Robert Fitzroy was one of the first meteorologists. While most science concentrates on explaining events in the past and present, meteorology is concerned with weather patterns and our ability to predict what will happen with the weather in the near – and not so near – future.

Getting hotter

Download a pdf of the instructions.

Why does this make it hotter in the summer?

You will need...

A spray bottle (a cleaned out surface cleaner bottle is good).
Some yellow washable paint.
Two pieces of squared paper.
Some spare plain paper, for practice.
Newspaper.
A large, clear area in which to do the experiment.

How long will it take?

Initially it will take about an hour to draw the circles and spray the paint.  Then paint-sprayed circles will then need time to dry.  The counting can be done in a second lesson, with time to discuss everyone's results.

What to do...

1.  Have a look at the instructions in the students' section.

2.  The students may like to be in small groups for this - taking it in turns with a single spray bottle of paint.  While they are waiting for their turn you may want to ask the students what results they expect to get.  Which angle of spraying will fill more squares?

3.  Once they have counted their squares make a note of the results in the form of a table.

Group #

1

2

3

4

5

etc

Average

No. squares filled at low angle

20

25

15

13

18

etc

 

No. squares filled at high angle

30

32

25

38

20

etc

 

4.  Ask the students to work out the average of their class results.  Does it match up with the theory?

What is happening?

When the Sun is overhead more light and heat hits each square metre of earth. Just like the paint from overhead fills up more squares on the paper with paint.  When the sun is low in the sky the light and heat is more spread out and so we feel colder.

 

Curriculum Links 

Science:

Working Scientifically

 

Upper key stage 2 Year 5
Earth and Space

Numeracy:

Measurement

 

Statistics

Geography:

Locational knowledge

Art and Design:

To improve their mastery of art and design techniques

 

 Scottish Curriculum

Science

SCN 2-06a

Planet Earth - Space

Mathematics 

 

MTH 2-17a

Shape, position and movement  - Angle, symmetry and transformation

 

MNU 2-20a

Information Handling - Data Analysis

Interpreting and drawing conclusions from the information displayed.  

 

MNU 2-20b

Information Handling - Data Analysis

Devising and using a variety of methods to gather information and working with others to organise and communicate results appropriately.

Summer and winter

Although it is difficult to predict whether it will be sunny or rainy one day to the next, in general we know roughly what kind of weather we can expect in our country.  This is the difference between weather and climate.  The climate of a place depends on how far away it is from the equator, whether it is close to an ocean or surrounded by land, and whether it at sea level or high up in mountains. 

Each country has its own climate, but in general we know that it is warmer in summer than in winter and it is warmer near the equator than at the poles.

The Earth is tilted as it goes around the Sun.  In summer the northern part of the Earth tilts towards the Sun and in winter it tilts away.  

sun and earth_500

As the Earth spins, the Sun appears to move across the sky each day.  Because of the tilt of the Earth the Sun traces out a higher arc each day in summer than it does in winter.  At midday in the summer the sun is nearly overhead, while in the winter at midday the Sun is much lower in the sky.

 

Getting hotter

Download a pdf of the instructions.

Why does this make it hotter in the summer?

You will need...

A spray bottle (a cleaned out surface cleaner bottle is good).
Some yellow washable paint.
Two pieces of squared paper.
Some spare plain paper, for practice.
Newspaper.
A large, clear area in which to do the experiment.

What to do...

1.  Take your squared paper and draw a circle on each one which is about 10cm in diameter. 

2.  Put some yellow paint in the bottom of the spray bottle, and then add the same amount again of water.  You will need enough water / paint mixture so that the tube from the spray is always under the water level.  Practice spraying some of the paint into a sink so that every time you pull the handle a similar amount of paint comes out.

3.  Spread newspaper over a table or on the floor.  If it isn't windy you can try this outdoors (also with some newspaper down!)

4.  Put down your two pieces of squared paper which you have drawn the circles on, onto the middle of the newspaper, and put some practise sheets of plain paper over the top.

5.  Now hold the spray bottle at a low angle, and about 30cm from the paper, and spray your practice sheet aiming for where one of the circles is.  Spray just once each time.  Try a few times until you are sure you have got your aim right.  Then remove the practice paper and spray just once at the first circle on your  squared paper. 

paint spray_400

6.  Move the sprayed piece of  paper away to stop it getting sprayed any more and leave it to dry.

7.  Now you are going to do something similar with the second circle.  Make sure you hold the spray bottle at the same distance from the paper - about 30cm - but this time hold the spray bottle directly over the paper.  Once you have your aim right, remove any  practice paper and spray just once onto your second piece of paper with the circle drawn on it.

8.  Now leave both squared paper circles to dry.

9.  Once the paint on the paper circles is dry, count the number of squares in each circle which are more than half covered in paint (or which are fully covered in paint, if you have very small squares).

paint spray 2_500

10.  Make a note of the number of squares covered by the first spray from the low angle, and by the second spray from directly above.  Compare your results with those of other people in your class.

 

What is happening?

When the Sun is overhead, more light and heat hits each square metre of Earth.   Just like the paint sprayed from directly overhead fills up more squares on the paper.  When the sun is low in the sky the light is more spread out, so it is colder.