Few things impact our everyday lives as much as weather. As history attests, many battles were turned by sudden changes in weather conditions. In antiquity we find numerous references to weather events and processes. Scripture highlights such phenomena as clouds, mist, hail, lightning, rain, seasons, snow, storms, thunder, and wind. Weather is also invoked in the Bible as metaphor and symbol. The Psalmist says, “He made darkness His hiding place, and storm clouds a canopy around Him.” Students will survey these motifs in class.
The oldest, systematic work on weather is Aristotle’s, Meteorologica. This work, which we will consider at times during the course, retained its authority for two thousand years. Until the end of the seventeenth century, all textbooks on meteorology were based on Aristotle’s treatise.
The atmosphere is a complex, ever changing, ocean of air, where a constant battle rages between chaos and order. High school meteorology includes the study not only of basic weather elements and surface systems, but also atmospheric physics and its application to large-scale, meso-scale, and small-scale phenomena. Using this approach, which is primarily conceptual, rather than mathematical, students learn how order emerges from fluid and seemingly chaotic interactions.
Students will also learn how to use basic instruments, how to make a simple weather forecast, and how to interpret surface charts, upper air charts, Doppler radar, and satellite photos. Each week, as time permits, the class will discuss current weather conditions by viewing real-time data across different layers of the atmosphere. Meteorology is offered in the spring in order to coincide with thunderstorm and tornado season.
Required Course Materials
- The Weather Book: An easy to understand guide to the USA’s weather, by Jack Williams (1997 ed.)
- Weather, by Paul Lehr (a Golden Guide)
- Class notes (download from Canvas, and print in color before each class)
- Liquid-in-Glass Thermometer
- Shiny Can (e.g., food can)
- 2 Liter Soda Bottle w/Cap; Matches or Incense; Alcohol
- Drinking Bird (toy ‘heat engine’)
- Barometer (optional)
- Sling Psychrometer (optional)
- AcuRite Digital Hygrometer (optional)
Cell phone camera
Scanner or scanner app for cell phone
Dr. William DiPuccio has been teaching science since 2002. He served as a science instructor and department head for five years at St. Nicholas Orthodox School, a classical school in Akron, Ohio. More recently, he taught Physical and Earth Science at Heritage Classical Academy, near Akron. Bill has designed and taught online, laboratory courses in meteorology, geology, and astronomy, for the Classical Learning Resource Center. He has also conducted summer and weekend science camps.
Bill has a Ph.D. in historical theology, and a professional background in meteorology, engineering (ultrasonic and electromagnetic polymer joining processes, automation) and graphic design. In addition to teaching science, he enjoys tinkering with scientific equipment and performing experiments at home. He also owns a small business, Sacred Engraving, which specializes in cast and etched metal plaques. firstname.lastname@example.org
Computer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with a processor with a speed of 1 GHz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with Mac OS 10.7 or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do not recommend using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.
High-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with a download/upload speed of 5/1 Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.
Headset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class. Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm
Zoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use. To download Zoom:
- Visit zoom.us/download.
- Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
- Open and run the installer on your computer.
- In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.
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