Climate Factors Bundle - 5E and NGSS Aligned (MS-ESS2-6)

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Grade Levels
6th - 8th, Homeschool
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100 pages
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Products in this Bundle (7)

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    Storyline Summary - Order of Activities, Phenomena & Formative Assessments
    Also included in
    1. Develop student understanding of weather and climate concepts through this NGSS-aligned three-dimensional storyline. Introduce the investigative phenomenon -- understanding Death Valley and why it’s so hot. (Students can also take it further to understand why the region is prime real estate for sola
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    This Bundle Includes:

    0 Describing Climate With Data: Climographs & Death Valley

    Introduce and engage students in the basic concepts of climate, the climate of the Mojave Desert specifically, and the impact of climate on solar energy generation in this activity that introduces an investigative phenomenon and launches student learning. In this activity, students

    • analyze climate data to create (or, to scaffold the activity, simply interpret) climographs that allow them to easily compare the climate of five locations -- one proposed solar energy farm and four existing solar energy developments (selected from among the top 10 in the world).
    • use their climographs and additional provided resources to draw conclusions about the suitability of sites for solar energy development
    • begin to explore the concept that latitude impacts the amount of energy a given location receives and therefore, its climate.

    This activity can be used instead of 1 Climatograms - Understanding Climate Data - Precipitation & Temperature MS-ESS2-6 described below.

    1 Climatograms - Understanding Climate Data - Precipitation & Temperature MS-ESS2-6

    Introduce climate categories through an interactive, minds-on task in which students first learn to read a climatogram before creating their own from data provided. (Alternatively, students can investigate their local climate by obtaining data and using the blank card provided!) After compiling and then analyzing their data, students will categorize various U.S. cities by climate. 

    2 Exploring Latitude To Understand Climate Patterns - Climate Factors MS-ESS2-6

    Dig into the impact of latitude on climate in this engaging NGSS-aligned exploration that builds student understanding of a key factor that impacts Earth’s climate patterns. In this activity sequence, students 

    • map North American deserts and analyze average temperatures to draw conclusions about the impact of latitude on temperature
    • then design and carry out an investigation using a simulation to answer the question, Why does latitude affect temperature? 
    • participate in a low-prep demo/ultra simple lab to reinforce student understanding of the impact of the angle of incidence (the angle at which solar energy hits the Earth) on the temperature of the region. 
    • read a short text to obtain additional evidence and reinforce student understanding of the explored concepts
    • finally, compile the evidence they have collected to explain the differences in temperatures of North American deserts (the initial phenomenon)

    3 Atmospheric Circulation To Understand Climate MS-ESS2-6

    Discover the basics of atmospheric circulation in this three-part activity sequence in which students

    • review the relationship between particle motion and thermal energy through an online simulation
    • carry out an investigation to understand the movement of atmospheric gasses via convection
    • develop a model to understand the role of the Earth's rotation in the movement of air on Earth's surface. 
    • and finally, apply their understanding to the phenomenon of regional climates

    4 Climate Factors -Geography & Mountains, Rain Shadow Effect, Elevation, & Water

    Discover the influence of geography - mountains, elevation, and bodies of water - on climate by analyzing precipitation and temperature patterns presented on climatograms of key U.S. cities. Then use web resources (or supplementary texts) in combination with the evidence collected during the activity to support claims regarding the influence of geography on climate.

    5 Ocean Currents & Climate - Temperature, Salinity & Ocean Circulation MS-ESS2-6

    Explore the relationships between water temperature and convection currents, and in a second lab, salinity and convection currents through two hands-on activities. The lab analysis sheets provide an opportunity for students to begin making sense of their observations and includes additional questions to help students connect their observations in the lab to climate and weather.  Extension questions provide an opportunity for students to make further connections to global climate change and the melting of polar ice.

    6 Modeling Earth’s Climate Assessment - Formative & Summative - MSESS2-6

    Assess student understanding - either formatively or summatively - in this NGSS-aligned, engaging performance task in which students

    • create a model to explain latitudinal climate patterns,
    • then use their model, as well as their understanding of other factors that impact climate (geography, etc) to explain the climate of two locations (selected from eight provided Desert Climate Cards). [Full explanations are provided for teacher background knowledge.]

    How can this lesson be used?

    • engage students in an exploration-based NGSS-aligned unit on climate and the factors that explain it
    • develop students’ 3D mastery of the NGSS

    How much class time will this take?

    • This unit is designed to take 2-3 weeks, depending upon how quickly your students work and what additional activities you may choose to include. 

    Is this NGSS-aligned?

    This resource is part of a storyline (Organisms And Their Environments) designed to work toward the tagged Next Generation Science Standards. Because Performance Expectations are designed to assess learning by the end of the grade band, unit material may not fully assess every Performance Expectation tagged in the post. This bundle does not include the entire Organisms And Their Environments storyline.

    • MS-ESS2-5 Collect data to provide evidence for how the motions and complex interactions of air masses result in changes in weather conditions. (fully assessed)
    • MS-ESS2-6 Develop and use a model to describe how unequal heating and rotation of the Earth cause patterns of atmospheric and oceanic circulation that determine regional climates. (fully assessed)
    • MS-LS2-1 Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.
    • MS-ESS2-4 Develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth's systems driven by energy from the sun and the force of gravity.
    • MS-LS2-4 Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.

    ⭐️ What Other Teachers Are Saying ⭐️

    ⭐️ "This resource was great for making connections between climate and the real world.”

    ⭐️ "This is a great product! I gave each partnership a different city for the climatographs and then we discussed the data. Thank you for a great resource.”

    What if I have questions?

    You can email me at with questions about resources or implementation. I'm happy to help!

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    Terms Of Use:

    Copyright © 2019 iExploreScience LLC. All pages of this product are copyrighted, and all rights are reserved by the author. You may not create anything to sell or share based on this packet. The product is created for the use of ONE teacher. Please do not share with colleagues. If they like the product, please send them to my TpT store. I appreciate your support with this request! You are permitted to share ONLY the cover image of this product on your blog or via social media as long as you link back to my product on TpT. Failure to comply is a copyright infringement and a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Clipart and elements found in this PDF are copyrighted and cannot be extracted and used outside of this file without permission or license. Intended for classroom and personal use ONLY.

    *Note: NGSS is a registered trademark of Achieve. Neither Achieve nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards were involved in the production of this product, and do not endorse it.

    Total Pages
    100 pages
    Answer Key
    Included with rubric
    Teaching Duration
    2 Weeks
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    to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
    Develop and use a model to describe how unequal heating and rotation of the Earth cause patterns of atmospheric and oceanic circulation that determine regional climates. Emphasis is on how patterns vary by latitude, altitude, and geographic land distribution. Emphasis of atmospheric circulation is on the sunlight-driven latitudinal banding, the Coriolis effect, and resulting prevailing winds; emphasis of ocean circulation is on the transfer of heat by the global ocean convection cycle, which is constrained by the Coriolis effect and the outlines of continents. Examples of models can be diagrams, maps and globes, or digital representations. Assessment does not include the dynamics of the Coriolis effect.


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