Grade Level/Unit Number: 7th grade/Unit 3 II: Unit Title: Weather & Atmosphere

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I. Grade Level/Unit Number: 7th grade/Unit 3
II: Unit Title: Weather & Atmosphere
III. Unit Length: 34 days
IV. Essential concepts (major goals & learning outcomes)

  • What do you think air is made of?

  • What is the composition of air?

  • Is ozone good or bad for you, or both?

  • What essential gases make up the atmosphere?

  • What are the characteristics of each layer of the atmosphere?

  • What are point sources air pollution?

  • What are and non-point sources of pollution?

  • How does weather affect our daily lives?

  • How is weather predictable?

  • What are the various ways we study weather?

  • How is air quality monitored and measured?

  • How is air quality communicated to the public?

  • How do humans impact air quality?

  • What are some ways to reduce air pollution?

  • What are the financial and economic trade-offs affecting air quality?

  • How does technology help us better predict weather conditions?

  • How do humans impact the atmosphere and natural resources?

  • Why is it necessary to study, collect data, and communicate information about the atmosphere?

  • What evidence do we have that supports the concept of global warming?

  • How do people effect the climate?

  • How does the ozone quality affect our daily lives?

  • What is the difference between weather and climate?

V. Objectives Included:



RBT tag


Identify and create questions and hypotheses that can be answered through scientific investigations.



Develop appropriate experimental procedures for student and teacher generated questions.



Apply safety procedures in the laboratory and in the field studies:

  • Recognize potential hazards.

  • Safely manipulate materials and equipment.

  • Conduct appropriate procedures.



Analyze variables in scientific investigations:

  • Identify dependent and independent.

  • Use of control.

  • Manipulate.

  • Describe relationships between.

  • Define operationally.

A3, A4


Analyze evidence to:

  • Explain observations.

  • Make inferences and predictions.

  • Develop the relationship between evidence and explanation.

A3, A4


Use mathematics to gather, organize, and present quantitative data resulting from scientific investigations:

  • Measurement.

  • Analysis of data.

  • Graphing.

  • Prediction models.

A2, A3


Use oral and written language to:

  • Communicate findings.

  • Defend conclusions of scientific investigations.



Use technologies and information systems to

  • Research.

  • Gather and analyze data.

  • Visualize data.

  • Disseminate finding to others.



Analyze and evaluate information from a scientifically literate viewpoint by reading, hearing and/or viewing:

  • Scientific text

  • Articles

  • Events in the popular press

A4, A5


Describe properties that can be observed and measured to predict air quality

  • Particulate matter.

  • Ozone.



Conclude that the good health of environments and organisms requires:

  • The monitoring of air quality.

  • Taking steps to maintain healthy air quality.

  • Stewardship.

B2, B3


Evaluate how humans impact air quality including:

  • Air quality standards.

  • Point and non-point sources of air pollution in North Carolina.

  • Financial and economic trade-offs.

  • Local air quality issues.

B3, B4, B5


Examine evidence that atmospheric properties can be studied to predict atmospheric conditions and weather hazards.

  • Wind speed and direction

  • Temperature Humidity

  • Air pressure Precipitation

  • Tornados Hurricanes

  • Floods Storms

C2, C3


Assess the use of technology in studying atmospheric phenomena and weather hazards:

  • Satellites.

  • Weather maps.

  • Predicting.

  • Recording.

  • Communicating information about conditions.

A2, A3, A4

VI. English Language Development (ELD)/ Exceptional Children (EC)

Modifications appear in gray boxes throughout the unit. Additional handouts

and diagrams will appear after each unit. ELD modifications are mainly for

novice low- intermediate low Limited English Proficient (LEP) students.

If not present then it will be forthcoming!

