Course Summary – Weather and Water
The FOSS Weather and Water Course focuses on Earth’s atmosphere, weather, and water. Students will delve into topics that may seem unrelated to weather, including a good dose of physics and a bit of chemistry. A good understanding of meteorology as an earth science isn’t complete without an introduction to concepts that cross into these disciplines.
Understanding weather is more than reading data from a weather center. Students need to grapple with ideas about atoms and molecules, changes of state, and heat transfer before they can launch into the bigger ideas involving air masses and fronts, convection cells and winds, and the development of severe weather.
Earth’s atmosphere is composed of a variety of gases, with nitrogen and oxygen the most abundant. But Earth wouldn’t be the same if it weren’t for one keystone gas, water vapor, a relatively small and variable component of the atmosphere. Without water vapor and its liquid and solid forms, both on the surface and in the atmosphere, there would be no weather. There would be neither clouds nor precipitation. If precipitation didn’t occur, we wouldn’t have runoff to create the streams and rivers that erode mountains, deposit deltas, and replenish lakes and oceans. An atmosphere without water vapor would be an alien and hostile place. The importance of water on Earth is a major element of this course.
For a description of each investigation in the Weather and Water Course and the correlations to the National Science Education Standards, download the Weather and Water Course Overview PDF.