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This presentation, part of a workshop for science educators at National Science Teachers Association conferences in 2013, describes interdisciplinary classroom activities that get students thinking about how weather events are covered by news media.


  • 1. Weather Headlines: A Tool for Science LearningBecca Hatheway and Lisa Gardiner Spark UCAR Science Education

2. National Center for Atmospheric Research Researching the atmosphere, weather, climate A non-profit research lab, funded primarily by NSF.Spark - UCAR Science Education Goal: to increase public understanding of atmospheric science and engage communities with research. Sharing science content, activities, and teacher PD. Providing education at NCAR in Boulder, CO. Offering research internships for college students. Working with communities that are partnering with researchers. 3. Weather is always making headlines. Weather is accessible science. visible science. happening now! always changing. in the headlines. 4. Weather affects everyone. Weather impacts daily life. Its also relevant to national security and global politics. Cross cutting between social studies, science, and geography. 5. About climate change & weather events: When an extreme weather event occurs, people ask whether it was due to climate change. No single weather event is due to climate change. All weather events are affected by climate change, some more than others. 6. The weather on steroidsAn analogy Climate warming is changing the weather like steroids change a baseball player. 7. Weather events are not equally affected by warming. We are still learning how they are, or are not, affected. 8. Weather Headlines Workshop Outline Activity #1: Weather in the News Compare stories about weather events from different media sources and different perspectives Hurricane Sandy Joplin Tornado Snowmageddon Activity #2: Tracking Hurricane News Make a timeline based on news coverage of Hurricane Irene as it moved up the East Coast in 2011 9. Activity #1: Weather in the NewsSnowmageddon , Washington, D.C., 2010 10. Weather isnt covered the same way in different news sources Whats the perspective? Local news versus national news Whats the point of view? Reporting versus opinion/editorial Whats the focus? People focus versus science focus 11. Oct 28, 2012, front page of Huffington Post 12. Oct 28, 2012, front page of The New York Times 13. Activity Instructions: Weather in the News Each small group reads the articles in their case study (there will be three case studies in the room) To conserve workshop time, skim the first side of the worksheet and focus on the four questions on the reverse. As a group, record your answers to those questions on chart paper and post on the wall. 14. Activity #2: Tracking Hurricane News 15. Tracking Hurricane News 1. Each student reads a news story about Hurricane Irene. 2. Students present information from their articles to the rest of the class. 3. Each student constructs a timeline to describe the hurricanes story over time and across geographic area based on all the news stories. 16. Meet Hurricane Irene On Aug 20, 2011 Irene became a tropical storm Strengthened to a Category 3 storm Made landfall many times along its path (Puerto Rico, Bahamas, North Carolina, New York and New Jersey) 17. Activity Instructions: Tracking Hurricane News Objective: Create a timeline of Hurricane Irene through quotes from the news about how the storm affected people and places. (note: we are keeping it simple for the sake of time!)1. Read an article and take notes on Worksheet 1. Can you summarize it in one sentence? 2. Choose a quote from the article that interests you. Add it to the timeline with the date and location of your news story. 18. Other ideas for including weather news in the classroom Students investigate how news describes people during a storm. Who is involved when a storm hits? (forecasters, emergency managers, government officials, community members) Whats did they have to say? Classroom debate: Should winter storms have names? The National Weather Service doesnt name them. The Weather Channel does. Have students research why storms are named, and decide whether its helpful for winter storms as it is for hurricanes. 19. Thanks! Lisa Gardiner Becca Hatheway For workshop resources, visit Weather Headlines at