VII. Materials and Equipment List

Earth’s resources- teacher demonstrations:

1 apple per class, a cutting utensil, water, black paper, a gallon clear jar,

colored warm water, matches, a gallon size bag of ice

1 triple beam balance or electronic scale per group

1 balloon per group

2 thermometers per group

1 cotton ball per set of thermometers

One rubber band per set of thermometers

Basketball- teacher demonstration (only need one class set)

portable hair dryer, bicycle pump with a needle, meter stick, refrigerator or cooler with ice

Internet/ multiple computer usage

One week (or so) of weather maps cut from the newspaper

Daily weather data

(wind speed and direction, precipitation, current temperature, and dew point) for your school and 3 - 4 cities from neighboring states

Optional- Beads (pony beads for particle arrangement)

2 standard size (3x5) index cards per student/group

Small grid (less than standard 4x4 graph paper) graph paper


Clear packing tape



Magnifying glasses or dissecting microscope

Poster board or butcher paper

Downloaded copy of Air Jeopardy or play online version

Ultraviolet beads-

Materials to test the UV beads (sunscreen, fabric, sunglasses, water…)

White paper

Coloring utensils

Metric ruler

A protractor, compass, jar lid, or circle template

Demonstration materials:

Baby food jar with two large diameter straws

1000 ml beaker filled with ice water

Warm water

Food coloring (blue and green work best)

Access to the internet

VIII. Big idea- Atmosphere

The atmosphere is a mixture of gases, such as nitrogen, oxygen, argon, carbon dioxide, trace gases and water vapor. The amount of each gas in the mixture is usually very constant from the surface of the planet up to the top of the troposphere. These gases are constantly being used and renewed by the processes of respiration, photosynthesis, evaporation and condensation, the weathering of rock, and the decay of organic matter.
The atmosphere has different properties at different elevations and different locations around the earth. The air pressure is less on the top of mountains (higher elevation) than in valleys. At the equator the atmosphere is warmer; at the poles it is cooler. The uneven heating of land and water causes a rising and sinking of warm and cool air masses, creating convection currents and causing winds.
Five layers make up the atmosphere: the troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere, and exosphere. Each of these layers has unique properties. Weather occurs in the troposphere and is the physical condition of the atmosphere at a specific place at a specific time. Fronts, global wind systems, atmospheric pressure changes and many other factors influence the weather. Major atmospheric activities such as thunderstorms, tornadoes and hurricanes affect humans and can result in huge natural disasters.
Technology has greatly influenced the ease and accuracy of predicting weather. Weather data at thousands of locations can be gathered instantaneously and applied to weather prediction models to produce weather maps. Weather maps show air masses, fronts, and pressure centers, helping to predict approaching weather. Weather forecasting has been improved by the additional data gained from Doppler radar units and satellites.
Air quality affects the quality of life for all organisms on Earth. Natural and human activities greatly influence the quality of the air. Technology has allowed us to measure the characteristics of the air and to monitor how air quality changes. This information helps us make informed decisions to protect air quality and the risks to organisms and human health.
The cumulative ecological effects of global ozone depletion, air pollution, increased particulate matter, acid rain, and global warming concern the entire global community. Studies have shown that human activity influenced and impacted the global ecosystem.

IX. Notes to the teacher/storyline

The first lesson begins with an introduction to the atmosphere, its composition and properties of each layer. Students will begin the lesson by investigating ultraviolet rays using UV beads. Throughout the lesson, they will learn about the three ways energy can be transferred and apply each to how it impacts weather. Finally, students will look at the layers of the atmosphere and create a scale model illustrating each layer.

The second lesson focuses on atmospheric conditions and weather hazards. It begins with an overview of clouds and several teacher demonstrations, which will lead into a discussion on stewardship and the effects of pollution. Students will complete several labs on predicting if air has mass and its behavior under certain conditions. The lesson will be concluded with a discussion of weather conditions and hazards. Students will collect daily readings of relative humidity and create a graph illustrating the data. As a culminating activity, several project choices and foldable options are included.

The third lesson focuses on using technology to study weather hazards. Students will be introduced to reading weather maps and review the types of symbols used on a map. Several resources are provided as a way for students to reinforce and apply what they learned. They will then create their own weather maps. A culminating internet scavenger hunt will conclude the lesson.

The fourth and final lesson focuses on air pollution. It begins with an overview of ultraviolet radiation and the affect it can have on a population. Students will discuss air quality and the affects humans can have on it. Using what they learned, students will create an airborne junk detector and collect data. They will then create a foldable to summarize their findings.

Additional resources, video topics, websites, extensions and a summative assessment are located at the end of the unit.

