Summer Research Program for Science Teachers

Andrew Hall

Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics

August 2005


How do fronts affect our weather?


Do Now:   What characteristics does a mT air mass have?  Explain why these characteristics are present.



Students will be able to:

v     Explain what a front is

v     Describe the different types of fronts

v     Identify and interpret front symbols with and without reference tables

v     Identify fronts using cross section of troposphere diagrams

v     Explain why certain weather conditions are associated with fronts



      A front is a boundary between air masses

      There are 4 types of fronts: warm, cold, stationary, and occluded

      The first 3 occur when a warm air mass meets a cold air mass

      The front is warm if the warm air mass pushes into and over the cold air mass

         Show warm front animation with projector

         Q: Why does the warm air mass go over the cold one?

      The front is cold if the cold air mass pushes into and under the warm air mass

         Show cold front animation

         Q: What do you think is happening at a stationary front?

      Occluded fronts occur when a warm front and a cold front collide

         Show occluded front animation

      The most common weather associated with fronts is precipitation

         Why would a front cause precipitation?

         Show animation of warm air rising, cooling, condensing



      Find the symbols for these fronts in your reference table

         Q: Which front symbol is this?  (show image of front on map)

         Q: Which compass direction is this front moving? (animate map after answer)

      Show map of a front heading towards a city

         How do you think the weather in (city X) is going to change over the next 24 hours?  Why will these changes occur?


National Standards:

v     TEACHING STANDARD D:  Make the available science tools, materials, media, and technological resources accessible to students

v     TEACHING STANDARD B: [focus] the attention of students on how they know what they know and how their knowledge connects to larger ideas promote many different forms of communication (for example, spoken, written, pictorial, graphic, mathematical, and electronic)