This story is based on just one of the experiences that I have had on my family vacations. Going on trips is a great way to learn new things about new places. Sometimes you get what you expect and other times…not so much. My story does not require any materials aside from maybe a few pictures to help students visualize what is going on therefore there are really no safety or ethical concerns. This discrepant event fits into the grade five curriculum under weather. The GLO is C6, D5 and specific learning outcomes 5-4-01. Use appropriate vocabulary related to their investigations of weather. Example volume, air masses, properties, etc. It also fits under the GLO D3 and specific learning outcome 5-4-03. Describe properties of air. Including its mass, weight and volume,
Exerts pressure, etc. It can also fit under the GLO D5, E2. The specific outcome number is 5-4-17. Students will identify factors that influence weather and climate in Manitoba and across Canada, and describe their impacts. Example: jet stream, proximity to water, elevation, Chinook.
“You bet we are,” replied my Mom, “so don’t forget to pack some warm sweaters.”
“Warm?” I thought. It was the middle of July. It was plus thirty in Winnipeg so how could it be any colder in Banff? It wasn’t like Banff was much farther north than Winnipeg or anything. So, I just assumed that my mom was getting old and forgetful and decided not to pack a sweater.
On the day before we were about to leave I packed my suitcase. I looked at my cozy sweaters and then outside. It was a hot sunny day to end a hot sunny week. “I don’t need a sweater,” I thought to myself. “It will just take up too much space in my suitcase.”
The next morning I tossed my suitcase into the back seat of our mini van and hoped in.
“Did you remember to bring something warm to wear?” asked my Mom.
It took about twelve hours of driving before we arrived in the town of Banff. We were tired of being cooped up in the car so we went straight to our hotel. When I got out of the car I shivered as a cool breeze went by. I tried to ignore it and followed my parents inside the hotel.
The next morning we decided to walk around the town a bit and then go up on the gondola. I got dressed in shorts and a t-shirt just like I would back in Winnipeg. As we walked around the town it seemed a bit cool out. There was also a cool breeze that gave me goose bumps.
“Time for the gondola,” said my Dad. We walked up a hill to a parking lot where we could see the gondola going up the mountain.
“Where is your sweater?” asked my Mom.
“I…uh…didn’t bring it. I don’t think I’ll need it anyway. It’s not that cold.” I replied.
“Maybe not down here,” said my Dad, “but up there it will be.” He pointed way up to the peaks of the mountains. I followed where he was pointing and saw the white caps on the mountain tops.
“We’re going all the way up there? Is that snow?” I asked in shock.
“In the meantime,” said Mom, “you can wear my extra sweater.”
“Okay,” I said putting on the sweater.
Have you ever been to the top of a mountain such as the one in Banff?
Did you find it colder when you got to the top of the mountain?
Why do you think it happened the way it did?
We walked to the building and bought our tickets for the ride on the gondola. Even as we neared the top I could feel the wind picking up and the temperature dropping. “I should have worn jeans,” I thought to myself rubbing my calves together to fend off the goose bumps. When we got to the top the people working there all had long pants and jackets on. Some even wore mitts. “So how could it be so much colder up here?” I asked my Dad.
“Well,” he said, “we are working with what is known as elevation. Elevation is the height of a geographic location above a fixed reference point, often the main sea level. You see Winnipeg is about 786 meters above sea level while the town of Banff is around 1,583 meters above sea level. Where we are standing right now is around is about 2,281 meters above sea level. As our elevation increases there is less overlying atmospheric mass therefore the pressure decreases with increasing elevation. A decrease in pressure means that there are fewer molecules bumping into us which makes it feel colder than at lower elevations where there is a higher atmospheric pressure and there are more molecules bumping into us.”
“So I guess the next time we go anywhere with a higher elevation such as the mountains I should dress a lot warmer,” I said with a little shiver.
“Good idea,” replied my mom.
Bloom’s Taxonomy Questions
1)Knowledge: Recall data or information Question: Define elevation.
2)Comprehension: Understand the meaning, translation, interpolation, interpretation of instructions and problems. State a problem in one’s own words Question: Explain what happened as elevation increased?
3)Application: Use a concept in a new situation or unprompted use of an abstraction. Applies what was learned in the classroom into novel situations in the work place. Question: Predict what would have happen if the character went up an even higher mountain?
4) Analysis: Separates material or concepts into component parts so that its organizational structure may be understood. Distinguishes between facts and inferences. Question: Compare the average weather conditions between Winnipeg, Banff and at the top of the mountain.
5) Synthesis: Builds a structure or pattern from diverse elements. Put parts together to form a whole, with emphasis on creating a new meaning or structure. Question: Create a diagram showing the difference of air pressure on the molecules in Winnipeg, in Banff and on top of the mountain. Explain what is happening in the diagram.