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|Question of the Week: Week 2|
Item 8 23-MAR-1998 10:11 Kristina (Tina) Bishop (tina)
What have you observed is most captivating about El Nino for the children in your classrooms?
Following is my responce to the Question for week 2.
The idea that I think would captivate the students I teach is the realization that even the professional full-time PhD.'s have not fully discovered all there is to know about El Nino and La Nina. Kids in grades 5-6 seem to think that science is just a bunch of facts and that someone knows all the correct answers. The idea that there is alot we know but there is still more to find out can get even the most "I hate science" or "I am not smart enough " student interested and engaged in learning about El Nino.
I am a teacher of all grade levels but I am answering this question for the 5-6 graders for whom I am designing a lesson plan. (I might add that most of the time I am not in a classroom, but outdoors with classes.)
Personally I was captivated by a number of aspects of El Nino and La Nina:
* The aspect that the waters can warm up and rise on one side of the ocean while the other side cools and lowers. That represents a lot of heat exchange and seems pretty awsome to me.
* The fact that we are only beginning to be able to measure and quantify these changes. Satellites and their technology are "new" compared to the Peruvian Fishermans tales.
* The interaction between the ocean, the land and the atmosphere during the El Nino and La Nina. In other words the weather pattens on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts are effected by the Pacific Ocean.
The impact of El Nino has hit our students with having 5 snow days this year. Normal is 1 or 2 and that this last fall the weather was wetter than normal. Watching the maps and explaination of the trade winds in their science book, the students have noted that there is no mention of a switch in the winds, the ocean rising and the Pacific becoming warmer than normal. They have always wondered why people build houses where they could slide off the mountain. Most of the students are becoming concerned about the tornado season that is fast approaching, since there has been so many in the South. These are 7/8th grade LD students of which some are on the school buses for almost a hour to get home and have to walk between buildings at school during rain storms.
Earlier this year, I led my students (6th graders at Seoul American ES) through a unit dealing with environmental factors and their impact on human life. We were mainly concerned with global warming, and there were several big names postulating that El Nino cycles will become worse if global warming trends continue. We synthesized a bit of everything into our explorations - (The Little Ice Age, for example, and how an Eskimo appeared one day in his kayak on Scotland's River Don -- How the Black Death, which is commonly thought of as a strictly European phenomenon, really started when China's Yellow River flooded, killing thousands upon thousands of people, thus providing enough 'food' for a population explosion of plague-carrying rodents, some of which were then inadvertently 'shipped' into Asia Minor, then on into Marseilles.....) The kids loved this unit, and once we did begin our study of El Nino proper, they were (and still are) always rushing in with the latest news on El Nino. They continuously query me on what effects it might have on Korea. "If the Han River flooded because of El Nino, could there be a plague here?" They keep
me on my toes, so it's nice to have the additional information from this conference in order to help clarify their impressions.
Question of the Week: Week Two
Record high temperatures were set in New York yesterday and March 27, 1998 became Long Island's second hottest March day on record (80 degrees Fahrenheit)! As the children streamed into my classroom after lunch recess, sweating from the joyful spring/summer air, they looked at the huge weather map hanging on our side bulletin board to marvel at the warm air mass that we had been following for a week. Did this sudden change in temperature have something to do with El Nino or was it only the presence of the high pressure system offshore that pulled the warm southwestern air to us? Even some of the local meteorologists disagreed. A Brookhaven National Laboratory meteorologist, Victor Cassella, said that it could have something to do with an effect of El Nino, but Bob Stalker, another meteorologist with the Brookhaven weather service, disagreed.
On day one, it was the name "El Nino" that sparked the curiosity of the students about this phenomenon. After that, it was the media coverage that sustained their interest and concern. The television, newspapers, magazines, and radio covered the floods in California and Virginia, the tornado in Florida and the ice storms in Canada. They called the 1997 El Nino, "the climate event of the century." Children saw memorable footage of homes sliding off cliffs, lives destroyed by tornadoes, and heard about the suffering of people in other countries such as Peru, Ecuador, Australia and Indonesia from floods, drought, and fires.
This climate anomaly has prompted the students to question if there could ever be snow in summer or is there a shift in our seasons? New York had its only snowstorm last week on the third day of spring. They wanted to know if it was time to redefine the four seasons? Many of the students who suffer from asthma and allergies were having a difficult time this February and March instead of the usual period beginning in March to April. The ultimate explanation was El Nino. Because our winter was extremely mild, trees across the United States were sending out their irritating pollen two to three weeks early. Heavy rains also contributed to the high pollen counts of other plants. This sneezing or allergy season promises to be a longer one than usual because only strong cold spells or extreme hot spells are the two events that could halt the high pollen count. Meteorologists predict that both of these two events are only a remote possibility. El Nino will continue to captivate our attention and our lives because this huge power machine we call the weather affects how we feel mentally and physically.
I posted my response on Saturday, March 28 and was shocked not to find it on this page today. I used Post + Go. Today I used Post + View. What's the difference?
the only difference is that on post and view you get to see it, good to know that ti is actually there, post and go means you move right along to the next activity. did you recoer the posting or did you ned to redo it Helen?
Peter, I did not think to recover it. The original typed response was a copy and paste job from my Microsoft Word so I just copied and pasted again. I'm still amazed by this convenience!