In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text that addresses a weather data assimilation system for forecasting weather. This lesson is designed to support reading in the content area. The text describes what weather data is used with this system, where it’s coming from, and who can use it. The lesson includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys and a writing rubric.
Subject(s): Science, English Language Arts
Grade Level(s): 9, 10
Document Camera, Computer for Presenter, Computers for Students, Internet Connection, LCD Projector
Resource supports reading in content area:Yes
Keywords: NOAA, weather forecasting, weather observation, MADIS, text complexity, informational text
FCR-STEMLearn Literacy in STEM 2016
Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
- Explain why NOAA's Meteorological Assimilation Data Ingest System (MADIS) is such a significant development in the field of meteorology and weather forecasting
- Cite specific and relevant textual evidence to support analysis of the text
- Determine the meaning of selected academic and domain-specific words in the text
- Construct a written response that clearly establishes the main point(s), contains relevant textual evidence to support the main point, utilizes transitions to maintain flow, effectively uses domain-specific vocabulary, and provides an appropriate conclusion
Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?
In regards to science:
- General knowledge of the different parts of weather, such as temperature, precipitation, humidity, wind speed, wind direction, and air pressure will aid students in understanding why so many sources of data need to be gathered to be able to provide more accurate weather forecasts. This NOAA website titled "JetStream - An Online School for Weather" has a wealth of information on weather topics.
- General knowledge of the tools used to gather information about weather, such as thermometers, rain gauges, hygrometers, anemometers, wind vanes and barometers will help students understand the complex nature of gathering weather data for forecasting. The following NC State University website titled "Climate Education for D-12 - Instruments" is a great resource for weather tools.
In regards to literacy skills:
- Students should have prior experience utilizing various vocabulary strategies to determine the meaning of unknown words in a text, including use of context clues and dictionary skills.
- Based on the writing rubric provided with this lesson, students should be able to respond to a writing prompt in a clear, organized manner that includes use of an introduction to establish the main point(s), a body paragraph(s) that support the main point(s) and includes relevant and specific textual evidence, and a conclusion that supports the main point(s).
- Students should have some awareness that use of transition words or phrases can help a piece of writing flow smoothly form one point or idea to the next. Teachers might wish to provide students with a sheet of transitions to help them. This site provides transitions teachers might provide.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
- Why was there a needforMADIS?
NOAA has been collecting weather observational data from varied and distinct sources and that number has reached 64,000. 64,000 separate pieces of data are not easily integrated into usable formats. The computer system MADIS brings together this data, provides quality checks on the data, and puts it into an organized, easily accessible and usable format for forecasters and the public.
- WheredoesNOAA get its weather data from?
Airlines, private companies, universities, state highway and agriculture departments, and private citizens all provide weather data to NOAA.
- Who will use the newly formatted weather data?
NOAA, communities, businesses, federal, state, and local partner agencies can all use the information from MADIS.
- HowisMADIS beneficial to these users?
MADIS increases overall awareness of major weather, especially wind, cold temperatures and storm systems. MADIS provides reliable information that helps users understand what’s happening with the weather so they are able to respond appropriately to situations that arise.
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
- Begin by asking students to recall the last hurricane they remember.
- Some may remember Hurricane Francis, Jeanne or Wilma, or students from out-of-state may remember others. Students may also remember Hurricane Katrina due to the many deaths and major damage afflicted to New Orleans and surrounding states.
- Ask students to recall how their family prepared for a possible hurricane (or how one should prepare for a hurricane). In addition, do they remember any special preparations conducted by their community?
- Their answers might include leaving the area, putting up hurricane shutters, nailing up plywood over windows, getting rid of lawn waste and outside garbage, or purchasing extra water and food. They might remember that communities announce where shelters will be located, and communities may also implement a curfew.
- Show students this trailer from the movie Twister. Now ask students why it is important for weather forecasters to be as accurate and timely as possible, especially when forecasting severe weather.
- Students will likely mention that it saves lives. In reference to tornadoes, it gives time for people to seek shelter. In reference to hurricanes, students might mention that it takes time and costs money to prepare for a hurricane – people buy food and water and plywood to cover windows. And, if they have to evacuate the area due to an impending hurricane, it takes time to drive to a location out of the path of the storm. Areas that will flood need to be evacuated so that people do not become stranded. Livestock and other domesticated animals also need to be moved and that takes time. Communities also stock shelters with food and water.
- Explain to students they will be reading an article that describes an important weather observation database that is helping to provide better information that will enable weather forecasters to develop more accurate and timely weather forecasts.
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
- Provide each student with a copy of the article "NOAA's Growing Weather Observations Database Goes into Full Operations."
- Provide each student with a note-taking guide.
- Before students begin reading, direct them to pay attention to the text features of the article to help them learn and locate information:
- Title: NOAA's Growing Weather Observations Database Goes into Full Operations
- Subtitle: Meteorological Assimilation Data Ingest System Harnesses more than 64,000 Sources of Data
- Captions: Located next to each graphic
- Have students fill in the note-taking guide as they read the text. The teacher should monitor students as they work and provide support and guidance as needed. In regards to students defining the selected vocabulary words, depending on the needs of the students they could:
- Define all of the selected vocabulary words before they read the article for the first time
- Define the words as they come across them in the text
- Define the words after they have read the text, and then go back and re-read the text, referring to the definitions as they read
How will you check for student understanding? (Formative Assessment):
- Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting students' completed note-taking guide, checking their work, providing written feedback, or grading the assignment. Or, teachers can have students share out their responses and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion.
