Lesson Plan

Cloudy vs. Clear - Maps

Find out the science of how clouds keep Earth cooler on hot days. Using guided discussions, investigators analyze and interpret maps of how much solar energy Earth receives at different times of the year. Participants draw conclusions about the role of clouds as it relates to the amount of energy Earth receives by answering a series of targeted questions. Finally, explorers share their thoughts about cloud cover and climate change on an exit ticket.

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Instructional Ideas
  • Use a map data literacy cube to help group members successfully analyze their maps; link provided in the activity
Classroom Considerations
  • Assumes basic understanding of cardinal directions, causes of seasons, the idea of net values in a system, deductive and spatial reason in map usage, Watts/m^2 as a unit of measure, and the sun as Earth's primary heat source
  • Requires some preparation accessing documents, so plan accordingly
  • Includes ideas to extend learning
  • Designed for standalone face-to-face or virtual instruction, allowing for instructor flexibility
  • Contains a minor typographical error