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Behavioral Lesson: Under Pressure

ISTC 667
Lisa-Dai Keen Venker

Under Pressure

Previous Lesson: Goodness Gracious, Great Balls of Fire

Next Lesson: Day 2 of Under Pressure

Teacher Background
In this investigation, students will identify factors that affect air pressure, and the relationship
between air pressure and weather.
Class Make-Up
Grade 8 Science
First unit of the year.
Class Make-up (25 students)

5 IEPs - chunking, reading-then question after each paragraph, example modeling of

reading and question answers, repetitive directions, reminders to stay on task, graphic
organizers for information, questions offered in multiply forms, completed graphic
organizers for corrected information, teacher should circulate to include close proximity
to students, close proximity to helpful peers, instructional assistant, word banks,
handouts to be viewed using a projection system and Inerwrite tablets, preferential
seating, use of manipulatives through computer animation, pictures/videos via computer
animation and preselected video, visual cues, modeling

3 ADHD same as above, water/bathroom break when needed, close proximity to

teacher, reminder checks by teacher,

1 Autistic same as above, time out when needed, quiet place in room, extra large space
to work , preferential seating to needs

1 Hearing Impaired preferential seating, microphone with receiving headphone set

Girls to boys ratio - close to even

3 ELL (2 Spanish, 1 Urdu ) graphic organizers, completed graphic organizers for

corrected information, repetitive directions, close proximity to teacher, reminders from
teachers, word banks


6 African American (4 boys 2 girls)

Maryland Voluntary State Curriculum for science.
Content Standard 3.0 Life Science: The students will use scientific skills and
processes to explain the chemical and physical interactions (i.e. natural forces and
cycles, transfer of energy) of the environment, Earth, and the universe that occur over
E. Interactions of Hydrosphere and Atmosphere #3: Identify and describe the
atmospheric and hydrospheric conditions related to weather systems.
Objectives a. Identify and describe weather patterns associated with high and low
pressure systems and frontal systems.
Information Seeking Strategy
AASL Standards
1.1.4 Find, evaluate, and select appropriate sources to answer questions.
1.1.5 Evaluate information found in selected sources on the basis of accuracy, validity, and
appropriateness for needs, importance, and social and cultural context.
National Educational Technology Standards
3c evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness for

specific tasks.
Use of Information
AASL Standards
1.1.7 Make sense of information gathered from diverse sources by identifying misconceptions,
main and supporting ideas, conflicting information, and point of view or bias.
2.1.1 Apply critical-thinking skills (analysis, synthesis, evaluation, organization) to information
and knowledge.
1.3.3 Follow ethical and legal guidelines in gathering and using information.
National Educational Technology Standards
4c collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions.
5a advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology.
AASL Standards
2.1.4 Use technology and other information tools to analyze and organize information.
3.1.4 Use technology and other information tools to organize and display knowledge and
understanding in ways that others can view, use, and assess.
National Educational Technology Standards
2a interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts or others employing a variety of digital
environments and media.
2b communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media
and formats.
Baltimore County Public Schools Unifying Unit Scenario

The indicators and objectives have been integrated into one unifying unit that is focused around
the scenario provided. Students should be presented with the scenario at the beginning of the
unit. In addition, students will maintain a journal, Forecasters Forum, for the unit in order to
collect and organize information that will be needed to complete the project presented in the
scenario. A rubric has been provided and should be shared with students after introducing the

Prior Knowledge
Prior to this lesson, students have been taught and have learned about climate, the air in the
atmosphere, heating and cooling of molecules, conduction, convection and radiation of earth.
Also, information on the moons cycles, seasons on Earth, Earths tides, Earths wind, and the
water cycle.

Prior Technology Knowledge

Prior to this lesson students should have basic keyboarding and internet use skills.

Gained Science Knowledge

After this lesson students will identify and describe the atmospheric and hydrosphere conditions
related to weather systems.
Gained Technology Knowledge
After this lesson students will have gained technological knowledge on how to use an interactive
website and complete activities related to those.

