This is a two-day lesson that has students look at the average temperature of three different cities to find a correlation between the average temperature of a city and its latitude. Day one has the students graph the average monthly temperature of three cities: México City, Calgary and Caracas. Then they calculate the yearly average and the range and use their graphs and data to make some comparisons about the climate of each city. Day two the students compare the yearly average with each city’s latitude and longitude to see if there is a pattern. They then perform an activity with a flashlight, read an informational text, look at an illustration and then finally look at sea surface temperature to develop and reinforce the idea that latitude is the main factor that affects temperature. Each day takes about 90 minutes to complete, but can be modified depending on your students’ needs and time constraints. The lesson includes two different student worksheets, PowerPoints, teacher instructions and some possible multiple-choice quiz questions. All of the materials are fully editable.
Higher latitudes receive less solar energy per unit of area than do lower latitudes, resulting in temperature differences based on latitude. This general pattern of areas with higher average annual temperatures near the equator and lower average annual temperatures at higher latitudes is caused by more direct light or greater energy per unit of area at the equator and less direct light at the poles or less solar energy per unit of area.
Next Generation Science Standards
Core Idea: MS-ESS2.D Weather and climate are influenced by interactions involving sunlight, the ocean, the atmosphere, ice, landforms and living things. These interactions vary with latitude, altitude, and local and regional geography, all of which can affect oceanic and atmospheric flow patterns.
2. graph paper
4. colored pencils
6. light meters (optional)
7. globe (optional)
The lesson is two separate word documents so they can be altered and improved. It also includes brief PowerPoint slideshows to accompany the worksheets which can also be altered. The multiple-choice questions are also a word document that can be altered.