Categories: David Banks, [Lessons]
Tags: David Banks, lesson, Science
Students gain a better understanding of what isotherms and isobars represent on maps.
Science: weather, climate, mapping
About 4-6 rolls of toilet paper per demonstration.
24-36 sheets of paper
large markers of different colors
tape or string
Assign each isotherm or isobar a color (40 degrees is blue, 1000 mB is orange) and write them on different rolls of toilet paper. For my lesson, I had rolls representing 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70 degrees. Make big signs for two or three temperature readings for each isotherm, making sure you’re using the same colors. The colors help kids notice the temperature range. Pick one side of the room to be “North” and the other side to be “South” and hang your temperature signs appropriately.
Introduce or conduct a thorough review of what isotherms/isobars are and what they represent. Draw some on the board, demonstrating how they look on a traditional map.
Have kids line up on either the “East” or “West” side of the room. Choose your first set of volunteers. Each kid gets one roll that represents one isobar/isotherm. Have one kid at a time run through the temperature reading signs while another holds the end of the roll, such that their toilet paper trail traces the isobar/isotherm. Encourage the rest of the class to help the volunteering student navigate the temperatures.
Hands-on, running around the classroom activity for a topic that typically involves lots of bookwork or writing. Provides a different perspective on how isotherms/isobars are drawn and relate to 3D space and geography. Helps establish an orientation to maps and connect bird’s-eye-views with on the ground.
Your classroom has toilet paper all over it. Lots of waste. Keeping temperature signs hung the whole day is difficult.