Upon request, students will define air pressure and identify the three factors that affect air
pressure (temperature, water vapor, elevation).

Lesson Objective:
Student will
a. define air pressure.
b. identify the three factors that affect air pressure.
Technology Integration
Interactive webpage
Promethean Planet

Materials Needed


Projection system

Audio system

Internet Access

Students handout

Promethean Board if available

Day 1

Students will be asked in the drill to define pressure. Whether or not their initial definition is
correct students should be able to correctly identify how pressure is created or formed and how it
can be used.

Anticipatory Set:
The anticipatory set will take place after the drill and objectives have been established. This
includes a demonstration where an aluminum can is crushed due to a change in air pressure
between the inside warm (high) pressure and the outside cool (low) pressure.
Additional video of a large drum will be shown so students can see that this demonstration can
take place under other conditions. This shows that even on large scales changes in pressure do
affect objects.

Following the demo I will use a promethean flip chart to question my students about what caused
a change in the can. (Because I have logged in I am not sure others will be able to link to it. If
not log in to Prometheanplanet.com, then look under resources and the key word can crusher)

Pre-assessment: Students should then predict what caused the can to collapse.
Later in the lesson I will have students revisit their answer to correctly answer why the can

Deliver Instructional Input:

Direct Instruction
Students will be given a reading with questions to investigate the differences between more/less
pressure, increasing/decreasing pressure, and then discover how large air masses create weather.
Direct Instruction
Together with students we will read the first paragraph and I will model how to underline
important facts. Then I will model how to fill in the questions one through three for paragraph
Guide Practice:
Direct Instruction
Once the first paragraph is completed students will be on their own to complete the rest of the
reading organizers. While students area working I will circulate around the room to answer
question or help when needed.

Check for Understanding:

As students are working I will watch and check that students are completing their worksheets
correctly. Once all students are finished, together we will go over the correct answers to the
handout to make sure all information obtained is correct.

Assessment: Students will be given an exit ticket that has them identify the 3 factors that affect
air pressure and explained how each is affected by an increase or decrease in that factor. This

exit ticket will allow me to quickly visually identify whether or not students clearly understand
these factors and if I need to take more time and review the previous objective before I complete
the next portion of the lesson

Provide Closure:
I will now have students provide answers why the can collapsed. I will also remind them that
pressure can affect many things including weather. I will not let them know if they are correct
until the completion of tomorrows assignments.

Day 2
Objective: Students will identify the factors that affect air pressure in order to explain how air
pressure will affect weather.

Day 1 Post/Day 2 Pre-Assessment: Students will review yesterdays classwork by filing in a

graphic organizer using the three factors that affect air pressure.
Deliver Instructional Input:
Direct Instruction
Students will complete one more organizer this time to identify how other factors affect air
pressure and ultimately weather.
Once completed, students will be asked to view an animated view of a weather map that
illustrates the cloud/storm coverage under high and low pressure systems. The link is found
below. I will ask students what they notice about the changes in weather and the type of pressure
that may be associated.


Model/Check for Understanding Students will then answer a question asking about what
happened in the collapsing can. A word bank will be generated using vocabulary offered by
students and teacher to help given to aid students with additional needs

Model/Facilitate Independent Practice/Guide Practice:

Direct Instruction
With yesterday and todays gained information, students will observe the weather across a United
States map. They will then need to decide what type of weather different pressures bring to
Bismarck, ND and San Francisco CA and how they know by filing in a graphic organizer.

Model/Facilitate Independent Practice/Check for Understanding:

Direct InstructionStudents will use a second map of the United States to explain how elevation, proximity to water,
and distance from the equator will affect the type of pressure and weather in given cities.
Because this is more detailed and a harder step for students to complete and apply, I will
complete the first column/city (Charleston, South Carolina) with students verbally explaining my
thoughts as I go. When completing the second column/city I will solicit answers from students
and ask them to explain how they knew what conditions that city had. Finally, students will have


to complete the last column/city on their own. As students work to complete the last column, I
will monitor their answers by walking around the room. Together we will go over the correct

Provide Closure:
Post assessment: Students will read a weather report from Whirlin Wally and determine what
type of pressure is most likely responsible for that weather and what factors may affect that
pressure. Prior to answering the question students and I will identify possible words that could
be used to answer the question and will list them in the word bank. Together students and I will
discuss their answers.

Students will then be required to complete Forecaster Forum number nine, which is part of a
journaling activity that students complete through out the unit.
Forecaster Forum #9: Consider the climate of the city your group is researching. How do the
factors described above influence the climate of your city?
Final Assessments:
Weather Watchers Take One-students will create a multi day forecast for their final their assigned
city and Baltimore. In their assigned city groups students will create a report that will be video
taped. All information required of assignment and rubric is attached to this document.

Final Test-Students will also complete a final benchmark for this unit which includes 25 multiple
choice and two, three-point brief constructed response questions.




Page _____________

1. Skim the reading in this packet and list any vocabulary word you see that might be
important to weather.
2. Describe Pressure.

From: StorminStan@teentv.com
Subject: Ready for More?

To: Weatherwatcherwannabes@school.net

Morning my little TV stars! I hope you finished researching the atmosphere, because times a
wastin! Heres your next topic air pressure! Sure youve felt it before your ears popping
while driving up and over mountains, or during take-off and landing in an airplane. Boy, my ears
feel it every time!
Im sure youre wondering what my ears have got to do with weather. Well,
nothing really. But, air pressure has quite a bit to do with weather. Ive sent along
a really cool demonstration and an article from my files on pressure that might help
you. So, get your head out of the clouds, and get some more work done!
And as always, this is Stormin Stan the Weather Man asking, Do you have what it takes to be a

Objective: Student will

c. define air pressure.
d. identify the three factors that affect air pressure.
Activity 1
1. Observe the materials set-up by the teacher.
Sketch the set-up. Be sure to label the different
materials used in the demonstration.
2. Predict what caused the changes you observed
the teacher demonstration.





Activity 2: Finding Out More. Read the following passage and fill in the
information about pressure as you go.


The weight of the atmosphere exerts a force on all surfaces. Air pressure is a
measure of the force of the air pressing down on Earths surface. Air pressure
can change from day to day and location to location. A denser substance has more
mass per unit volume than a less dense one. So, a denser substance exerts more pressure than a
less dense substance. The same is true for air more dense air exerts more pressure than less
dense air.
1. Define Air Pressure: __________________________________________________

2. More DENSE air exerts _________________ pressure.
3. Less DENSE air exerts _________________ pressure.
Scientists measure pressure with a device called a barometer. A
barometer works by registering slight changes in the pressure of the air pushing against it. When
the air pressure increases, it exerts more force on the barometer causing the meter on the
device to increase.
The opposite is true when the air pressure decreases. Most weather reports for the
general public use inches of mercury when reporting air pressure. The National Weather
Service indicates air pressure in millibars.
4. How do we measure air pressure? _________________________

5. When there is more air pressure the pressure on the barometer

a. Increases

b. decrease c. stays the same

As you have already learned, less dense air exerts less pressure than more dense air. But,
what causes the density of air to change? Three things: temperature, water vapor, and
Lets start with temperature. When a substance is heated, the molecules begin
to move more rapidly and spread further apart. When this happens, the
substance becomes less dense. In this way, locations with high temperatures
usually register lower pressure than areas with cooler

6. Draw a picture of heated molecurlesremember they are further

apart and less dense.
7. High temperature places like Miami, Houston, and New Orleans would most likely have this
type of pressure

a. high

b. medium

c. low

water vapor at a given pressure moist air is less dense than dry air. This is because a
water molecule has less mass than either a nitrogen or an oxygen molecule. If there is a lot of
water vapor in the air, the air tends to be less dense. Therefore, the more water vapor in the air,
the lower the air pressure in the area.
8. Moist air is _______________dense than dry air.
9. Why is moist air less dense than dry air? __________________________________
10. When there is a lot of water vapor the air is
a. More
b. medium
c. less
The third factor is elevation, or altitude. As elevation increases, the air particles begin to
spread further apart. In this way, the air becomes thinner, and less dense. And, just like weve
said over and over, less dense air exerts less pressure.
Adapted from Prentice Hall Science: Exploring Earths Weather

11. In the mountains you would find ________dense air which exerts _______ pressure.
Complete the graphic organizer. Include arrows to explain the direction that the air will move.

Warm Air

Cool Air




Elevation (mtns)




Elevation (sea level)

12. Now that you know about pressure identify and describe the factor
that caused the can to be crushed during the teacher
demonstration. Hint What exactly happened with the pressure in
the can and out of the can? Use information from the investigation
support your response.

Word Bank

Exit Ticket: Name 3 factors that affect air pressure and how each are affected pressure.
Pressure does this

Exit Ticket: Name 3 factors that affect air pressure and how each are affected pressure.
Pressure does this

Exit Ticket: Name 3 factors that affect air pressure and how each are affected pressure.
Pressure does this

Day Two Activity 3


Objective: Students will identify the factors that affect air pressure in order to explain how air
pressure will affect weather.

13. Review the information you gathered on Day One. Complete Chart 1, Factors Affecting Air
Pressure, by adding arrows to show how pressure will change based on a change in each
factor. An up arrow indicates increasing, and a down arrow indicates decreasing.
Chart 1: Factors Affecting Air Pressure

Increase or Decrease?

How will air pressure change?

Water Vapor
Activity 4
Hmmm, you think to yourself. So, these factors affect air pressure; but, what does that have
to do with weather? Why didnt he send me information about that?

WWW: Stan? Are you there?

SS: Yeah, Im here. Whats up now? Dont you have enough work to do?
WWW: Well, I cant finish the research you told me to do in that email you sent.
I downloaded the article you told me to read, and got a lot of good information
about the factors that affect air pressure. But, it didnt say anything about how
air pressure relates to weather?
SS: Oops! Sorry about that! Ive been so busy planning several trips, and I cant
keep everything straight. Ill send the other article over right away.
WWW: Thanks.
14. Read the article, Theres a lot of Pressure in the Weather, to gather information on the
relationship between pressure and weather.
If you look at a weather map, you will see areas marked with an L, and others with an H.
These letters tell you the type of air pressure in those areas. The L is short for low, and
indicates an area of relatively low air pressure. Likewise, the H stands for high, and indicates an
area where the pressure is relatively high. Sure, thats simple, but what does that mean in terms
of the weather? Lets take a look.


As large masses of air move, they will frequently come together in the upper atmosphere.
When this happens, the air pressure may become relatively high. These air masses press down on
the layers of air below. This pressure usually prevents warm, moist air from rising into the
atmosphere. As a result, clouds do not form. And, no clouds generally mean no precipitation. So,
high pressure usually means fair weather.
Air Masses Come

Relatively ________________


Prevents _____________ air from ________________.

______________ do NOT form.

No _____________ = No _________________

______________ pressure = _______________ weather

On the other hand, when large air masses move apart in the upper atmosphere, the air
pressure may become relatively low. This reduces the pressure on the layers of warm air below.
As a result, the warm air is able to rise into the
Figure 1: Air Pressure and Weather
atmosphere. If the warm air is moist, the moisture may
condense into clouds as it is cooled in the atmosphere.
So, low pressure can lead to cloudy, rainy weather. But,
remember, there are always exceptions. Figure 1, Air
Pressure and Weather, illustrates these ideas.
So, understanding the day to day weather in an area
relies heavily on understanding the pressure that exists in that area at that time. But remember,
air pressure can change from one day to the next. Which might explain why you have to watch the
weather report daily!
Adapted from Prentice Hall: Science Explorer, Weather and Climate


Air Masses Move


Relatively ___________________

_____________ pressure on the air ______________


_________ air can ____________

If ___________, _________________ condenses into

___________, as it cools

____________ pressure = ______________, _________


There are always _______________________.







