The Intertropical Convergence Zone

Young scientists know it is hotter along the equator, but why is it also rainier? Through the process of completing two experiments and a worksheet, scholars discover the answer is the intertropical convergence zone. First, they demonstrate that heated air rises. Then, they create their own convection stream to drive a propeller. Finally, they transfer the newly gained knowledge to the larger scale of global air circulation.

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CCSS: Adaptable
NGSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • Complete the first experiment as a demonstration with younger pupils rather than encouraging them to light things on fire
Classroom Considerations

  • Activities work best with pairs of pupils
  • Use care with open flames and matches
  • Activity one suggests disabling smoke detectors; verify with the building supervisor or head of school if this is possible and the proper procedure to get approval
Pros

  • Uses easily obtained, common supplies
  • Highly engaging experiments
  • Connects many ideas that are normally taught in seclusion
Cons

  • None