Water Cycle - Weather (2)
Post Lab 

  • Exploring forecasting weather.
  • Discovering the four elements of weather.
  • air pressure
  • forecasting
  • moisture
  • temperature
  • weather lore

Students use rhymes to predict the weather..


Weather forecasting is the application of principles of math, physics, and statistics to try to "predict" the weather. Forecasts ranging from a few hours to about two days are referred to as short range forecasts. Long term forecasts are years in advance.

In the early days people did not rely on the newspapers or the weatherman because there were none. Many people used their observational skills to look for clues to predict the weather. Early mariners were especially aware of the changing weather. They noticed that forecasting weather is related to the phases of the moon, reactions of organisms including people, optical phenomena such as rainbows and halos, and certain weather sequences.

Common phrases like, "April Showers, Bring May Flowers," reveal that people where aware about the seasonality of changing weather. Older people always talk about their bones hurting means that there will be rain or a change in weather. The change in the direction of the wind may signal rain coming in some areas. Weather is very much part of our everyday lives.

  1. Discuss with students about weather lores after you read the poem, Weather Lores by Michael Dogerty. See if your students with the help of their parents can develop any more weather lores. The one’s below were sailor’s way of trying to forecast the weather.
  1. If there is a halo around the moon, it will rain. (This is true, because moisture in the air is seen as a halo from the moonlight.)
  2. Thunder in spring, cold will bring. (A pending cold front is approaching when this occurs.)
  3. Red sky in morning, sailor's warning.

    Red sky at night, sailors’ delight. (Red skies in the morning mean storms are coming, and red skies at night means calm seas. This is usually true along coastal areas.)
  4. Mackerel scales and mare’s tails
    Make loft ships carry low sails. (Since high clouds of a warm front are often the first visible sign of a storm, the proverb calls for ships to lower their sails.)
  5. Rain long foretold, long last.
    Short notice, soon past. (Signs of rain prior to a storm can predict how long the storm will last.)
  1. There are basically four elements of weather that can help describe weather. The four elements include  wind, temperature, air pressure and moisture. Discuss with students each of the elements. An anemometer measures wind speed; a thermometer measures temperature; a barometer measures air pressure; and rain gauge measures moisture.  If you have a school weather station or have these instruments, this would be a good time to show students.
  2. Have students bring in the weather maps from newspapers at home. Ask them to locate the "forecast" in this section. You may want to do this over a week or so, and see if the forecast is correct or not. Stress with your students that forecasting weather is very difficult.  You may want to use the Internet to show students how to find the weather by doing a search for your local area. 

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