Analyzing Hurricanes Using Web and Desktop GIS

Analyzing Hurricanes Using Web and Desktop GIS Activity Source: ESRI, 2007. Adapted with permission. Background Hurricanes are among the most common and most destructive types of natural hazards on Earth. Because they occur across space and time, hurricanes can be better understood using maps, particularly digital maps within a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) environment. GIS allows you to use maps as analytical tools—not maps that someone else has made—but using your own maps to make decisions. [Read More]

Connect the Spheres

Connect the Spheres Activity Source: Adapted with permission by National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Global Precipitation Measurement Mission. This activity will provide you with an introduction to a series of lessons — Survivor Earth — about water resources on Earth. You’ll investigate Earth systems by making observations in nature and identifying systems in the natural world. Ultimately, you will understand how the four spheres, or systems, on Earth — biosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, and atmosphere — are interconnected. [Read More]

Dangerous Atmosphere

Dangerous Atmosphere Activity Source: Adapted with permission by The Weather Channel. Background How much of a danger does severe weather pose for the area where you live? You can compute the answer yourself in the exercise below. You may want to divide up tasks 6-13, one per student, and then compare results. Materials A computer with Internet access Paper and pen to record findings Procedure 1. Identify your state and county. [Read More]

Exploring Climate Change with GIS

Exploring Climate Change with GIS Activity Source: ESRI. Adapted with permission. Earth’s climate is a product of and is affected by many things—and it’s changing. Long-term and short-term processes, such as plate tectonics and volcanism, contribute to climate. Likewise, human influences, such as rising CO2 levels from fossil fuel burning and deforestation, play active roles. The expression of climate change is seen in a variety of forms: Erratic weather patterns and rising sea levels are among the most discussed. [Read More]

Hurricane Tracking

Hurricane Tracking Activity Source: Developed from the National Hurricane Center Website. Background Hurricanes are tropical storms that have a sustained wind speed greater than 74 miles per hour. They can deliver intense rainfall and record flooding. An average of 10 tropical storms develop in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea or Gulf of Mexico each year, and an average of six of these become hurricanes. In the western North Pacific, hurricanes are called typhoons, and similar storms in the Indian Ocean are called cyclones. [Read More]


Lightning Activity Source: Adapted from UCAR/NCAR Web Weather for Kids. Background Static electricity can be used to demonstrate the electricity of lightning. This activity will demonstrate the attraction of positive and negative charges and what happens when those opposite charges meet each other. Time Needed One class period Materials Needed Foam plate Thumbtack Pencil with new eraser Aluminum pie pan Small piece of wool fabric UCAR/NCAR Web Weather for Kids [Read More]

Make a Thunderstorm

Make a Thunderstorm Activity Source: Adapted from UCAR/NCAR Web Weather for Kids Background Even small thunderstorms are dangerous. Every thunderstorm produces lightning, which kills more people than tornadoes each year. Thunderstorms also cause heavy rain, flash flooding, hail, strong winds and tornadoes. When warm and cold air masses meet, a thunderstorm can grow. In this activity, you will learn about convection and how air moves. Time Needed One class period [Read More]

Sky and Cloud Windows

Sky and Cloud Windows Activity Source: The Weather Channel. Adapted with permission. Is today sunny or overcast? Is there wind, rain, or snow? No matter where you live, weather shapes your life. What’s happening in the sky can determine how you dress, what you eat, where you spend your time, and when you work—or play. The science of the sky encompasses Earth and space science (from the solar system to the water cycle), physical science (from heat and energy to motion and forces), and science in personal and social perspectives (from the environment to global climate change). [Read More]

Tree Rings and Ancient Climatic Conditions

Tree Rings and Ancient Climatic Conditions Activity Source: Adapted with permission by Archaeological Institute of America. How do archaeologists learn about climatic conditions and their effects on people in the past? In 1815, Mount Tambora in Indonesia erupted so violently that the sound of the eruption could be heard 1,600 miles away. Gases from the volcano shot into the stratosphere almost six miles above the Earth’s surface and lingered for years. [Read More]