Air Masses and Fronts is a detailed lesson plan from Better Lesson in which students study the movement of air masses across North America and how their interactions cause weather to change. The lesson begins with a split tank demonstration to illustrate the roles of temperature and density in the movement of fluids. Students then investigate relationships between cloud cover, precipitation, temperature, and fronts utilizing a series of simplified weather maps. The lesson depends on prior knowledge of convection. Teachers may need to review this concept so students can successfully describe the movement of fronts and the resulting weather patterns.
The lesson follows the 5E Lesson Model. Several resources are provided, including lesson plans, background information for the teacher and a student activity sheet. The author shows video clips of students working in groups on the activity and the instructor asking probing questions.
A link to the University of Illinois Earth's Atmosphere Resource for additional information about weather doesn't work. Teachers may want to use http://ww2010.atmos.uiuc.edu/(Gh)/guides/mtr/af/home.rxml instead.
The author states this activity will take about 70 minutes. The teacher may need to purchase a split tank and food coloring to do the demonstration. They may also need to make color copies of the maps in the lesson.