Students will describe the cause and effect relationship of weather
(freezing, heat, and wind) on plants and soil.
Part 1: 30 minutes; Part 2: 45-60 minutes; Part 3: 30 minutes (presentation, results, and conclusion) See notes at the end of the lesson for information on the anticipated timeline of experiment results.
- Videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sGSRy7UfD0
Wyoming Weather (source 1) Video length: 1 minute 1 second. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4iFhBBbqOc Wyoming Erosion (source 2) Video length: 1 minute 35 seconds. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-ULcVdeqgE Bill Nye Erosion)
(source 3) Video length: 5 minutes 9 seconds. (This video is not embedded in the lesson. It is an optional additional resources.)
- fan or blow dryer
- plants from the class garden (see lesson 4 & cover document for unit)
- teacher-made anchor chart for hypothesis and results
- paper for assessment diagrams/drawings
Suggested Teacher Preparation:
- Class garden from introductory lesson needs to be available.e
- Read through the notes at the end of this lesson for helpful information about the timing of the plant experiments and some potential effects to notice.
- Check video links.
- Create anchor chart for hypothesis and results.
Explanation of how the activity enables students to answer the overarching question:
During the experiments, students will hypothesize the effects of climate variability and weather trends on crops. They will then test their hypothesis and make conclusions regarding the results of heat, wind, and freezing on plants.
How is agriculture unique in Wyoming? How is agriculture developed, used, and cared for? How might agriculture change in the future?
Science: 2-ESS2-1, 2-PS1-4, 2-LS2-1 (explicitly taught)
Social Studies: SS2.5.4 (practiced/encountered)
ELA: W.2.7, SL 2.2 (both practiced/encountered)
CVE: CV5.3.1 (practiced/encountered)
(use a reference as needed)
- Climate – Climate is the average weather in a place over many years. While the weather can change in just a few hours, climate takes hundreds, thousands, and even millions of years to change
- Erosion – when soil is picked up and moved to another place by ice, water, wind or gravity
- Weather – the temperature and other outside conditions (such as rain, cloudiness, etc.) at a particular time and place
To set the stage of the learning that will follow, view the short video of weather in Wyoming. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sGSRy7UfD0
- Explain how we will experiment on our class garden to discover what will happen to a plant in different weather conditions. As a whole group, discuss what kinds of weather/seasons are common in Wyoming (wind, freezing, heat, winter, spring, summer, fall, snow, rain).
- Review the results of lesson 4, specifically analyzing what happened with too much water (flood), not enough water (drought), and optimal watering. Hypothesize how this is a factor of weather and climate and then emphasize the effects on crops.
- Have students Think-Pair-Share predictions of what happens to a plant when it is exposed to the following conditions:
TEACHER NOTE: You can create an anchor chart for reference that states each prediction and then add experiment results.
- Observe all plants and make notes of changes (freezer and heat should have significant changes). Be sure to add observations and results to the class’ experiment anchor chart.
- After making the observations, place all plants in ideal light and water conditions. These plants will be observed in part 3 to monitor if climate effects are reversible.
- Pose the question: How does weather affect crop growth in Wyoming? (Examples: water, temperature, and wind)
TEACHER NOTE: Since this is a key concept for the lesson (and relates directly to the science standard), you may want to have individual students write their responses to the question on an organizer or in a science notebook so it can serve as evidence of their understanding.
- Show the wind erosion video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4iFhBBbqOc
TEACHER NOTE: You might also want to show the Bill Nye video on erosion if students need more background knowledge about the concept
- Pose the question: Are there any steps that we can take in Wyoming to change the effects of weather on crops currently and in the future? Have students discuss the question in small groups and then share out with the larger group. Some ideas that should be brought out are as follows: not over or under watering, keeping fields planted to prevent erosion, plant trees to protect crops.
- Follow up with the discussion question: How does this impact being a good steward in Wyoming? Have students brainstorm and share ways to stop wind erosion from damaging the land. Students should then test their ideas by placing items between the fan and plant to see which best reduces the wind. Emphasize that wind barriers like trees can slow erosion.
- As a whole group, observe plants from part 2/step 2 (specifically looking at the effects from freezing, heat, and wind.) Ask students: Which effects were either reversible or irreversible? Write student observations and conclusions on the anchor chart.
- Say: “In order to be good stewards of Wyoming, we have to take care of the land and be good caretakers of our crops.”
- Have students illustrate and label a simple diagram/drawing explaining or showing at least one way to reduce wind erosion and help prevent freezing or drought.
- Some examples of preventing wind erosion include windbreaks or trees.
- Some examples of preventing freezing include covering plants (small scale), plant in season crops, increase irrigation during excessive heat times.
- Collect diagrams/drawings.
Students will create and present a model (i.e., diagram, drawing) of how to reduce the impact of weather on crops and how this ties into being a good steward of Wyoming.
TEACHER NOTE: The science standard also suggests physical replica, diorama, dramatization, and storyboard as possible types of models. Teachers may want to include those as options, depending on the time available and students’ previous exposure to those types of models.
Write an opinion piece including ways to reverse weather effects on crops in Wyoming.
- University of Wyoming Extension Office. (2009, January 28). “How’s Your Weather, Up There?”. Retrieved June 22, 2017 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sGSRy7UfD0
- University of Wyoming Extension Office (2017, October 20). The Big Hollow and the Power of Wind Erosion. Retrieved June 22, 2017 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4iFhBBbqOc
- courtlandgeoteach. (2013, September 20). Bill Nye Erosion. Retrieved June 22, 2017 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-ULcVdeqgE
- University of Wyoming, Department of Plant Science, Dr. Andrew Kniss.