Why don't we have to worry about hurricanes and tornadoes in our local area? Why do 70% of tornadoes on Earth occur in the Great Plains region of the United States each year? What causes a hurricane to form? What exactly is a rain shadow, anyway?
This lab is another one written by Laura Branch, high school science teacher from Santa Maria, California. Thinking about students and their weakness in geography, I wrote this lab so students can look at maps, think about what latitude is and look at locations of major mountain ranges in the United States.
Students enjoy drawing in the classroom and I have found that important concepts get into their long term memory if they draw, write and talk about the concepts at hand. One of the California State Science Standards is about rain shadows and why they are located where they are. This lab does just this. It will help students learn about geography, rain shadows and severe weather. It also generates a lot of conversation about major hurricanes that have impacted the United States such as Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy.