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Middle School Curriculum

Back in 1963 when LAB-AIDS® shipped its first kit, we had a vision, to revolutionize the middle school classroom with one of the first inquiry-based approaches to learning science through hands-on activity. More Info

Weather and Climate | NGSS

Weather and Climate | NGSS

~30-35 40 to 50 minute class periods

How does the weather affect people and how do people affect the climate?
Students analyze weather, climate, and factors affecting them through the eyes of scientists who study Earth’s weather and atmosphere. They also investigate the links between human activity and changes in global climate.

PE Assessment Example: Your friend claims that there is nothing that humans can do about global warming since Earth’s temperature is always slowly rising. a. Do you agree or disagree with your friend? Support your answer with evidence from this activity, and explain your reasoning. b. What other data, or evidence, would you like in order to better evaluate your friend’s claim?

Weather and Climate is part of Issues and Science three year middle school program, designed by SEPUP at the Lawrence Hall of Science. This six to seven week unit anchors the lessons around the the socio-science issue: How does the weather affect people and how do people affect the climate? Investigative phenomena within the 17 activities connect back to the issue and storyline. This unit builds towards and assesses PEs ESS2-5, ESS2-6, ESS3-5, ETS1-3.


Content in Weather and Climate | NGSS is organized into 17 activities, as follows:

Activity Title Activity Type Activity Overview
1. Climate Change Talking it Over Students examine various events linked to climate change. They develop questions about climate change to guide their learning through the unit. Later in the unit, they use evidence in explaining how each event is related to climate change.
2. Investigating Local Weather Investigation Students use a weather website (or other published resource) to obtain weather data for their local area. They record several key weather observations from 5 consecutive days; find the mean, median, and mode values for each of their data sets, and discuss the benefits and drawbacks of using each of the three types of averages. They then obtain local monthly weather averages and use these to compute seasonal data. They graph the seasonal data and then compare their 5-day averages to monthly and seasonal data.
3. Local History of Severe Weather Project Students design and conduct a survey to learn about the history of weather disasters in the local area. They consider whether there is evidence that the incidence of severe weather has changed over time.
4. Climate Types and Distribution Patterns Problem Students use a literacy strategy known as a DART (directed activity related to text) to organize the information about different climates (dry, tropical, etc.). They identify their local climate and compare their personal observations and seasonal weather averages to the climate description. Students then examine climate graphs for three different regions and use the graphs to identify each region’s climate. The class discusses the relationship between climate and weather
5. Earth's Surface Problem Students use a gridded world map to estimate the amounts of Earth’s surface covered by water and land. They then label major land masses and bodies of water for use later in the unit. As a class, they calculate the mean, median, and mode of their estimates to help determine an “accepted value” for the class.
6. Heating Earth's Surfaces Laboratory Students plan and carry out an experiment to measure how the sun’s energy heats land and water as well as how quickly both of those substances cool. An Anticipation Guide elicits students’ current ideas about the warmth of land and water and reinforces the idea that differences in heating and cooling of land and water are important factors in determining climate.
7. Ocean Temperatures Problem Students investigate the range of mean ocean surface temperatures around the globe. They map and discuss patterns of surface temperatures in particular regions of the oceans. Members of each small group then merge their findings and summarize global patterns.
8. Investigating Water Modeling Students investigate the mixing of cold water with warm water, and fresh water with salt water. They learn that the denser water (cold and/or salty) sinks below the less dense water (warm and/or fresh). They relate their classroom observations to the movement of water of different temperatures and salinity in the ocean.
9. Oceans and Climate Role Play Students learn more about how oceans affect climate. They participate in a role play in which the characters discuss the history of the identification of the Gulf Stream and how modern technology is used to gather ocean data. An Intra-act literacy strategy helps guide discussion about the ideas presented in the role play.
10. The Causes of Climate Reading Students read about more factors affecting climate, including the sun’s energy. A literacy strategy helps students comprehend the ideas presented in the text.
11. Worldwide Wind Investigation Students use a computer simulation to identify the most common wind direction in a particular location. They share their data with the class and construct a map of global wind patterns.
12. Measuring Wind Speed and Direction Design Students are introduced to the Beaufort wind force scale and its development. They use the engineering design process as they design, build, and test instruments for measuring wind speed and direction. After improving their instruments, they use them to collect wind data.
13. Forecasting Weather Investigation Students work together to interpret a weather map and construct a weather report. Each group then presents a weather report to the class. Students use this information to forecast the next day’s weather
14. Atmosphere and Climate Reading Students read about the relationships among Earth’s atmosphere, its circulation patterns, weather, and climate. A literacy strategy helps them comprehend the ideas presented in the text.
15. History of Earth's Atmosphere Investigation Students place in chronological order eight cards describing the history of Earth’s atmosphere. With these cards they examine the relative amounts of carbon dioxide and oxygen gases at different times in Earth’s history, and the role of living organisms in determining the composition of the atmosphere.
16. Global Warming Investigation Students analyze graphs of historical data related to global warming and climate change, examining the influence of both natural and human-related factors.
17. People, Weather, and Climate Talking it Over Students role play atmospheric scientists, climatologists, hydrologists, and meteorologists who analyze data summarizing weather, climate, water usage, and atmospheric conditions for the fictional Sunbeam City. Students consider the possible link between population growth and changes in local weather, atmosphere, and water availability. They then make recommendations about ways to reduce humans’ impact on local conditions.

