Lessons About Lightning
As we have completed our section on General Electricity, I wanted the transition into our new section, Meteorology, to combine the two and show our there is electricity in our clouds and overall atmosphere. I would like students to initially understand what electricity is. While we have seen it our whole lives, many people just take it as part of a thunderstorm and do not follow up on what it actually is. Lightning is actually a fascinating phenomena that happens in thunderstorms and it involved a massive spark that is triggered by the combined force of positive and negative energy within a cloud. Once this section is completed, they should be able to understand what lightning is and its various types.
Furthermore, I want students to understand the environment in which lightning is created. A regular cloud cannot create this type of electric channel; only very high cumulonimbus clouds that go 50,000 feet into the atmosphere can be high enough to have the positive energy that have been discussed in detail on this collaboration website. To complete the learning material, I want students to understand that lightning is dangerous; it can kill humans, animals, and even bring down airplanes. They need to know that even though they are not directly under the thunderstorm, lightning can still travel miles away from the center of the storm.
Lastly, after the topic has been covered in great length, I want the students to be able to conduct some experiments that applies the theoretical knowledge that they have learned into safe yet constructive practice. They will have the opportunity to simulate what happens in a thundercloud that produces lightning. After they are done, I want them to fill out a form proving what they did. What I am really trying to do here is get people excited about storms. They are not boring nor are they truly something to fear. They are fascinating phenomena that happen just over our heads, but they need to be dealt with respect. Hopefully, after this section of our class is complete, there will be some students who will want to do these things further, whether it is in the field of meteorology or a subfield like storm chasing or gathering data on hurricanes.
Thank you for allowing me to teach your kids and any questions you may have can be emailed to me!