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.
(b) Use the latest European analysis synoptic pressure chart (T+0) to explain the current weather for each station.(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.5. 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.
Urban Heat Islands: a three lesson fieldwork resource, using a class set of simple digital thermometers to make a temperature map of the school’s catchment area. The lessons cover Urban Heat Island background information, fieldwork planning and data collection, display and analysis. Teachers notes and PowerPoints 1, 2 and 3.
Unit 3: The Difference between Weather and Climate
On this map of the world , ask the students to write on the following country names in green: UK, New Zealand, North Carolina (USA) and Uruguay; the following countries in yellow Arizona (USA), Namibia, Mali, Saudi Arabia and Western Australia; and the following countries in red Indonesia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Colombia and Hawaii– what pattern can they see? [according to the standard Köppen classification, the green countries have a temperate or cold climate without a dry season, the yellow countries a Dry (desert or semi-arid climate) and the red countries a Tropical climate]
Isotherm and Isobar drawing exercise based on a depression: student worksheet. A simpler version of the T/ isotherm map can be found here or the full version including solutions may be found on the A level page.
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.
An interactive introduction to weather systems and fronts from NGfL Cymru.
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.
Prior learning A basic knowledge of averages would be useful. The ability to use Excel if computers are used, or the ability to draw line graphs from data.
Objectives By the end of the lesson:
Students will demonstrate that the temperatures in England are rising Students will produce a report to justify their findings using graphs and charts where necessary
Look at the graphs. Discuss what the graphs might be showing. If each one is showing the same thing, what could they be? (Use negative axis to help – they show temperatures over a 10 year period)
What time of the year or where in the world might they be showing? Students to discuss:
B – summer (July)
C – winter (January)
A and D are yearly averages
The Met Office has records of temperature in England. When do you think they started recording temperatures? (1659 is when they recorded a temperature for the country called the Central England Temperature (CET))
Discuss differences between earlier recordings and 1671 then 1699 (reading become more accurate so decimals were used). From the graphs that you have looked at over four different 10 year periods can you tell if temperatures are rising? (No)
Look at the worksheet. Here is a sample of temperatures from one 10 year period. Assign each pair/group to draw the graph for an individual month’s temperatures over the 10 years (x-axis is year, y-axis is temperature).
Once graphs are drawn encourage pupils to think about the questions at the bottom of the page.
Plenary Discuss results of graphs and questions.
Lesson resources Central England Temperatures
These monthly mean temperatures are representative of a roughly triangular area of the United Kingdom enclosed by Lancashire, London and Bristol. The monthly series, which begins in 1659, is the longest available instrumental record of temperatures in the world. Live data of Central England Temperatures are available here.