Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Weather Instruments and Layers of the Atmosphere

We have been learning about the layers of the atmosphere and why each is important. We found these pictures to be especially helpful.

The atmosphere is divided into five layers. It is thickest near the surface and thins out with height until it eventually merges with space.

1) The troposphere is the first layer above the surface and contains half of the Earth's atmosphere. Weather occurs in this layer.

2) Many jet aircrafts fly in the stratosphere because it is very stable. Also, the ozone layer absorbs harmful rays from the Sun.

3) Meteors or rock fragments burn up in the mesosphere.

4) The thermosphere is a layer with auroras. It is also where the space shuttle orbits.

5) The atmosphere merges into space in the extremely thin exosphere. This is the upper limit of our atmosphere.

We wanted to know how meteorologists know what each layer is like.
The Virtual Balloon simulates a how a weather balloon is used to collect data in the atmosphere. Students can collect information on air temperature and air pressure at different altitudes in the atmosphere. We learned that the temperature can change to get colder and warmer in different layers. If you're looking for a fun but challenging activity, have your students graph the altitudes of each layer.
Make sure to click the settings button to change the number of flights per game, data samples collected per flight, and if you really feel like a challenge, change the location and season that you collect data from!

We really love the "Weather Words" song clip because it teaches all about the instruments.  

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing the virtual weather balloon. I'm excited to share it with my kids when we start our weather unit this spring. Love it!

    Christi =)
    Ms. Fultz's Corner



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