Storm Chasers: The Case of Hurricane Irene

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Kelly Dontje CRIN E06

Adriana Peratsakis Learning Cycle

Addie Schafer

Storm Chasers: The Case of Hurricane Irene Grade level: 4

Subject: Science Topic: Hurricanes Date: Friday, November 1, 2013

SOL (write out): Virginia Science SOL 4.6 – The student will investigate and understand how weather phenomena occur and can be predicted. Key concepts include a) weather phenomena; b) weather measurements and meteorological tools; and c) use of weather measurements and weather phenomena to make weather predictions

Daily Questions: How do storms relate to each other? What is the connection between hurricanes, tornadoes, and thunderstorms?

Procedures for Learning Experience

Guiding Questions

Materials Needed

Evaluation (Assessment)

Approx. Time Needed

45 mins

Engagement: Ask students if they remember how hurricanes form. Remind them about Hurricane Irene. Ask students if they remember where they were when it hit Williamsburg. Play the following clip:

Ask the students what the scientists discovered from their observations. Students should note that Irene’s dropping pressure coupled with warm 85 degree ocean water will most likely lead to a stronger, more destructive hurricane headed our way.

Before the clip: How do hurricanes form? Who remembers when Hurricane Irene came through Williamsburg two years ago? What happened? What was it like? After the clip: Why were scientists trying to determine the temperature of the hurricane? What did they find out?

YouTube clip:

Formative assessment based on student responses

5 mins

Exploration: Tell the students that you have a friend from NASA that needs the class’ help. (Turn around and put on the lab coat...take on the persona of a NASA meteorologist). Explain to the students that a hurricane is forming and you need their help researching so you can prepare the public for the upcoming storm. Treat the students like fellow meteorologists. Divide the class into 5 groups, handing out articles and hurricane images. Instruct your “fellow meteorologists” to record any important information they gather from their research. Tell the students we need to prepare ourselves for another potential Hurricane. Students are expected to read the article and work with their group to determine the important details to share. Walk around and help students with difficult vocabulary and ask guiding questions.

What are the major side effects of hurricanes (for weather conditions and damages)? Why was Irene so exceptional for hurricanes?

Article 1: Addie

Article 2: Adriana

Article 3: Adriana

Article 4: How is Hurricane Irene described? What was going on in our region of Virginia? What do you think a thunderstorm off the coast of Africa has to do with Hurricane Irene? What about the low pressure and storms near Bermuda? What is the article implying?

Article 5: What were some of the side effects that came from Hurricane Irene? Why do you think side effects are considered more dangerous than the storm itself? How are tornadoes and hurricanes related?

Meteorologist’s Log and hurricane images

Students are engaged, having thoughtful conversation reflecting upon the research found in the articles as well as images, and picking out key points from their assigned resources. Students will discuss articles with tablemates and teachers will informally assess progress as they walk around the room. Groups will then report back to the class on their collective thoughts on important information from the articles/resources and contributions will be formatively assessed for salience and significance.

20 mins

Explanation: Student groups will share gathered information as teachers compile class copy using the document camera. See Appendix A for key points addressed in each article. Teachers will summarize and give a brief overview of the relationships between key concepts.

What factors determine the intensity of a storm? hurricane?

Meteorologist’s Log; Document Camera

Completed student “Meteorologist Logs” will act as a summative evaluation. Students are expected to record key points from each article shared, not just their own.

15 mins

Extension: Have students view a powerpoint about an upcoming hurricane called Lorenzo brewing in the Gulf of Mexico. Students will use the previous information about Irene to make predictions about the progression of Lorenzo based on facts presented to them about the current standings of the storm.
Extra time: If time permits, have the students play “Create-a-cane” as a group using the projector. Students should vote on answers and work to create a perfect score of 80. To get 80: wind must be coming from the same direction; wind must be medium or light but all the same; atmosphere must be very moist on both levels; water temperature must be 26.5 degrees celsius; latitude range between 10 N and 30 N

What do you think will happen when Lorenzo comes up the coast? Will Lorenzo affect Williamsburg in great measures like Irene or in small measures such as Hurricane Sandy?
What was the most important fact you learned about hurricanes and other storms?

Powerpoint of Lorenzo images and facts

Informal assessment of students’ use/access of vocabulary from articles and prior knowledge about hurricanes and storms during class discussion. Students’ ability to appropriately analyze Hurricane Lorenzo and apply what they’ve learned to make predictions about its progression, potential pattern/path, preparations, and damage effects will informally assessed through the notes taken at the bottom of their handout (acting as an exit slip for the day). These notes will be evaluated based on students’ ability to apply the day’s content to predictions about Lorenzo.

5 min

Articles Cited:

Levit, J. (2011). In the wake of Irene. Time for Kids. Retrieved October 25, 2013 from

Liang, A. (2011). East coast prepares for Hurricane Irene. Scholastic News. Retrieved October 25, 2013 from

National Hurricane Center (2011). Hurricane Irene lashes the Virginia Tidewater region. The Times-Picayune. Retrieved October 25, 2013 from

Potter, N. (2011). Hurricane Irene spawns tornadoes, damage reported in Delaware, Virginia. ABC News. Retrieved October 25, 2013 from

Shapley, D. (2011). Hurricane Irene on a path toward Mid-Atlantic, New York City and New England (update). The Daily Green. Retrieved October 25, 2013 from
Photographs Cited:

Boynton, Betsy (2013). Coastal change hazards: Hurricanes and extreme storms. Retrieved 10/28, 2013 from

Crawford, L. (2011). Hurricane Irene. Retrieved 10/28, 2013, from

Hurricane Irene coming. (2013). Bahamas News. Retrieved October 28, 2013 from

Hurricane dangers: Wind, water, and at-risk zones. (2013). Capitol Broadcasting Company, Inc. Retrieved October 28, 2013 from

Leibach, H. (n.d.) Thunderstorms. Retrieved from the Severe-wx Wiki

Mexico battered by massive storms from east and west. (2013). Geo-Mexico. Retrieved October 28, 2013 from

Mosher, D. (2011). NASA measures Irene's record rain totals from space. Wired.

NASA. (2011). Hurricane tracker: NASA Captures Irene from Space. (). Caribbean: International Business Times.

NASA. (2013). NASA on twitter. Retrieved 10/28, 2013, from

National Hurricane Center (2013). Post-tropical cyclone Lorenzo. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved October 28, 2013 from
National Hurricane Center. (2013). Post-tropical cyclone LORENZO. Retrieved 10/28, 2013, from

New Jersey Real Estate. (2011). Preparing for Hurricane Irene. Retrieved 10/28, 2013, from

Obama, B. (2011). Hurricane Irene. Retrieved 10/28, 2013, from

Postel, G. (2013). Hurricane Lorenzo. The Weather Channel. Retrieved October 28, 2013 from

Reynz, R. (2011) Hurricane Irene. Reyna Elena dot com. Retrieved October 28, 2013 from

Smith, M. (2013). Hurricane. Raymond soaks Mexico’s Pacific coast. Cable News Network. Retrieved October 28, 2013 from

Tornado Safety. (2012). Columbus LTC. Retrieved October 28, 2013 from

Weather Underground. (2013). Post-tropical cyclone Lorenzo. Weather Underground, Inc. Retrieved October 28, 2013 from

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