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What Makes Weather? 
● Phenomenon:​ phenomenon is something that happens in the natural world which
people can observe, such as weather.

● Lesson 1 Phenomenon: ​There are different types of weather.


○ Meteorologist:​ A scientist who studies weather and weather patterns. ​They

study the atmosphere, use tools and observations to understand the earth's
atmosphere and to forecast or predict how the earth's atmosphere will interact
with and affect life on our planet.
■ Not all meteorologists are on TV or on the radio; government is one of
the largest employers of meteorologists; predict and understand extreme
and dangerous weather.
○ Earth:​ Our planet, where we live, Earth experiences different types of natural
○ Temperature:​ How warm or cool something is.
○ Wind: ​Wind is air in motion. It is produced by the uneven heating of the earth’s
surface by the sun. Since the earth’s surface is made of various land and water
formations, it absorbs the sun’s radiation unevenly. Two factors are necessary to
specify wind: speed and direction.
○ Weather:​ What the atmosphere is like at a certain time and place.
○ Atmosphere:​ T​he layer of gas that surrounds Earth. It is often called air. The
atmosphere consists of several different gases. The gases are held close to Earth
by a force called gravity, water vapor is one of those gases.
■ Humidity ​Phenomenon​:​ The amount of water vapor in the air, there is
moisture in the air. It helps cooling and heating the atmosphere.

How Is Temperature Measured? 
● Lesson 2 Phenomenon: Some days are hotter than others.
● Vocabulary
○ Weather Station:​ A set of equipment that measures temperature, precipitation,
and other weather information.
○ Thermometer: ​A tool that measures temperature using two different scales
(Celsius and Fahrenheit). Many thermometers have a very narrow tube with a
bulge, called a bulb, at the bottom. In your thermometer, you’ll see a red liquid
in the tube and bulb. A thermometer is read by looking to see the marking that
the top of the liquid is closest to.
■ Can use a thermometer to measure temperature as in weather outside,
but what are other uses for a thermometer?
● Concepts
○ You use a thermometer to measure the temperature.
○ Many bulb thermometers work using the expansion of a water and alcohol
mixture. You read the marking on the scale at the height of the liquid. Spring
thermometers have a metal part inside that moves a pointer as the temperature
rises or falls. The pointer shows the temperature.
○ Scientists often use graphs to represent data, even though they record data in
data tables. Graphs make seeing patterns in data much easier. You use patterns
to predict weather. They also allow you to fit more data into a smaller space. All
of these make graphs good for communicating data to others.


How Is Wind Measured? 

● Lesson 3 Phenomenon:​ ​Some days are windy, and some days are not.


○ Wind:​ ​air in motion. It is produced by the uneven heating of the earth’s

surface by the sun. Since the earth’s surface is made of various land and
water formations, it absorbs the sun’s radiation unevenly. Two factors
are necessary to specify wind: speed and direction.

○ Anemometer:​ A tool that measures wind speed​. It is usually made of

several small cups attached to a vertical shaft. This is called a cup
anemometer. As wind causes the cups and shaft to turn, the speed of
turning can be used to calculate wind speed. This can be shown as a
numerical readout.

○ Wind Vane ​(also called a weather vane)​: ​A tool for measuring wind
direction and was probably one of the first weather instruments ever
used. To determine wind direction, a wind vane spins and points in the
direction from which the wind is coming and generally has two parts, or
ends: one that is usually shaped like an arrow and turns into the wind and
one end that is wider so that it catches the breeze. The arrow will point
to the direction the wind is blowing from so if it is pointing to the east, it
means the wind is coming from the east.

○ Windsock:​ A truncated cloth cone mounted on a mast; used (e.g., at

airports) to show the direction of the wind.

● Concepts:
○ Wind Direction:​ Wind that blows from north to south is called a north
wind, wind from the south the the north is called a south wind.
○ Warm Air vs Cool Air:​ The sun heats Earth’s surface unevenly. Warm air
tends to float and rise. Cool air sinks or stays low. Cool air moves in to
replace the rising warm air. This movement creates wind.
○ Wind Direction: ​Winds are described by the direction they blow from,
not the direction they blow to. A west wind comes from the west.
○ How Wind Forms: ​The sun heats Earth’s surface. The sun heats the
surface in some places more than others. Where the surface gets hot,
warm air rises. Then cold air comes in from the side to replace it. This
movement of the air is called wind.
○ Wind Patterns:​ Winds normally blow from cooler areas to warmer areas.
Some wind patterns are local, others are global. Near the ocean, land
warms the air during the day. Cooler ocean air blows onto land. At night
the pattern is reversed. The land cools and the ocean is warmer. Air
moves from land out to the sea. The United States is traversed by
prevailing westerlies, winds that blow from west to east.
○ Wind ​is the fastest growing source of electricity in the world. It's often
one of the least expensive forms of renewable power available.
How Are Rain and Snow Measured? 
● Lesson 4 Phenomenon: Rain sometimes falls on cloudy days.

