MY NASA DATA Lesson:

Rock Star Precipitation

Precipitation Map 2005

Image courtesy NASA

Purpose:
You are a famous musician planning your world tour. The locations you have booked so far are: Chile, Venezuela, Greenland, and Maine (USA). You have not yet secured dates. You need to predict the best times to perform in these areas. Keep in mind that you perform in outdoor amphitheaters.
Grade Level: 3 – 5
Estimated Time for Completing Activity: One 45-minute class period.
Learning Outcomes:
  • Students will observe Monthly Precipitation Data from 2006
  • Students will evaluate changes in monthly precipitation levels for 2006
  • Students will draw conclusions about how precipitation data will determine dates for a world tour
  • Students will infer locations and months best for performing live outdoor concert
  • Students will manipulate data sets from MyNASAData website
Prerequisite
  • Knowledge of longitude and latitude
  • Knowledge of basic directional words
  • Knowledge of continent names and basic location
National Standards:
  • Science Content: C Life Science
  • Science Content: E Science and Technology
  • Science Content: F Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
  • Science Content: G History and Nature of Science
Virginia Standards of Learning:
  • Sci4.6: The student will investigate and understand how weather conditions and phenomena occur and can be predicted.
Vocabulary:
Lesson Links:
Background:

Monthly Precipitation data can be used to predict patterns in weather. Your mission is to take a look at the Monthly Precipitation data, and schedule your concert dates based on historical precipitation trends.

Procedure:

1. Open the MY NASA DATA Live Access Server Advanced Edition (Lesson Links section).
2. Click on Choose data set if it does not automatically show up
3. Click on Atmosphere
4. Click Precipitation
5. Click Monthly Precipitation (GPCP)

6. Check that the following options are selected:
Line Plots: Time Series

To the right of the map, you will notice an area to fill in latitude and longitude values.
Lat: 78.75N to 78.75N
Long: 66.25W to 66.25W
entering in the latitude and longitude in this way will ensure that you are looking at a single point on the map, and not a large area.

Time range: Jan 2007 to Dec 2007

7. Now go up to the top of the map and click on ‘Compare’ to reveal the four line plots

8. A window will appear with 4 possible line plots.
9. At the top of the window you will now be able to view your four destinations on separate maps.
10. Keep the first map with original coordinates. (Greenland)
11. Click on the Latitude menus below the remaining 3 line plots, to change the values.
12. Change the second plot to 43.75 N (Maine, USA)
13. Change the third plot to: 6.25 N (Venezuela)
14. Change the fourth plot to: 53.75 S (Chile)
15. You should now have 4 plots displaying your data.
16. Respond to the prompts under the Questions section of the lesson.

Questions:

Retrieve questions from the Link section of the lesson.

Extensions:

1. You have been limited to one month of tour time for your 4 locations. Go back to your data and choose one month that you believe would be best to complete this whole tour. Explain how you made your decision.

2. Choose 4 new locations to add to your tour. Use the Lat and Long website from the Lesson Link section to find the latitude and longitude values for your locations. Use My NASA Data to decide what months you would be best to perform in those areas.

3. Compare precipitation data with precipitable water vapor data. This will show you the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere. High amounts of precipitable water vapor can indicate that precipitation is likely. When you compare this data to actual precipitation experienced, you may wish to amend your tour schedule. Make sure to note any noticeable differences between water vapor and precipitation that you observe. Any changes you wish to make to the tour, be sure to make in red.

1. Click on MND Live Access Server Advanced Edition in the Lesson Links section.
2. Click on Atmosphere
3. Click on Atmosphere Water Vapor
4. Lastly, click on Monthly Lower Troposphere Precipitable Water (1000-680mb) (ISCCP)

5. Check that the following options are selected:
Line Plots: Time Series

Below the map, you will notice an area to fill in latitude and longitude values.
Lat: 78.75N to 78.75N
Long: 66.25W to 66.25W

Time range: Jan 2007 to Dec 2007
6. At the top of the page click on Compare a window will appear with 4 possible line plots.
7. You will now be able to view your four destinations on separate maps.
8. Keep the first map with original coordinates. (Greenland)
9. Click on the Latitude menus below the remaining 3 line plots, to change the values.
10. Change the second plot to 43.75 N (Maine, USA)
11. Change the third plot to: 6.25 N (Venezuela)
12. Change the fourth plot to: 53.75 S (Chile)
13. You should now have 4 plots displaying your data.

Lesson plan contributed by Becky Schnekser, MY NASA DATA Team

Click here for Teachers Notes
View lesson without Standards

Teacher Feedback Link