Students can track the path of any hurricane and predict its course by calculating the time it will take the hurricane to make landfall by using the equation time = distance/speed!!!
If you’re students already know how to use the speed triangle or solve for Time using the equation for speed than this could be a quick assignment or homework. However if you haven’t introduced them to motion, speed, velocity, reference points, and vectors, I provide a PowerPoint that will teach them before they calculate and predict the path of a current hurricane. I first have the students look up the definitions using a book or the internet and write the answers down on a piece of paper. After they are done we discuss what they all mean and I give real life examples to put the vocabulary into context. I then teach my students how to use the speed triangle using the next slides on the PowerPoint. I allow them to try some of the speed, distance and time word problems after I model the first few.
Once I feel they have a grasp on how to calculate speed, distance and time, I pass out the hurricane tracker handout. I give them the location (reference point), distance from the US, the hurricane’s speed and its velocity using the website nhc.noaa.gov. They then calculate the time it should take to make landfall based on the speed and distance I give them. Their predictions may not be the same as the expert’s, but the whole point or goal is that students learn how to apply vocabulary and math to real world problems and stay up on current events. For homework the students then check the website for updates and recalculate the path of the hurricane. Depending on your student population, you may need to give them more guidance or fill in the data table in class every day.
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