● Vocabulary
○ Radar: ​A tool that is used to find far away objects in the air and measure their
distance or speed. Weather radar finds and tracks weather patterns.
○ Drought: ​When not enough rain falls for a long period of time.
○ Evaporation: ​When liquid water changes to water vapor.
○ Precipitation: ​Water that falls to the ground in the form of rain, snow, or sleet.
All precipitation is measured in height. It is often measured in inches,
centimeters, or millimeters. To measure rain, the rain is captured in a container.
The height of the rain in the container is measured. Snow stays on the ground, so
you can measure it directly with a meter stick or ruler.
○ Rain gauge: ​A tool that measures rainfall. It is used to collect and measure rain
water. Scientists can look at the amount of water in the tube every day. This lets
them accurately measure the amount of rain that falls during a given amount of

● Concepts
○ Rain, sleet, and snow are different types of precipitation.
○ All precipitation is measured in height. It is often measured in inches,
centimeters, or millimeters.
○ Rain gauges measure rainfall by capturing all the rain that falls in a certain area
and measuring the height.
○ Rainfall data was represented in tables and graphs. Recording data in tables was
very easy. We made the table beforehand and knew exactly where to record
each new piece of data. But it is hard to see patterns and trends in tables.
○ Graphing the data makes the patterns and trends more obvious. It helps you
analyze the data, and also makes it easier to explain the trends in the data to
someone else. 

What is Air Pressure? 
● Lesson 5 Phenomenon: Air Pressure affects the weather.

● Vocabulary:
○ Air pressure:​ the result of the weight of a column of air pushing down on an
area. It is the ​weight of air molecules pressing down on the Earth.
○ Barometer:​ ​measures air pressure. It tells you whether or not the pressure is
rising or falling. A rising barometer means sunny and dry conditions, while a
falling barometer means stormy and wet conditions.

● Concepts:
○ Low Air Pressure: Caused by rising air from the Earth’s surface. Wind’s circulate
rapidly inward and upward, as air rises and cools clouds and precipitation form.
○ High Air Pressure: Caused by sinking air at the Earth’s Surface, suppresses
weather development which leads to calm, clear, sunny conditions. However it
can also lead to fog or low cloud coverage.
○ Air naturally wants to flow from high pressure to low pressure, combined with
the natural rotation of the Earth, areas of different pressure create wind.

How Are Weather and Climate Related? 
● Lesson 6 Phenomenon: Different places on Earth have different climates.

● Vocabulary
○ Climate: ​An area’s typical weather over a long period of time. Tropical,
temperate, and polar are examples of types of climate.
■ Temperate climate​: Both warm or cool. They can be dry or rainy. They
usually have four seasons.
■ Tropical climates​: High temperatures that do not change much all year
long. Some places with tropical climates are rainy, but others have long
dry seasons.
■ Polar climates​: Very cold. The land is covered with snow or ice for most
of the year, but some of these place are also very dry.
○ Equator:​ An imaginary line around Earth, midway between the North and South
poles. Places close to the equator have tropical climates.
○ Desert:​ An area with a dry climate. Typically, there are rocks, sand, and dry
bushes. It hardly rains. There are few plants and no rivers. The weather is almost
always dry. It is very hot during the day and sometimes freezing cold at night.
This is known as a desert climate.

● Concepts
○ Weather is what the atmosphere is like at a certain time and place. Climate is an
area’s expected weather over a long period of time.
○ Scientists collect weather data in a region. They look at many years of weather
data to determine a region’s climate.
○ There are many types of climate around the world. Places with tropical climates
can be rainy or dry, but they have warm temperatures all year long. Places with
temperate climates have temperatures that change with the seasons. Places
with polar climates are cold all year long.
○ In order to learn about climate in a place in the world, you read about the
location and about the type of climate your location has. You also analyzed data
about temperature and precipitation in the location.

How Does Extreme Weather Affect People? 
● Lesson 7 ​Phenomenon: Extreme weather can cause damage.

● Vocabulary:
○ Extreme Weather: ​Temperature, wind, and water can come together to create
powerful storms. Different climates experience different types of storms.
Planning ahead for storms can keep people safer during and after an extreme
weather event.
○ Thunderstorms: ​Thunderstorms are strong storms that bring wind, rain, thunder,
and lightning. They form when warm air flows up. Thunderstorms can happen all
over the world. To remain safe during a thunderstorm, remain indoors and stay
away from tall objects.
○ Hurricanes:​ Hurricanes are large spinning storms that carry heavy rain and
strong winds. They form over a tropical ocean and are larger than
thunderstorms. Hurricanes can cause flooding. To prepare for a hurricane, put
away objects that can be picked up by strong winds, have a flashlight with fresh
batteries on hand, and stay indoors, preferably inland away from the coasts.
○ Tornadoes: ​Tornadoes are powerful, quickly spinning air masses. They are much
smaller and much faster than hurricanes. Many tornadoes form during
thunderstorms. Most tornadoes in the United States strike the Great Plains.
Preparing for a tornado can be difficult because they can form with little
warning. To remain safe during a tornado, go to a basement or a room without
○ Blizzards:​ Blizzards are long-lasting snowstorms. They typically have low
temperatures and gusty winds. In the United States, blizzards most often occur
in the Midwest and Northeast. To remain safe during a blizzard, remain indoors.
○ Dust Storms and Wildfires:​ Dust storms are big, blowing clouds of dust. They
form when dry soil is picked up by wind. Wildfires are large fires in a forest or
grassland. Both occur in dry areas. Wildfires can spread quickly. To remain safe
during a wildfire, people may have to leave the vicinity.