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Lesson 4 Climate Regions of the Western Hemisphere

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					Sixth Grade Social Studies Unit 2: Geography of the Western Hemisphere

SS060204 Lesson 4

Lesson 4: Climate Regions of the Western Hemisphere
Big Ideas of the Lesson
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Weather and climate are different yet related concepts. Various types of climate regions exist in the Western Hemisphere. Climate has an effect on the people, where they live, and how they interact. Climate graphs are special geographic tools that show temperature and precipitation. Studying climate graphs can help answer geographic questions about a region. Climate graphs can be used to make predictions.

Lesson Abstract: In this lesson students distinguish between weather and climate. They explore their local weather. Using a story and its art work, they focus on weather conditions and physical features in selected Western Hemisphere locations on the same day in March. To further understand the distinction between weather and climate, students study a special geographic tool called a climate graph or climograph. Through inspection and construction of climate graphs, students will be able to answer geographic questions and make predictions about climate and the affect it has on people, where they live and how they interact. Content Expectations 6 – G1.3.1: Use the fundamental themes of geography (location, place, human environment interaction, movement, region) to describe regions or places on earth. See also 7 – G1.3.1 6 – G2.1.1: 6 – G3.1.1: Describe the landform features and the climate of the region (within the Western or Eastern Hemispheres) under study. Construct and analyze climate graphs for two locations of different latitudes and elevations in the region to answer geographic questions and make predictions based on patterns. (e.g., compare and contrast Buenos Aires and La Paz; Mexico City and Guatemala City; Edmonton and Toronto).

Key Concepts climate physical characteristics region

Michigan Citizenship Collaborative Curriculum www.micitizenshipcurriculum.org

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Sixth Grade Social Studies Unit 2: Geography of the Western Hemisphere

SS060204 Lesson 4

Instructional Resources Equipment/Manipulative Chalkboard and/or white board Globes Maps Paper Overhead projector or document camera Student atlases (class set) Student handouts (see Supplemental Materials) Wall map of the Western Hemisphere Student Resource World Climate. Buttle and Tuttle Ltd. 22 June 2009 <http://www.worldclimate.com/>. Teacher Resource Karis, Kristi. Supplemental Materials (Unit 2, Lesson 4).Teacher-made material. Michigan Citizenship Collaborative Curriculum, 2009. Singer, Marilyn. On the Same Day in March, A Tour of the World’s Weather. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2000. USAToday Weather. USA Today. 22 June 2009 <http://www.usatoday.com/weather/resources/askjack/wfaqpast.htm>. Lesson Sequence 1. Display images or items around the classroom that relate to different types of weather so that the students can observe them as they enter. Examples include umbrellas, mittens, sunglasses, snow brush, clothing and housing. Ask the students to observe these and comment on their purposes. They will likely focus on assorted conditions when these items would be used. Finally, ask the students which, if any of the items they had to use or will need later today. 2. Display the words weather and climate on the board or on an overhead transparency. Ask the students to consider these two words as if they had to describe to a new student to their school community what it will be like outside after school today and what it might be like six months from now. This distinction helps to explain the terms weather and climate. When the students look out the window of the classroom or experience the outside conditions, they are experiencing the weather of that particular day. Tell the students to imagine another season and that we don’t know what it will be like on a particular day but we use climate information to have a general idea of what it will be like. Climate is determined by collecting temperature and precipitation data over a long period of time and developing an average to predict what the weather may be like six months from now. Discuss also how our weather and climate have an impact on what we wear, the types of activities and jobs people have, and the types of homes they build.

Michigan Citizenship Collaborative Curriculum www.micitizenshipcurriculum.org

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Sixth Grade Social Studies Unit 2: Geography of the Western Hemisphere

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3. Make copies of the handout entitled “March Weather” located in the Supplemental Materials (Unit 2, Lesson 4). The students, working in pairs, record information in the three columns on the handout as you read and share the art in the book On the Same Day in March, A Tour of the World’s Weather by Marilyn Singer (or a similar book). Using a map of the Western Hemisphere, or the ones of “North America” and “South America” found in the Supplemental Materials (Unit 2, Lesson 4), locate each site included in the story and have the students record information for those sites located in the Western Hemisphere. If time permits, share the Eastern Hemisphere entries but don’t record them. Following a reading of the story, engage students in a class discussion and sharing of their facts on the handout “March Weather” provided in the Supplemental Materials (Unit 2, Lesson 4). Again, focus on how weather impacts many aspects of our lives. 4. Next assign pairs of students a city in the Western Hemisphere to determine today’s weather forecast. Have each student show the class on a wall map of the Western Hemisphere where their assigned city is located and tell the class what the weather for the day is predicted to be. Students need to be sure to include both the expected temperature and type, if any, of precipitation that is expected. One web site which can be used for this exercise is: <http://www.usatoday.com/weather/resources/askjack/wfaqpast.htm>. Be sure to include a variety of cities scattered throughout the Western Hemisphere. Suggested cities are: Toronto, Canada; Vancouver, Canada; Chicago, Illinois; Atlanta, Georgia; San Francisco, California; Mexico City, Mexico; Havana, Cuba; Managua, Nicaragua; La Paz, Argentina; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Santiago, Chile; and Quito, Ecuador. Point out that cities south of the equator will be experiencing the opposite season as cities in their home community. 5. Explain that climate graphs are a way of displaying climate information, specifically temperature and precipitation. Using the sample for Detroit located in the Supplemental Materials (Unit 2, Lesson 4) introduce the students to a climate graph. Show how a climate graph graphically depicts two different sets of information: average temperature and average precipitation data for a location. The precipitation information is shown as a bar for each month, and the temperature information is shown as a line connecting twelve points (one for each month). As the students examine the example, point out that climate graphs display two climate variables on the Y-Axis; mean (or average) temperature as shown by the line graph and mean precipitation as shown by the bar graph. The X-Axis indicates months or time span. Both of these graphs are combined into one climate graph or climograph as they are sometimes labeled. The data are displayed for each month or time period. Make sure to have students confirm which units of measurement (Metric or English System) are used. 6. Divide the class into five groups and randomly assign a Western Hemisphere location. Use the “Data Set for Constructing Climographs,” located in the Supplemental Materials (Unit 2, Lesson 4). If computers are available, the students could use Excel to create the graph using a tutorial found on the Internet. They can
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Sixth Grade Social Studies Unit 2: Geography of the Western Hemisphere

SS060204 Lesson 4

also construct a climograph using the “Climate Connections in the Western Hemisphere Climograph” located in the Supplemental Materials (Unit 2, Lesson 4). The students plot the average daily temperature for each month in the form of a line graph, noting whether it is in degrees of Fahrenheit or Celsius. They next plot the average monthly precipitation noting whether it is stated in inches or millimeters. Direct the students to sketch an outline map of their region/continent on their paper, showing the location of the city they graphed. The students then complete a written description of the climate of their Western Hemisphere location using the page “Description of a Climate” located in the Supplemental Materials (Unit 2, Lesson 4). 7. Students share their completed climate graphs with the class as they show the location on a map and explain the climate of their selected city. They make comparisons with their home community. Following this guided discussion, students demonstrate that they understand the concept that weather changes every day and that climate is the average weather in a location over a long period of time. One might say that climate is what weather is "normally" like in a place. The daily recording and averaging of weather information helps to describe the climate of an area. Again, go back to the question of how a student would describe to a new student what to expect for outside activities six months from now to check for understanding. Assessment Completed worksheets, climate graphs, and written responses can be used as assessments. In addition, students discuss what they have learned and how they will use this information in the future.

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