After the recent snowfall, winter weather is on all of our minds. With students (and sometimes teachers) eagerly awaiting the season’s snow days, it is a great chance to bring winter inside the classroom and teach about the impact weather has on the Chesapeake Bay.
Why Should YOU Teach about Weather?
Whether we like it or not, weather affects all of our lives on a daily basis. Its influence can be as simple as determining if you need to bring an umbrella to work or as complex and important as impacting when animals migrate and when plants reproduce.
The Chesapeake Bay can be a great tool for teaching about the impacts weather can have on an ecosystem. In the Chesapeake, rainfall affects the volume of water flowing into the bay. Storms can stir up sediments that can harm shorelines and wildlife. They can contribute so much freshwater (in the form of rain and snow) to the ecosystem that it temporarily lowers the salinity of estuary waters. Wind can help mix surface waters, increasing bay oxygen levels and impacting turbidity (how cloudy or clear water is).
Weather conditions can also be used to teach students about how we affect bay health. This winter season, as snow and ice melt, teachers can talk to their classes about how the salt and chemicals we use to keep our roads safe for driving can run off into bay waters. Precipitation in the winter and spring can also result in runoff that brings sediment and nutrient pollutants to the bay, greatly affecting summer water quality conditions.
How Can YOU Teach About Weather?
There are many ways to teach about weather in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. From using data collected with the Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System (CBIBS) to explore temperature and turbidity to learning about how ocean affects air temperatures, Bay Backpack has a boat load of resources that can help you plan lessons for your class. Here are some links to help you get started:
- Chesapeake Exploration – NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office
- Buoys in the Classroom – Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System
- Weather Teaching Resources – Bay Backpack
- 14 Places to View the Chesapeake’s Wintering Waterfowl – Chesapeake Bay Program
- The Chesapeake Bay and Climate Change– Chesapeake Bay Program
- Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System Investigations
- Extreme Weather and Estuaries Lesson Plan
- When Rain Hits Land Lesson Plan