Lab-Aids® provides several useful tools to guide you and your students through the Weather and Climate unit:

Weather and Climate | NGSS

Student Book

The Student Book guides students in exploring a socio-science issue and connected phemonena through a series of varied activity types. Activity types use one of twelve different instructional strategies to apply Science and Engineering Practices to specific Disciplinary Core Ideas and Cross Cutting Concepts.

SEPUP's integrated literacy strategies help students process new science content, develop their analytical skills, make connections between related concepts, and express their knowledge orally and in writing. The built-in assessment system helps teachers identify students' strengths and weaknesses from the beginning of the unit. This allows them to adjust activities when needed so that all students get the best chance to build their knowledge and appreciation of science. At the back of the Student Book there is an Appendix containing additional resources for students, such as science skills, literacy strategies, and media literacy among others.

Weather and Climate | NGSS

Lab-Aids® Science Lab Notebook

A science notebook not only models the way scientists work, but it helps to develop and reinforce students’ science learning and literacy skills.

The Lab-Aids Science Lab Notebook is designed to support best practice note-booking strategies. It includes three-hole punched pages in a two-column design for Cornell-style notes. GraphAnywhere pages allow students to both write and easily create data-tables and graphs anywhere on the page. The unique “Lab-Log” column serves as a blank canvas for drawings, connections, and self-reflective notes. 160 pages total.

Weather and Climate | NGSS

Complete Equipment Package

Lab-Aids programs include high-quality equipment for each activity. This includes innovative lab-ware to be used throughout the year, specific solutions and materials for unique labs, as well as items needed for card sorts, modeling, role-plays, and projects.

Materials for up to 5 classes of 32 students, mobile storage cart, Online Portal for one teacher includes online subscription to Teacher Edition and Resources, Student Book in English/Spanish (E/S), student sheets (E/S), visual aids (E/S), PowerPoints, online assessment system, LABsent, and supplemental resources)

Weather and Climate | NGSS

Teacher Edition and Resources

The SEPUP Teacher Edition (TE) guides you through each activity in the Student Book and helps you see the development of concepts within the big picture of the unit. It helps you set up the equipment from the kit, organize the classroom, conduct activities, and manage practical details, all of which enhance students’ learning environment.

The Teacher Edition text is broken down into several sections, such as Activity Overview, NGSS Connections and Correlations, Materials and Advanced Prep, Teaching Summary, and Background information to name a few. The Teacher Edition is packaged as a color-printed, loose-leaf binder which allows you to personalize it with highlighting, annotations, rearrangements, and insertions. It provides full support for teaching the program. Additional support resources can also found in the Teacher Resource book.

The Teacher Resource (TR) provides background and suggestions to increase the overall effectiveness of implementing the program across all levels of learners. Some sections include: SEPUP’s Approach to Teaching and Learning, Differentiation Strategies for Diverse Learners, Literacy Strategies for Supporting Reading Comprehension and for Enhancing Students’ Writing, and comprehensive instruction on the SEPUP Assessment System. There is also a section containing unit specific resources, such as overviews, unit storyline and phenomena table, NGSS correlations, assessment blueprints, and item banks.

Online Portal for Students

Access to Student online portal for 1 year, which includes: the digital Student Book (Spanish coming soon), additional resources, and LABsent sheets and videos for absent students. Ability to highlight, bookmark and make notes in the Student Book, complete homework and assessments, and communicate with the teacher. Also available as multi-year subscriptions.

Online Portal for Teachers

Access to Teacher online portal for 1 year, which includes: online subscription to the Teacher Edition and Resources, Student Book (Spanish coming soon), LABsent sheets & videos for absent students, Editable PowerPoints for each lesson, and integrated online assessment system. Ability to highlight, bookmark, and make notes in personal Student and Teacher books, create and assign homework and assessments, and communicate with students. Available as multi-year subscriptions. Single Sign-On (SSO) available

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