Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Weather Math

Snow, Wind, Norway, Cabins, White  This morning while watching the news concerning flight delays due to weather, I wondered if there were any mathematical activities based on weather?  After a quick search I found somethings.

The Young Meteorologist site has some very nice math activities.   They have a weather graphing activity geared for 4th graders with a curriculum tie-in but it could easily be adjusted for older students.  Furthermore, it comes with a complete lesson plan that includes a chance for students to gather local information using various tools.  This is a nice science tie-in so it becomes a cross curricular activity.

Furthermore, there is an activity on Hurricane Math, PBS Weather math (grades 5 to 12), a weather calculator, and the weather data learning center for grades 3 to 5.  There are two other links that are out of date but I found a couple of other sites with the same type of materials.

UCAR out of Bolder CO has a nice web page of flood math.  They also have a nice site designed to create mathematical connections using science and patterns to explore weather.

Scholastic offers an online math game called Math Hunt  which is designed to teach students about meteorology while going through clues to solve mathematical problems.  The problems cover addition, subtraction, charts and graphs, conversions, decimals and percentages, multiplication and division, ratios and proportions. 

The EDN network has a nice in-depth article on the ways math is being used in weather called the math of meteorology.  It goes into nice detail about the variables used in weather, vectors, reading charts, etc.  This is a great article for upper level and honors students because it includes information on partial derivatives. 

In addition, there is a lovely power point presentation on how math is used in meteorology.  It is a more general presentation than the one through EDN but it does a wonderful job of explaining how various types of math such a geometry are used within meteorology.

This is the perfect topic to present as a combined unit with both the science and math departments.  Too often we teach our topics as isolated entities rather than actually working with other departments to create real cross curriculum units.  Imagine!  Meteorology is taught in Science, the math department provides the math, the English department can provide written reports while the media department could create daily weather reports as part of the school wide news.