Students explore the concept of climate as they examine global climate patterns and the relationship between temperature, precipitation, and the world’s forests.
- Students will explore the differences between weather and climate.
- Students will interpret maps to identify global climate patterns.
- Students will analyze temperature and moisture data patterns to determine their relationships to ecological zones and forest distribution.
- Annual Average Temperatures Map teacher page
- Equipment for projecting teacher page
- Monthly calendar showing actual historical and average weather statistics for your area, or weather data collected by students (see Getting Ready)
- Copies of Weather vs. Climate, one per student or group
- Copies of Global Ecozones Map, Ecozones Defined, and Extreme Journeys student pages, one set per group
- Copies of Forests and Climate and Forests on the Ground student pages, one per student or group
- Getting Ready: 45 minutes
- Doing the Activity: Two to three 50-minute periods
- Evaluate: Varies, depending on option selected
- Make copies of the student pages.
- Create historical weather calendars for a month or for different months in your region using the Weather Underground Historical Weather page: https://www.wunderground.com/history/. First type in your location and a date, and then on the next page select the Calendar tab. (You may want to choose dates when the differences between actual and average weather is particularly apparent.)
- (Optional) As an alternative or in addition to the Weather Underground calendars, have students collect daily temperature and precipitation data for a month using a thermometer and rain gauge.
- As an alternative or supplement to the Forests on the Ground student pages, you may plan to have students research additional forest types, either within your ecozone or within other ecozones. The Forests on the Ground pages address eight of the 20 different ecozones, providing only one example of the many different forest types that may be found within a given zone. Your students may use the Forests on the Ground page layout as a template for their own reports, and get started with their research using the two sources listed at the bottom of each page.
- See Additional Resources to find other supports for teaching this activity.
PLT Conceptual Framework
- 1.3. Patterns of variation from region to region in the Earth’s atmosphere, water, soil, climate, and geology create a wide diversity of biological communities.
- 4.2. The structure and scale of ecosystems are influenced by environmental factors such as soil type, climate, availability of water, and human activities.
See Standards Connections in the Appendices for a list of standards addressed in this activity.