Changes Close to Home

This activity develops student understanding of the relationship of weather and climate. Students use interview techniques to explore perceptions about local climate change among long-time residents of their community. Students then compare the results of their interviews to long term local temperature and precipitation records.

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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Activity takes about 3-4 classroom periods with several weeks for students to work on project assignment. Students need access to computers.

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Teaching Tips

Teaching Tips

Students will need help finding interview subjects and more time practicing their interviewing skills than the activity suggests.

Educators should start out teaching about climate variability over relatively small distances.

Educators may have to use climographs for their areas to identify comparable weather stations with long term temperature and precipitation records.

There are other sources for local historical weather data that vary from community to community. Look for a more complete local historical record online.

The assessment ideas suggest comparing 30-year records of temperature and precipitation in arctic cities to local cities. Include this assessment - it will strengthen the scientific understanding of the topic.

Resource from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) may provide a more complete learning experience than this resource (listed in the reference list.) Educators may find that the UCS resource helpful in in improving this activity.

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