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Weather Conditions


In the Microdoc titled "Bringing the Lab to the Reef", scientist Dr. Tom Oliver explains how he is conducting an experiment that involves many dozens of samples over periods of weeks.  One of the tools a scientist like Dr. Oliver may choose to use is an electronic spreadsheet and this activity attempts to give student practice using tools and techniques that a professional would use.


By the end of this activity, students will have practice gathering weather condition data from the Internet, making predictions about the upcoming trend, logging data using a spreadsheet, analyzing results and writing a results statement. 


Lesson Plan [PDF]
Excel Spreadsheet [95KB XLS]


Bringing the Lab to the Reef


The introduction to this activity could take one class period, followed by 15 minutes once per week, and finally one more class period for results. 


  1. Open Microsoft Excel and the worksheet titled “Weather Conditons.xls”.
  2. On Sheet 1, replace where it says "name goes here," and "start date goes here" with your first and last name, and the date that data was first recorded. Save this file to a location of your choice, it needs available in the weeks to come.
  3. Using the Internet, locate weather data for a city, or location of your choice. The data needs to include "current conditions" and not just forecasts. Keep track of the website because you will be returning to it during the weeks to come.
  4. Gather background information that will help with the prediction such as what have been the trends, highs and lows, during the past weeks or months? For the location take into account what season it is. For example is it the beginning or end of a season?
  5. Write your prediction on Sheet 1 using measurable language such as the following; I predict in the coming four weeks the temperature (Celsius or Fahrenheit) will _______________________. Fill in the blank with words or phrases such as; increase, decrease, or stay the same.
  6. Data gathering can begin as soon as the prediction is properly documented. It is very important that the data be consistently gathered once every seven days at the same time each day. Pick the day, pick the time, and then be consistent!
  7. The result statement is an opinion regarding the match between prediction and data. Did the data support the prediction?
  8. Examples of weather data are current conditions for temperature, rain, barometric pressure, wind speed, relative humidity, dew point, or heat index.
  9. For live conditions from Stanford's Hopkins Marine Station the link is http://hopkins.stanford.edu/mlo.htm

California Standards
Investigation and Experimentation

  1. Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations. As a basis for understanding this concept and addressing the content in the other three strands, students should develop their own questions and perform investigations. Students will:
    1. Develop a hypothesis.
    2. Select and use appropriate tools and technology (including calculators, computers, balances, spring scales, microscopes, and binoculars) to perform tests, collect data, and display data.
    3. Construct appropriate graphs from data and develop qualitative statements about the relationships between variables.
    4. Communicate the steps and results from an investigation in written reports and oral presentations.
    5. Recognize whether evidence is consistent with a proposed explanation.
           All content property of microdocs project.                                                                                                                          Last updated April 11, 2012.
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