Mission 1 - Lesson 8: Heat Flowing in the Atmosphere

Below is a non-interactive sample for this type of resource.

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Describe how heat flows through the atmosphere.
Time Required: 60 to 120 minutes
  • Gather the materials listed on page 20 of the student edition for each pair of students.
  • Review the Teaching Tips, Lab Prep, and Make Observations sections on page 20 of the teacher’s edition.
  • Prepare a ready source of hot water.
  • Make copies of the Lab 3 Data sheet from the JASON Mission Center for each student.
  • Ask students to share their answers for the JASON Journal prompt on page 18 of the student edition. As a class, conclude that a drinking straw works because liquid flows from high pressure in the glass to low pressure in the mouth.
  • Ask students to describe other ways that energy moves through the atmosphere. You may want to review the diagram on page 12. Ask how the sun’s heat is transferred.
  • Ask students if they have ever felt a strong breeze on a hot beach. Discuss possible causes for the continuous wind at a beach.
  • Explain that today’s activity will help them understand how convection transfers energy in the earth’s atmosphere.
  • Begin by having students read Heat Flow in Our Atmosphere on page 19 of the student editions.
  • Use the prompts and suggestions on page 19 of the teacher’s edition to guide student understanding of conduction, convection, and radiation.
  • After students have demonstrated understanding of the terms, have them read Observing Convection on page 20 of the student edition with their lab partners. Ask how convection might contribute to the formation of a monster storm.
  • Read the Lab Prep on page 20 of the student edition together.
  • Distribute the suggested materials and use the Teacher Tips on page 20 of the teacher’s edition to correct errors or misconceptions.
  • When students have completed the experiment, check to see that the Lab 3 Data sheets have been completed correctly.
  • Instruct students to write the procedure for the experiment they design for the Make Observations section in great detail before beginning.
  • Check to see if the experiment is reasonable.
Heat Flow in Our Atmosphere
Find out about the three different ways heat energy can be transferred as it flows from warm to cooler areas. The processes of radiation, conduction, and convection are explained in this article.
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Observing Convection
Convection is a process that helps distribute heat energy from Earth’s surface into the atmosphere. Under the right conditions, this process fuels monster storms. In this lab, students have a chance to observe this process on a very small scale using soap and water.
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Observing Convection Data Sheet
Data sheet for Mission 1, Lab 3.
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Reflect And Assess
Instruct students to write the procedure for the experiment they design for the Make Observations section in great detail before beginning. Check to see if the experiment is reasonable.
  • Have students complete the JASON Journal prompt on page 20 of the student edition for homework.
  • If your schedule permits, having the class make ice cream as outlined in the Extension on page 19 of the teacher’s edition is a fun way to explore energy transfer.
  • Mission 1 Lab 3: Observing Convection
    Earth receives more heat at the equator than at the poles. How do wind currents result? What is the overall effect of winds on Earth?
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