- Teaches can use this sample answer key to help them assess students' answers.
- Teachers should discuss any vocabulary that students struggled with. Teachers may want to ask students that were able to correctly define confusing vocabulary how the student arrived at the correct meaning of the word.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond:
- Students may think the weather forecast can never be accurate, that meteorologists just "make it up."
- Remind students that weather is extremely complex with many moving parts. Forecasters have to take weather information and run a model of all the different outcomes based on that information. The more information and data they have to work with, the more accurate the model.
- Students may not think it's possible for 64,000 pieces of information to be assimilated in time for daily forecasts.
- Remind students that with the power of computers and the Internet, information can be shared instantly.
- Weather doesn't just stop and start, it's a continuous, fluid process with trends. Computers can run models to forecast every hour, adding and adjusting to new data as it comes in.
Independent Practice: What activities or exercises will students complete to reinforce the concepts and skills developed in the lesson?
Provide each student with a copy of the text-dependent questions to complete. Students should be reminded to continually refer back to the text and to use relevant and specific evidence from the text to support their answers.
How will you check for student understanding? (Formative Assessment):
- Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting students' answers to the text-dependent questions, checking their work, providing written feedback, and maybe grading the assignment. Or teachers can have students share out their responses and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion.
- Teachers can use the sample answer key included at the end of the text-dependent questions document to help them assess students' answers.
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in the lesson?
- Before students complete the writing prompt for the summative assessment, be sure to review responses to the text-dependent questions as a class.
- After students' written responses for the summative assessment have been graded and returned with feedback, teachers might wish to use the provided sample response with the class. Students who are struggling writers can benefit greatly from seeing a well-organized, detailed written response. The teacher could show the sample response on an overhead or withanLCD projector and discuss any areas the students struggled with or have questions about.
- Ask students to identify use of textual evidence from the article that supports the main point of the written response.
- Ask students to identify use of domain-specific vocabulary throughout the written response (e.g., weather forecasts, weather observations, weather predictions, temperatures, winds, pressure, humidity).
- The teacher may want to provide the guiding questions for the lesson as an exit ticket at the end of the lesson.
- Students will individually respond to the writing prompt. They should be directed to respond with a multi-paragraph response, with a clear introduction, body section and conclusion. They can refer back to the text as they construct their response.
- Provide students with a copy of the rubric and go over the rubric with them so they will know how their written response will be assessed.
- Go over the writing prompt with students and make sure students understand what the prompt is asking them to address.
Explain why NOAA's MADIS is such a noteworthy or important development in the field of meteorology and weather forecasting. Be sure to include specific evidence from the article to support your answer.
- Teachers will use the rubric to assess students' written responses.
Specific suggestions for conducting Formative Assessment can be found in the Guided Practice and Independent Practice phases of the lesson.
Feedback to Students
Students should receive verbal or written feedback on their note-taking handout and text-dependent questions before they begin the summative assessment for the lesson. The teacher can also address potential misconceptions or errors in thinking that are included in the Guided Practice section.
Accommodations & Recommendations
- This video titled "Predicting Weather" (5:53, uploaded by YouTube user NASAconnect) offers a great introduction to how weather is predicted. This could be shown before students begin to read the article.
- For struggling readers:
- After students independently read the text, it may help some readers to hear the text read aloud by several strong student readers.
- Students may want to underline the vocabulary words on their copy of the article as they read the text. The teacher may want to model through a think aloud a few ways to define several of the selected vocabulary words before students work on the other words on their own.
- Teachers may want to fill in a few blanks on the note-taking guide before giving the handout to struggling readers.
- For struggling writers: It might help struggling writers to provide them with an outline to help them structure their response for the summative assessment. The outline might include places for them to record:
- Ideas on how to introduce the topic
- A few specifics from the text they might want to use to support or explain the topic
- A place to write down their main point(s)
- Topic sentence (the first sentence of each body paragraph that will reveal the point of the paragraph and will connect to the paper's overall main point)
- Specific evidence from the text for support in each body paragraph
- Ideas for transition words
- Ideas for use of selected vocabulary
- Ideas on how to wrap up their piece and connect back to the main point(s).
Students could research NOAA's Citizen Weather Observing Program to see how they could participate as an NOAA partner in providing observational weather data. If a school weather station is available along with Internet requirements, students could sign up to participate.
Suggested Technology: Document Camera, Computer for Presenter, Computers for Students, Internet Connection, LCD Projector
For teachers who would like more support in understanding and implementing Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects into their science curriculum, please see the teacher tutorials featured in the section of this lesson's CPALMS resource page labeled "Attached Resources."
The text's grade band recommendation reflects the shifts inherent in the Florida Standards and is based on a text complexity analysis of a quantitative measure, qualitative rubric, and reader and task considerations.
Source and Access Information
Name of Author/Source: Jacque Boyle
District/Organization of Contributor(s): St. Lucie
Access Privileges: Public
* Please note that examples of resources are not intended as complete curriculum.