Teacher ideas: maintaining a weather station

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What you need

A range of equipment to measure different elements of weather such as thermometer, barometer, anemometer, hygrometer and rain gauge

Teaching focus

Relate the importance of recording the weather accurately over time to work out weather patterns to make forecasts and to assess any changes in climate.

Use a table to list the range of instruments used to measure different elements of weather. An example has been provided for you.

Instrument What it measures
Thermometer Temperature
Barometer Atmospheric air pressure
Anemometer Wind speed
Hygrometer Air moisture (dry or damp)
Rain gauge Amount of rain
Sunshine recorder Amount of sunshine

Assess the weather measuring equipment available at your school. You may have some of the instruments listed in the table, or data logging equipment and a range of probes.

What to do

Introduce the different instruments and how they are used to measure elements of weather.

Arrange to collect daily data using the instruments available to you. Ideally this can be completed over a long period.

If possible, share your results with a school in another region to compare and contrast similarities and differences.

The data can be displayed in tables and graphs using spreadsheets.

Discussion

Prompt students to think about the weather by asking questions such as:

  • In Australia, what information would you need to understand the climate for a particular area?
  • What is meant by the term 'drought'? Would a drought along the eastern coast of Australia be the same as a drought in central Australia?
  • Explore opinions about how long weather patterns need to be unusual for it to be considered climate change.

Further inquiry

Ask students to find out when weather recording began in their town or city.