Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Inspiring Curiosity with Cloud Shapes

Several weeks ago on Twitter someone posted a TED Talk. This TED Talk was by Gavin Pretor-Pinney: Cloudy with a Chance of Joy. Now why would I blog about that? Watch the TED Talk below and see what comes to your mind!


A couple of things that I really liked was when Gavin was talking about unplugging from everything and just laying back and watching the clouds. He talked about several cloud formations and that got me to thinking about different science standards and how they have to do with cloud shapes. Wouldn't showing this video be a good idea for introducing a unit on clouds? I think so!

The grade levels and the content standards are listed below:

7th Grade: 7.E.1.4 Predict weather conditions and patterns based on information obtained from:
  • Weather data collected from direct observations and measurement (wind speed and direction, air temperature, humidity and air pressure)

  • Weather maps, satellites and radar

  • Cloud shapes and types and associated elevation
5th Grade: 5.E.1 Understand weather patterns and phenomena, making connections to the weather in a particular place and time.
  •  5.E.1.3 Explain how global patterns such as the jet stream and water currents
    influence local weather in measurable terms such as temperature, wind
    direction and speed, and precipitation. 

Another great idea is using Wonderopolis. They have a great wonder of the day #591: What is a Lenticular Cloud?

One idea of how this could be used in the classroom would be as an introduction to your unit. Watch Gavin's TED Talk at the beginning of the unit, then give students an assignment to just look at the clouds they see (maybe over a weekend). They could also take pictures of these clouds to identify later. Another idea is after taking these pictures and identifying the different types of clouds, they could blog about the cloud and maybe mention what type of shape they saw in the clouds.

How will you see joy in the shapes of clouds?

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