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ERIC Number: EJ1000840
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Dec
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 6
ISSN: ISSN-0887-2376
Clear Skies Ahead! Clearing up Confusion about Clouds
Cartwright, Tina J.; Miranda, Rommel J.; Hermann, Ronald S.; Hemler, Deb
Science Scope, v36 n4 p61-67 Dec 2012
In this article, the authors present an inquiry-based approach to facilitate student understanding of the differences among common cloud descriptive characteristics through the use of a semi-dichotomous key developed by a former West Virginia state climatologist. The authors also demonstrate how students can analyze common class data sets that describe the outcomes from the semi-dichotomous key throughout a school day to predict future weather events. Whereas other approaches to teaching about common cloud descriptive characteristics have relied on the identification of various cloud types through the use of pictures, this approach is novel in that the authors present a semi-dichotomous key with tangible descriptions to help students differentiate among subtle variations in physical characteristics. Furthermore, student analysis of common class data sets that describe the sequential change in cloud types over relatively short periods of time are then used to develop hypotheses about the changes in atmospheric conditions that may follow such observations. (Contains 5 figures.)
National Science Teachers Association. 1840 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201-3000. Tel: 800-722-6782; Fax: 703-243-3924; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Junior High Schools; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A