Learning About the Atmosphere

Learning About the Atmosphere

Lenticular clouds over the Rocky Mountain Front Range in Colorado.
Credit: Carlye Calvin/UCAR

This week I got a message from Kimberley, a 7th grade student working on a science project to teach her classmates about the atmosphere. “I was wondering if you could give me any concepts, ideas, or activities that might interest my classmates,” she wrote. “Also if you know any websites I could look up that would be great.”

Not only does she want to learn more about the atmosphere, but she also is going to share what she learns with others. You rock, Kimberley!

Below are links to the resources I sent to her. Of course, this is just the tip of an iceberg of educational resources about atmospheric science, but it's a start.

  • If you are looking for information about the atmosphere, weather, and climate, explore the UCAR Center for Science Education Learning Zone. There, you’ll find out about the layers of the atmosphere, extreme weather events like tornadoes and blizzards, and how climate change impacts our planet. National Geographic has excellent photos and stories about the atmosphere on their site.
  • If you are looking for activities that will get people’s attention, study the atmosphere online with the Virtual Ballooning interactive or check out the activities on Web Weather for Kids. You can make a tornado, a cloud in a jar, or convection currents. It’s fun to make the weather.
  • If you are interested in how we are changing the atmosphere through use of fossil fuels, check out CO2: How Much Do You Spew?
  • Would you like to participate in a citizen science project that focuses on weather and climate? If so, take a look at the projects listed on SciStarter and get started!
  • If your class is interested in participating in a worldwide atmospheric science project, ask your teacher to contact the GLOBE Program.
  • And one of my favorite ways to appreciate the atmosphere is to head outdoors and identify clouds. You’ll want to bring a cloud viewer to help you identify the different types.

If you, like Kimberley, have a question about learning or teaching atmospheric science, feel free to contact us at scied@ucar.edu.