Air and Weather

Second Edition

Resources by Investigation

Resources by Investigation
Investigation 1: Exploring Air
Students explore properties of a common gas mixture, air. Using vials, syringes, and tubing, students experience air as matter, discovering that it takes up space and can be compressed and that compressed air builds up pressure that can push objects around. They construct and compare parachutes and balloon rockets that use air.
Investigation 1, Part 1: Air Is There
Students work with a set of objects to see how objects can be moved by and through air.
Investigation 1, Part 2: Air Under Water
Students use vials, paper towels, and basins to explore the idea that air takes up space.
Investigation 1, Part 3: Parachutes
Students construct and observe parachutes dropping through air. They think about how air slows the descent of the parachute.
Investigation 1, Part 4: Pushing on Air
Students use syringes to investigate air. They discover that air can be compressed and that air under pressure can push objects around.
Investigation 1, Part 5: Air and Water Fountain
Students put together tubes, a bottle, water, a rubber stopper, and two syringes to create a system. They add water and use air pressure to push the water around the system.
Investigation 1, Part 6: Balloon Rockets
Students set up a balloon-rocket system and find out how far the air in the balloon will propel the system along a flight line.
Investigation 2: Observing Weather
Students record weather over 4–8 weeks on a class calendar and in weather journals. Students monitor temperature with a thermometer and rainfall with a rain gauge. They learn to identify three basic cloud types by matching their observations to a cloud chart.
Investigation 2, Part 1: Weather Calendar
The class shares what they know about weather and how it relates to air. A class meteorologist begins recording daily weather observations on a class calendar. Symbols are used to indicate five basic types of weather.
Investigation 2, Part 2: Measuring Temperature
Students learn to use a thermometer and take turns measuring and recording the temperature. They construct a model thermometer and practice reading various temperatures.
Investigation 2, Part 3: Watching Clouds
Students observe and compare several types of clouds and discuss how they move across the sky. They read FOSS Science Stories to find out more about what meteorologists do.
Investigation 2, Part 4: Measuring Rain
The class discusses the kinds of clouds that bring rain or snow and natural sources of water. Students use a rain gauge to measure rain or snowfall. The class meteorologist’s daily report now includes weather condition, temperature, cloud type, and amount of rainfall.
Investigation 3: Wind Explorations
Students look for evidence of moving air. They observe and describe wind speed using pinwheels, an anemometer, and a wind scale. They observe bubbles and construct wind vanes to find the wind’s direction. Flying kites, they feel the strength of the wind and the direction it is moving.
Investigation 3, Part 1: Bubbles in the Wind
Students use bubble wands to blow bubbles outside. They investigate how the air moves bubbles in a variety of locations around the school building.
Investigation 3, Part 2: Wind Speed
Students go outside to feel and observe the wind. They are introduced to a descriptive wind scale (an adaptation of the Beaufort scale) and an anemometer, a tool used by scientists to more accurately measure the speed of the wind.
Investigation 3, Part 3: Pinwheels
Students construct a pinwheel and observe how it operates when they blow on it, move it through air, and hold it in front of a fan. They compare the action of the pinwheels to the class anemometer.
Investigation 3, Part 4: Wind Vanes
Students learn about wind vanes, a tool to determine wind direction. They compare the movement of the wind vane to those of bubbles and clouds.
Investigation 3, Part 5: Kites
Students construct kites. They use the anemometer and wind vane to help them determine the best location and direction for flying kites.
Investigation 4: Looking for Change
Students organize monthly weather data using graphs to describe weather trends. They continue to monitor weather throughout the year, to compare the seasons. At home they make observations of the night sky, looking for observable changes in weather conditions as well as in objects in the sky (Sun, Moon, stars). Students are introduced to the changing location of the Sun in our sky and the changing appearance of the Moon.
Investigation 4, Part 1: Weather Graphs
Students organize and graph the class weather data recorded over a period of 4 weeks. The class will continue recording the weather on the calendar and graph the following month.
Investigation 4, Part 2: Comparing the Seasons (Optional)
The class moves from recording weather data on a calendar to creating seasonal graphs of the weather, temperature, and precipitation. Each season, new graphs are created and compared with the preceding seasons.
Investigation 4, Part 3: The Night Sky
Students discuss their observations of the night sky, including any changes they have discovered in the Moon’s appearance and location. Weather at night is compared to weather during the day.