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Coyle's YouTube Channel


Can you keep the Earth in Balance?  Prove it! 


The Atmosphere: Unit 5


Email Mr. Coyle

Live Harwood Weather  (Harwood Weather Station)


“Yes, one of the brightest gems in the New England weather is the dazzling uncertainty of it."

– Mark Twain, on New England weather (full transcript)


Unit Essential Questions:

  • What is the cause of weather on Earth? 
  • What key functions does the atmosphere serve that enables life to exist on the planet? 
  • How do air masses form and what happens when they meet?
  • Are severe storms, air masses, and fronts related? 
  • How do meteorologists predict the weather?
  • What does it mean that the atmosphere is in a "dynamic balance?" 


Unit Enduring Understandings:

  • The atmosphere is a mixture of gases with suspended solids and liquids.  
  • The atmospheric system transfers energy and water around the planet.  
  • Radiant energy from the sun creates temperature differences in water, land, and the atmosphere which drive local, regional, and global patterns of atmospheric circulation.
  • The atmosphere exhibits long-term circulation patterns (climate) and short-term patterns known as weather--storms, hurricanes, and tornadoes.
  • Air masses are regions of the atmosphere that have similar properties throughout and move over the face of the planet in predictable ways.
  • Mapping weather variables (especially air pressure) allows an observer to determine where the air masses are.
  • Weather conditions change abruptly at “fronts” where air masses meet.
  • Storms and precipitation are associated with low pressure regions in the atmosphere.



The Atmosphere Preconception Survey (take this first to demonstrate what you already know) the "Essential Questions" that you should be able to answer by the end of the unit are the questions on the survey.



A brief look at the atmosphere, from the film "Space Balls" 




Personal Essays: Exploring the Human Side of Weather

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Introduction to the Atmosphere Activity




Unit Sections:











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