Microclimates Lesson Plan

Instructor: Joanne Abramson

Joanne has taught middle school and high school science for more than ten years and has a master's degree in education.

Get students excited about the topic of microclimates by taking them outside! This lesson plan helps students experience microclimates with a short video, whole-class and small-group discussion, and a hands-on activity out in the school yard.

Lesson Objectives

By the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Define the term 'microclimate'
  • Describe natural and manmade features that cause microclimates
  • Provide examples of microclimates around their hometowns

Length

1.5 - 2 hours

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.3

Follow precisely a complex multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks, attending to special cases or exceptions defined in the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.4

Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 9-10 texts and topics.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.9

Compare and contrast findings presented in a text to those from other sources (including their own experiments), noting when the findings support or contradict previous explanations or accounts.

Materials

  • Images of microclimates from the region where you live
  • Satellite image of your school grounds
  • Climatology kits for each group that include:
    • Thermometer
    • Ruler or meter stick
    • Garden trowel
    • Paper towels
  • Pencils
  • Paper
  • Clipboards or rectangles of cardboard

Instructions

  • Begin the lesson by showing students images of microclimates from your city or region. The sites should be easily recognizable to your students. Ask students to describe what they see in each of the images. Have them discuss the temperature, weather patterns, wildlife, etcetera in each of the areas that you show. Explain to students that they have just learned about their local microclimates and that they will be learning more about microclimates in today's lesson.
  • Begin the video Microclimate: Definition, Factors & Examples. Pause at 1:15. To check for understanding, ask students the following discussion questions:
    • What is a 'microclimate?'
    • What are some examples of microclimates?
  • Resume the video, this time pausing at 2:39. Ask the following questions:
    • Compare and contrast the terms 'weather' and 'climate.' How are they similar? How are they different?
    • What are some examples of geographic features that lead to the creation of microclimates?
  • Continue the video and watch it until the end. Show students the images from the beginning of the lesson. Ask the following question:
    • Based on what you have just learned, what are some possible causes for each of these local microclimates?
  • Check for understanding by completing the lesson quiz.

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