16. Observe the weather map outlining the weather across the continental United States.

15. Complete Chart 2, Weather Forecasts, to identify the type of weather that would be
expected in each of the cities listed. Support your response in the space provided.

Chart 2: Weather Forecasts

Type of Weather

Bismarck, ND

San Francisco, A






CLASS DISCUSSION: Explain how characteristics such as elevation, proximity to water, and
distance from the equator may affect the type of pressure and weather expected in cities
such as:
Charleston, South

Springfield, Missouri

Proximity to
Distance from
How is pressure
affected by
the three


Monterey, Mexico

Use the information from the weather report for Houston, Texas, to complete question 1.

This is Whirlin Wally with a quick

update on your Houston weather.
Wheww it sure is hot out there,
yall! Temperatures are reaching
into the high 90s, and there is some
serious moisture in the air. Better
keep one eye out behind ya for a
thunderstorm. They could pop up
anytime with weather like this! Back
to you Charlene.

1. Identify and describe the type of pressure most likely responsible for the
weather described in the weather report. In your response be sure to include
- A statement supporting the type of pressure responsible for the weather
- Factors that may affect the type of pressure in the area.
Word Bank

Forecasters Forum # 9
You will need to collect maps of air
pressure systems to do this.



Page ___________
Wow, this unit has been really informative! With the help of Stormin Stan and the
others, you have managed to collect a ton of information on Earths hydrosphere and
atmosphere. Now its time to strut your stuff! In this investigation, you will organize
the weather data collected for your city and Baltimore in order to present a weather forecast for
your class.
Objective Students will interpret weather pattern data in order to forecast weather in
selected areas of the United States.
Procedures Activity 1: Analyzing the Weather Data
1. Review all Weather Watchers Data Sheets for your city
2. Meet with your group as directed by your teacher.
3. Examine the temperature, pressure, and precipitation data for your city over the past ten
4. Identify and describe any patterns you notice in the temperature, pressure, and precipitation
data in your city over the past ten days. Use evidence from the weather data to support your
5. Determine whether your collected weather data supports what you have learned about the
relationships amongst temperature, pressure, and precipitation.
Activity 3: The Task
Now that everyone is aware of their role in the broadcast, it is important to understand the
forecast requirements.
1. Written Weather Report
Each group must write a written weather report for their given city to be turned in to your TV
producer, your teacher. The written weather report should include:
names of the group members if not being done on own.
name of assigned city
forecast for tomorrows weather in the given city
five-day projected weather forecast for the given city
rationale for
weather forecast based on understanding of weather
patterns in the
United States.


2. Weather Broadcast
Each group must present a brief weather (3 -5 minute) broadcast for their given city and
Baltimore. The broadcast should include:
forecast for tomorrows weather in the given city
five-day projected weather forecast for the given city
rationale for weather forecast based on understanding of
patterns in United States.
The following Rubric will be used to score your Weather Broadcast and
Weather Report.






The use of accurate

scientific terminology
enhances the response.

Pertinent and complete

details demonstrate an
integration of ideas.

The response reflects a

complete synthesis of

The use of accurate

scientific terminology
strengthens the

The supporting details

are generally

The response reflects

some synthesis of

The use of accurate

scientific terminology
may be present in the

The supporting details

are adequate.

The response reflects

little or no synthesis of

The student has SOME

the question or

The use of accurate

scientific terminology is
not present in the

The supporting details

are only minimally

The student has NO

the question or
problem. The response
is completely incorrect
or irrelevant




The student has a FULL

the question or
The student has a
the question or
The student has a
the question or


Student Resource Sheet ESS -


The response does not

address the question.