IX. Global Content- 21st Century Skills

Lesson-Location-Activity Title


Grade 7

21st century skills

Communication Skills

Atmos Cond-explore- lab

Atmosphere- engage

1.01, 1.02, 1.08

Conveying thought or opinions effectively

Atmos Cond-evaluate-tic/tac/toe project

Air pollution- explain

1.05, 1.10

When presenting information, distinguishing between relevant and irrelevant information

Atmos Cond-evaluate-tic/tac/toe project

Air pollution- explain

1.04, 4.02, 4.03, 4.06, 4.07, 4.08,

Explaining a concept to others

Atmos Cond-evaluate-tic/tac/toe project

Interviewing others or being interviewed

Computer Knowledge

Atmos Cond-ext-excel graph

Using Tech- NC Desk lesson


Using word-processing and database programs

Atmos Cond-evaluate-tic/tac/toe project


Developing visual aides for presentations


Using Tech- NC Desk lesson


Using a computer for communication

Atmos Cond-evaluate-tic/tac/toe project

Using Tech- NC Desk lesson


Learning new software programs

Employability Skills

Atmos Cond-ext-excel graph

Air pollution- explain


Assuming responsibility for own learning

Atmos Cond-ext-excel graph

Persisting until job is completed

Atmos Cond-evaluate-tic/tac/toe project


Working independently


Atmosphere- engage

Developing career interest/goals


Responding to criticism or questions

Information-retrieval Skills

Tech-extension-satellite imag.

Using Tech- NC Desk lesson


Searching for information via the computer


Searching for print information

Atmosphere- engage

1.09, 2.02

Searching for information using community members

Language Skills - Reading

Atmos Cond-evaluate-tic/tac/toe project

Using Tech- NC Desk lesson

1.03, 1.05

Following written directions

Lesson-Location-Activity Title


Grade 7

21st century skills

Atmos Cond-ext-foldable

Air pollution- explain


Summarizing main points after reading

Atmos Cond-evaluate-tic/tac/toe project

1.07, 1.08

Locating and choosing appropriate reference materials

Atmos Cond-evaluate-tic/tac/toe project


Reading for personal learning

Language Skill - Writing

Atmos Cond-explore-lab

Using language accurately

Atmos Cond-engage-map

1.07, 1.08, 1.10

Organizing and relating ideas when writing

Atmos Cond-explore-tic proj


Proofing and Editing

Air pollution- explain


Synthesizing information from several sources

All projects, & powerpoints


Documenting sources


Developing an outline

Atmosphere- engage


Writing to persuade or justify a position

Atmosphere- engage


Creating memos, letters, other forms of correspondence


Air pollution- explain

1.01, 1.05

Taking initiative

Air pollution- explain

Air pollution- evaluate

Working on a team

Thinking/Problem-Solving Skills

Atmosphere- engage


Identifying key problems or questions

Atmos Cond-evaluate-tic/tac/toe project

Atmos Cond-explore-lab

1.05, 1.07, 1.10, 2.03, 4.04

Evaluating results

Atmosphere- engage

1.06, 4.01, 4.05,

Developing strategies to address problems

Atmosphere- engage


Developing an action plan or timeline

I. Grade Level/Unit Number: 7th grade Unit 3

II: Unit Title: Structure of the Atmosphere
III. Unit Length: 7 days
IV. Objectives Included:

1.01, 1.02, 1.03, 1.04, 1.05, 1.06, 1.08, 1.09, 1.10, 3.01, 3.02

V. Materials Needed:


Ultraviolet beads (enough for each student to have several)

String for the beads

Different types of materials to test the beads for a class project

(sunglasses, sunscreen with various SPF’s, water, construction

paper, various materials, tissues, mirror, light bulbs, Ziploc, jar…)

White paper

Coloring utensils

Metric ruler

A protractor, compass, jar lid, or circle template

One set of agree and disagree signs

Demonstration materials:

Baby food jar with two large diameter straws

1000 ml beaker filled with ice water

Warm water

Food coloring (blue and green work best)

VI. Notes to Teacher:

The following website can be used to order ultra violet beads. You may want to give students several on a string or just 1 or 2 to use for the investigation. They can do the lab at home or you can investigate as a class. Students can informally discuss their findings and/or write a lab report.

Magic Ultraviolet beads-

Days 1- 2

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