This week the kids determined the climates of their islands! They started out by typing their island’s longitude and latitude into Google Maps. They zoomed out and chose a couple of locations that should have similar weather, based on latitude and topography.
For example, everyone chose coastal locations because a land locked location would have a very different climate.
– One child with an island placed south of Hawaii chose Kiribati and the island of Hawaii
– Another child with an island off the coast of Oregon chose Seattle and La Push island, WA
Next, they used a couple of climate/tourism websites to copy down the average monthly temperature and precipitation levels for their chosen similar locations. We found https://www.climatestotravel.com/ and https://weatherspark.com/ to be quite easy to use.
Once they had average temperature/precipitation data for between 2 and 4 similar locations, they used this information to choose average climate data for their island. The important thing here was to notice pattern in the data – if the average temperature was broadly similar all year long, then they wanted to match that, even if they chose slightly different numbers. If they could see a significant rise in temperature in the summer in their similar locations, then their island averages needed to mirror that.
After choosing their numbers, they graphed the data on a climate graph. We then compared the graphs to Koppen Climate graphs in our National Geographic Student Atlas. The kids decided which climate type matched their island, read a description of that climate type (printed from the National Geographic website), and then made some notes for their journals.
My Climate Research Guide is available in my shop. It contains detailed instructions, and options to record and create data in either Celsius/centimeters, or Fahrenheit/inches.