data and GIS exercise for A Level students
Explore leaf area, evapotranspiration and temperature data using various statistical techniques to explore the relationship between deforestation and weather on this resource on the RGS website.
Activity 1: Ask students to write a voiceover for the film, demonstrating their understanding of the concepts involved.
Activity 2: Complete this sentence based on the film: When rainforests are deforested, places downwind are left with more/ less/ the same amount of rainfall and greater/ less/ the same amount of flood risk.
Activity 3: Look at www.globalforestwatch.org/map and identify a Tropical region which has experienced deforestation in the last decade. Look at earth.nullschool.net. What is the prevailing wind direction in that region? Using www.google.com/maps, write a paragraph explaining how you think the water cycle has been affected by deforestation for a place downwind from the rainforest region you identified.
Activity 5: Having watched the animation, read these articles from Nature and NASA (noting that this predates the Nature article), NASA (2019), Geography Review (p22 – 25) and Carbon Brief. Summarise the impact of tropical deforestation on the carbon and water cycles.
Trees can tell stories about past climates. Scientists can decode the pattern of a tree’s growth rings to learn which years were warm or cool, and which were wet or dry. Scientists combine the ring patterns in living trees with wood from trees that lived long ago, such as the wood found in old logs, wooden furniture, buildings like log cabins, and wooden ships, in order to build a longer historical record of climate than the lifespan of a single tree can provide.
You can decode tree ring data to learn about past climates using the simulation above. Line up tree ring patterns to reveal temperatures in the past. The simulation has two versions. The standard version is the best place to start. The custom version for schools in the United Kingdom was created to go along with a specific curriculum. It has a longer timeline and includes information about some historical events.
The process scientists use to build a climate history timeline has an extra step that, for the sake of simplicity, is not represented in this simulation. When scientists decode long climate records from tree ring patterns, they don’t physically line up the tree core samples next to each other. Instead, they make graphs called skeleton plots for each sample. They combine the skeleton plots from many samples to build a climate history timeline.
Data source for this simulation The tree ring data in this simulation is from oak trees in southern England. The data, from the UK Oak Project, was collected from living trees, logs in bogs, beams and rafters in old buildings, old wooden furniture, and wall paintings in a farmhouse dating back to 1592. One sample came from the windlass – the wooden crank used to raise and lower a castle’s gate – of the Byward Tower in the Tower of London.
Collect tree ring samples, align the samples to create a 300 year record and see what weather and climate events emerge here.
Outline Students are to traverse a network in the most efficient manner possible. Consider different information to influence their decisions on the best route to take.
Objectives By the end of the lesson:
All student will analyse a network and select the most efficient route Most students will analyse a network and select the most sensible route using additional information Some students will consider three factors to select the most sensible route at the most appropriate timing
Main Body Pupils should be given the road network worksheet and information sheet.
Activity 1 The objective for the pupils is to plan a route for the driver of a gritting lorry. Pupils use the information and the map to find the quickest route that allows all roads to be covered at least once. The path should begin and end at the depot (it is not possible to complete the route without overlapping). Pupils should add up the time taken to complete their chosen route and best solutions discussed. Note: some roads are A roads some B.
Activity 2 Pupils are now given the road temperature forecast graphs. The best time to spread grit salt is just before the road temperature freezes (discuss with pupils why this might be). Pupils should use the information given about the freezing time for each road to plot the best route for the gritter to take now.
Extension Activity When a group have found their optimum route they should then use the timing cards from activity 1 to establish how long their route will take and decide what time the driver should start work/take breaks etc.
Plenary Discuss how additional information can change the decisions you make.
Outline The main activity is essentially a simulation of County Council decision making when roads are forecast to freeze. Pupils use temperature forecasts from the Met Office to decide how much salt to spread on the roads and calculate the cost.
Objectives By the end of the lesson:
All student will use the information from a graph and translate into a response using a key. Most students will evaluate the decisions made in light of additional information.
Starter Discuss the effects of icy roads, videos of cars skidding from YouTube can be used to illustrate the point.
What are the impacts? Tease out responses of the costs in terms of financial, for example: social costs (costs to NHS/Police), economic costs (lost productivity of workers having time off) and personal costs (damage of car). Make the point that with costs like these it is worth gritting to reduce the impacts.
Pupils (working in pairs) to be given the road gritting planning sheet.
Pupils should use the gritting flowchart (based on a real life plan used by the councils) to decide how much grit should be spread by the council each night following the forecasts given. Pupils should be reminded that weather forecasts are forecasts of what is expected to happen and that conditions might change meaning reality is a little different.
Give the pupils the forecast information sheet.
Go through the first example showing forecast temperature, allowing students to decide what quantity of grit to use and then actual temperature, review this decision.
Using the forecasts for the next few days allow students to assess each day and work out the cost of grit for the week.
Once pupils have successfully assessed the cost of their choice for each day the actual temperature graph for that day can be revealed.
Plenary Discuss the difference in choices, and the impact that pupils felt they made by their choices.