Unit 3: Considering the Influence of Light and Thermal Phenomena on Local Weather

Exploring Physical Phenomena: What happens when light from the Sun shines on the Earth?

Unit 3 Table of Contents

I. Introduction

II. Identifying Student Resources

A. Connecting to relevant knowledge and experiences

Question 3.1 What do you already know about water and weather?

1. Example of student work about early experiences with water and weather

B. Documenting initial ideas about states of matter

2. Diagnostic Question about States of Matter

III. Developing Central Ideas Based on Evidence

A. Exploring the difference between heat and temperature during changes in state

Question 3.2 What happens when ice melts, liquid water warms, and the liquid water eventually boils?

1. Example of student work about changes in states of matter 

2. Nuances about changes in stages of matter 

B. Exploring phase changes in which water absorbs or releases energy

Question 3.3 What are some everyday examples of water absorbing energy when it changes state?

Question 3.4 What are some everyday examples of water releasing energy when it changes state?

C. Exploring convection phenomena

Question 3.5 What happens when convection occurs?

3. Nuances about convection phenomena 

D. Summarizing the water cycle

Question 3.6 What is the water cycle?

4. Example of student work about explorations of the water cycle 

IV. Developing Additional Central Ideas Based on Evidence

A. Exploring the effects of properties of materials

Question 3.7 What happens when light shines on sand and water?

1. Example of student work about what happens when light shines on sand and water. 

2. Nuances about the exploration of effects of properties of materials 

a) Noticing the lack of a relationship between the properties of thermal conductivity and density 

b) Interpreting the difference in initial heights of the lines in Fig. 3.6 

c) Interpreting the slopes of the lines in Figs. 3.4 and 3.6 

d) Comparing the slopes of the lines 

e) Relating the slopes of the lines to specific heats of sand and water 

f) Considering the effect of the property of reflectivity

g) Considering the relative importance of various properties 

V. Using Central Ideas to Explain Intriguing Phenomena Involving Local Weather at the Beach

A. Considering the influence of properties of materials on thermal effects

Question 3.8 Why is the sand warm and the water cool at the beach if the Sun has been shining on both in the same way for the same time?

1. Example of student work explaining about sand and water at the beach 

B. Considering the influence of light and thermal phenomena on weather at the beach  

Question 3.9 Why do clouds and sea breezes often form after a sunny day at the beach?

1. Example of student work explaining about cloudy skies and sea breezes forming in the afternoon after a sunny day at the beach 

2. Nuances about explaining changes in weather during a sunny day at the beach 

3. Example of learning and teaching about sea breezes with friends and/or family members 

Question 3.10 What happens when teaching friends or family members about the physical phenomena underlying changes in weather at the beach?

VI. Using Mathematical Representations to Estimate a Quantity of Interest

A. Exploring computer models designed to predict earthquakes and tsunamis

Question 3.11 How do geologists predict earthquakes and tsunamis?

1. Examples of student reflections upon discussing earthquake and tsunami preparedness with a friend or family member 

B. Exploring computer models designed to predict the weather

Question 3.12 How do meteorologists predict the weather?

VII. Making Connections to Educational Policies

Question 3.13 What NGSS science and engineering practices, cross-cutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas have you used in developing an explanation for the occurrence of hot sand, cool water, clouds, and sea breezes late in the afternoon after a sunny day at the beach?

A. Learning about the US Next Generation Science Standards: Disciplinary Core Ideas

B. Reflecting upon this development of a complex explanation

C. Making connections to the NGSS understandings about the nature of science

VIII. Exploring Physical Phenomena: Summary of Equipment and Supplies for Unit 3

 

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Exploring Physical Phenomena by Emily Van Zee & Elizabeth Gire is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.