Interactive Models

Hurricanes as Heat Engines Story Map


Using various visualizations (i.e., images, charts, and graphs), students will explore the energy exchange that occurs when hurricanes extract heat energy from the ocean. This story map is intended to be used with students who have access to a computing device in a 1:1 or 1:2 setting.  

Hurricanes as Heat Engines Story Map

Materials Required

Resources Needed Per Student:


  1. Using an internet accessible device, students open the link to the Hurricanes as Heat Engines Story Map Lesson to begin their exploration of this phenomenon.
  2. Distribute the Hurricanes as Heat Engines Story Map Student Data Sheet. Have students navigate on their own through the Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate tabs of the story map to answer the questions and complete the activities on their student data sheet.

Hurricanes as Heat Engines Story MapClick Here

Teacher Note

The passage of a hurricane causes a large transfer of heat between the ocean surface and the atmosphere. It also causes surface waters to diverge, bringing cooler water from below to the surface (upwelling). These effects are so large that they can be seen by a drop in sea surface temperature (SST) in satellite data observations along the path of the storm. The cooler water conditions may last for a week or longer after the storm.

To learn more, visit: 

Virtual Teachers:  Make a copy of the Google Forms LogoGoogle Form of your choice so that you may assign it directly from your Google Drive into your Learning Management System (e.g., Google Classroom, Canvas, Schoology, etc.).  Do you need help incorporating these Google Forms into your Learning Management System?  If so, read this google doc logo Guide to Using Google Forms with My NASA Data.

Teachers who are interested in receiving the answer key, please complete the Teacher Key Request and Verification Form. We verify that requestors are teachers prior to sending access to the answer keys as we’ve had many students try to pass as teachers to gain access.

  • Students will analyze NASA sea surface temperature data to use as evidence to explain a phenomenon.
  • Students will explore how hurricanes gain energy from the ocean surface.
  1. How is the development of a hurricane affected by sea surface temperature?
  2. How is thermal energy transferred within a hurricane system?
  3. How does a hurricane affect the different spheres within the Earth System?

National Geography Standard

How to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information from a spatial perspective.

  • Internet Required
  • One-to-One (tablet, laptop, or CPU)
  • One-to-a-Group
  • Visualization Tool Required

Not finding what you are looking for?