Burrito Climate

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BurritoClimate_PlayPicture

MAIN TOPIC OF VIDEO: The difference between measuring climate and weather.

 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

Frame:

  1. What is the weather like today?
  2. What has the weather been like over the past week?
  3. What is our climate like?
  4. What do you think is the difference between weather and climate?
  5. Burrito is going to use a metaphor to show the difference between climate and weather. What is a metaphor?

 

Focus:

  1. The man is reading a newspaper and says, “Droughts, global warming; what the heck are they talking about? It’s been cool and rainy all week.” What does he mean?
  2. How does Dr. Burrito use burritos to demonstrate the difference between weather and climate?
  3. How many years of weather data should you use to determine the climate?

 

Follow-up:

  1. How could Dr. Burrito actually show the difference between weather and climate?
  2. Does using a metaphor help teach about the difference between weather and climate?
  3. What other metaphors could we use to explain the difference between these two concepts?
  4. How would this video help you explain this important concept?

 

ANSWERS TO DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

Frame:

  1. What is the weather like today?
    • Have students describe the weather
      1. Weather is the daily condition of the Earth’s atmosphere
      2. Weather is generally measured by the temperature, wind, clouds, and precipitation (rain, snow, etc.)
      3. Check the local paper or go online to see the weather today and projected into the near future. Online resources include http://www.weather.gov/ and Weather Underground
  1. What has the weather been like over the past week?
    • Have students describe the weather that they remember
    • Check the local paper or go online (example: Weather Underground) to see how accurate they were.
    • Is it difficult to remember from day-to-day, week-to-week? What about year-to-year? That can lead us to faulty thinking about weather.
  2. What is our climate like?
    • Climate can be defined as the average weather over a long period of time, generally 10 years
    • You can check online at NOAA Climate Map
    • Five types of climate, based on latitude:
      1. Polar (Tundra, Ice cap)
      2. Continental (Warm summer, Cool summer, Subarctic)
      3. Mild (Mediterranean, Humid subtropical, Marine)
      4. Dry (Arid, Semiarid)
      5. Tropical (Wet/rain forest, Monsoon, Wet and dry/savanna)
    • Climate is generally described using the average temperature range along with the amount and type of precipitation
    • Easy video to explain weather vs. climate from NASA

http://pmm.nasa.gov/education/sites/default/files/videos/Our%20World%20-%20What%20is%20Weather.mp4

  • Factors include
    1. Air temperature – varies based on the amount and angle of sunlight
    2. Air pressure – based on density, unequal heating of the atmosphere causes wind
    3. Relative humidity – moisture in atmosphere (causes clouds to form and precipitation)
  1. What do you think is the difference between weather and climate?
    • Answers will vary. But the following can be use to help the students towards the correct answer:
      • Basic concepts from EPA:
        • Weather is a specific event or condition that happens over a period of hours or days. For example, a thunderstorm, a snowstorm, and today’s temperature all describe the weather.
        • Climate refers to the average weather conditions in a place over many years (usually at least 30 years). For example, the climate in Minneapolis is cold and snowy in the winter, while Miami’s climate is hot and humid. The average climate around the world is called global climate.
      • Here’s an easy way to remember the difference between weather and climate: Climate helps you decide what clothes to buy, and weather helps you decide what clothes to wear each day.
      • Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get. – Mark Twain
  1. Burrito is going to use a metaphor to show the difference between measuring climate and weather. What is a metaphor?
    • A metaphor is a figure of speech that compares to unlike things to add meaning or explain by an indirect example
    • See examples in the Additional Resources section below

 

Focus:

  1. The man is reading the newspaper, and says, “Droughts, global warming; what the heck are they talking about? It’s been cool and rainy all week.” What does he mean?
    • He is confusing the terms “weather” and “climate”. Even though it has been “cool and rainy all week,” overall the climate has been changing. More extreme weather events, like droughts (lack of precipitation) and global warming (overall increased temperatures) are occurring. Weather is a daily occurrence. Climate is over long periods of time.
  1. How does Dr. Burrito use burritos to demonstrate the difference between weather and climate?
    • He says, “According to this reputable article, burritos have been getting increasingly spicier over the last decade.” But then he takes quick bites, or samples, of some burritos that he finds mild (not spicy). His quick sampling is like the daily weather. The daily weather is not a measurement of climate because climate is the average weather over a long period of time.
    • Note that Dr. Burrito makes sure that it is a “reputable” article, because there are many inaccurate and misleading articles that deny climate change and state that it is “just a naturally occurring variation”.
    • So, he says, “We can’t make an accurate assessment of the climate of burrito spiciness without analyzing at least ten years of burrito data.” The video shows a quick montage of ten years of burrito data that relates to the graph showing increasing spiciness (this parallels the process of analyzing data to show Earth’s rising global temperature).
  1. How many years of weather should you use to determine the climate?
    • Generally, about 10 years.
    • When talking about global warming, look at the long-term trends, not the year-to-year variations.
    • Increased amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, CO2, based on fossil fuel emissions are being tracked by the Keeling curve, which is regularly studied and updated. CO2 is a powerful greenhouse gas that absorbs and emits radiation, which warms the atmosphere and causes increases in the global temperatures.

 

Follow-up:

  1. How could Dr. Burrito actually show the difference between weather and climate?
    • Burrito could use the research from governmental agencies that explain.
    • Variations in temperature are normal, but when you smooth out the data trend, there is clear evidence of warming temperatures overall.
  1. How does using a metaphor help teach about the difference between weather and climate?
    • Generally, teaching difficult ideas is easier when you compare the subject to something else, usually something more familiar (metaphors), while using some puns (spiciness for “heat”, i.e., hotter temperatures), and some humor.
    • However, a longer, straightforward, detailed explanation can also create similar levels of understanding

 

FURTHER ACTION

  1. Explore Interactive Models:
  2. Create and report
    • Write poetry using figurative language (explore at “Read, Write, Think”)
    • Write another video script that uses another way to teach about the difference between weather and climate
    • Make your own presentation using Google Slides or PowerPoint to show the relationship between increased CO2 levels and overall global temperatures or explaining short-term weather patterns and long-term climate trends.
    • Create and explain a map showing rising sea levels and their impact

 

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

  1. Resources – Learn more about weather, climate, and global warming
  2. Literal vs. Figurative Language – Literal language means exactly what it says, while figurative language uses simile, metaphor, hyperbole, and personification to describe something often through comparison with something different (http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/lesson-docs/LiteralFigurativeHandout.pdf)
  3. See the examples below.
  • Literal Descriptions:

Grass looks green. Sand feels rough. The flower smells sweet. Grasshoppers make a high-pitched noise.

  • Figurative Descriptions:
    • The grass looks like spiky green hair. (Simile)
    • Sand is solid water. (Metaphor)
    • The flower has the sweetest smelling petals in the world. (Hyperbole)
    • Grasshoppers are fiddlers who play their legs. (Personification)
  1. Explore the difference between a metaphor and a simile

 

 

 

 

Credit: This teacher resource has been adapted from content originally developed by Elizabeth Brooking.

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