The subject of this lesson is Winter Storms. The length will be approximately 55 minutes (~15 minutes for each of the three websites and ~10 minutes for the students to create their slideshows). The slideshows may be presented the following day if not enough time is available. This lesson is intended for 4th grade and is directed towards Standard 2 of the 4th grade science core curriculum. This project explores factors that help create severe winter weather. An interactive simulation provides hands-on experience, followed by guiding questions and resource exploration.

Winter Storms

Connection to Standards:
Utah Core Curriculum:  
Science Standard 2 (Students will understand that the elements of weather can be observed, measured, and recorded to make predictions and determine simple weather patterns.)
NETS-T: 
1. Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity - Students will be using websites and situations that reflect real-world situations with winter storms.  They will use simulations and will need to reflect on the reasons behind them.
2. Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments - Students will be performing research techniques to find the answers to the assessment questions provided and will connect their experiences in what they have discovered to the answers they find.

Objectives:
Students will be able to identify and explain unique factors and causes relating to the wind, differences in temperatures, and humidity.  They will then research the causes of certain types of temperature and weather fronts.  Students will also be able to interpret the effects of humidity and connect these effects to precipitation and weather.

Assessments:
The assessment questions provided after each activity will provide both formative and summative forms of assessment.  They will be formative to the overall lesson because they go in order to see what the students know and have observed, and they are summative because they occur at the end of each activity.  The main summative assessment, however, will be the slides that each student creates, because depending on what they include will show what they learned after finishing all the winter storm activities.

Technology Resources Required:
http://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/wwatch/sim/game.htm - Students will use this weather simulation to create storms by use of “equatorward” temperature, “poleward” temperature, and relative humidity.
http://www.weatherwizkids.com/ - Students will explore this website to discover what caused the “poleward” temperature, “equatorward” temperature, and will discover what a weather “front” is.
http://www.wildwildweather.com/humidity.htm - Students will research about humidity and discover its relationship to weather. 
Students will also be putting together Powerpoint slides, so the Powerpoint program being used will also be required to be accessible.  
Other Resources:
Various books on winter storms and weather should also be readily available for students who may need them.

Background for Teachers:
Teachers will need to be very familiar with the websites given and the answers expected of the children.  Knowledge of the following subjects is necessary to teaching this lesson: wind and its causes, difference between temperatures, high relative humidity, humidity and temperature differences, Poleward temperature, Equatorward temperature, weather fronts, relative humidity, dewpoint, and humidity and precitpitation.  The teacher should be able to answer all of the questions that the children are required to answer easily through the use of the websites.  

Setup:
Prior to the lesson, the teacher should ensure that all of the websites can be accessed easily and will need copies of the questions to give to the students to write their answers to.

The Lesson:
In order to gain the attention of the students and activate prior knowledge on winter storms, the teacher will initiate a class discussion asking what the children know.  “Discuss what you already know about winter storms with the class.”  Children will then visualize their own experiences in winter storms and they will be told that in this lesson, they will be exploring the causes behind what might have happened in the storms they were in.
The teacher will then divide the students into groups of three and ask them to explore and examine the following simulation: Weather Maker Simulator 
The students will use the simulation to discuss and then answer the following questions with their group on the paper given. 
1. In general, when are winds formed? 
2. When winds are blowing, how can you get them to stop? 
3. What usually happens when there is a large difference between the temperatures? 
4. What happens when there is high relative humidity? 
5. How does relative humidity interact with temperature differences? 
Next, find out more about winter storms here: Winter Storm Page: Weather Wiz Kids 
The students will discuss and then answer the following questions on their paper: 
1. In the simulation, what likely was causing the "Poleward" temperature? 
2. In the simulation, what likely was causing the "Equatorward" temperature? 
3. In the simulation, was the house located at a weather "front"? Why or why not? 
Finally, they will learn about humidity here: Humidity: Dan's Wild Weather Page 
The students will research the answers as a group and put their answers to the questions on their paper: 
1. What is the difference between "relative humidity" and "dewpoint"? 
2. In the simulation, why did raising the relative humidity often result in precipitation? 
3. In the simulation, why did even low relative humidity tend to produce precipitation when there was low "poleward" temperature?
After the students have interpreted all three activities with their groups, each student within the group will create their own one slide that explains storms and winter weather, forming a group Powerpoint presentation that will be presented to the class upon completion.

Evaluation:
The students Powerpoint slides will display a large range of knowledge about what they learned relating to winter weather from the website activities.  The answers to their questions as a group will allow the teacher to evaluate their use of the websites to find their answers, as well as their own thoughts they may have come up with.

Rubric:

Rubric

Accommodations:
Students who may not be able to use the computers such as special needs children, or who may need more outside information than that given on the websites should be provided with books on winter storms that contain the same types of information as the websites.  The simulation is very good for visual learners who may need some type of aid to help them to envision what is happening and connect cause with effects.  Students who may be more gifted or finish early can certainly be given some more deep-thinking questions to research about weather by the teacher, and they can spend more time on their PowerPoint slides, perhaps even making more than one if they desire.  ESL students may need to be guided to their answers, but the peer groups should be able to help out with this accommodation as well.