5 Creative Ways to Teach Atmospheric Circulation, Climate, and Biomes

Anjaney Kothari

Atmospheric circulation is incredibly complex but critical to our understanding of the earth, its climate, and the various biomes. But climatic phenomena are so intertwined that one must learn about each individual part to understand the whole. Plus, they are not directly observable at the scale at which they occur, which makes them all the more complicated.

These considerations pose a heavy challenge for educators who have to make their coursework more captivating for their students. Here, we list five ways to teach the fundamentals of atmospheric circulation, climate, and biomes to your students in a fun and stimulating manner.

1. Engage Students with Interactive Models

Interactive models are a good way to stimulate students’ curiosity towards any subject. They combine conceptual learning with the unmatched power of visualization and experience. Such models have a special relevance when it comes to teaching about atmospheric circulation and climate. With interactive models, students can better understand the interactions between different atmospheric factors and how they may affect climate patterns.

Take Labster’s ‘atmospheric circulation, climate and biomes’ simulation, for example. Our simulation:

·       Interactively teaches the students about Hadley, Ferrel and Polar cells, which together drive atmospheric circulation.

·       Provides an immersive environment for the students to visualize different biomes and associated climates.

·       Engages the students in an interactive activity, in which they have to use climatic and environmental clues to determine the biome and latitude of Labster’s virtual lab.

Move the slider to where most of Earth's hot deserts are found in a virtual lab.

2. Make the Topic Fun with Games and Activities

Games and activities provide the students an opportunity to engage in active learning instead of passive absorption of information. They also encourage students to make conceptual connections that theoretical teaching may not always facilitate.

For example, you can ask your students to work in groups to develop models of a biome of their choice. They can use plaster of Paris, clay and other craft materials to bring their model to life. The students can then give presentations or demonstrations to explain the biome and its climate. This activity will foster an environment of active, collaborative learning.

3. Accelerate Learning by Incorporating Technology

Educators should leverage the benefits of technology to make difficult scientific concepts more comprehensible. Multimedia presentations, virtual reality, simulation, and animation are just a few examples of technology that can transform an educator’s job.

Labster’s ‘atmospheric circulation, climate, and biomes’ simulation, for example, uses detailed, life-like simulations to teach the underlying science. The simulation renders futuristic holograms, emanating from a Star Wars-like holotable, to make atmospheric circulation and biomes fun and interesting. It also uses animation to teach the Coriolis effect and how this phenomenon affects wind direction. Moreover, our simulation teaches all these fundamental concepts in just about 22 minutes!

Slide the latitude bar for earth's tundra in a virtual lab.
Discover Labster's atmospheric circulation, climate, and biomes virtual lab today!

4. Inspire Students Through Career Exploration

A subject always becomes more exciting to study if one can appreciate just how many professionals apply it every day. With discussions about potential careers, students become more eager to learn the concepts and apply them.

Tell your students how meteorologists rely on the tricellular model for climate modeling and predicting long-term climate changes. Tell them how atmospheric scientists use the tricellular model to understand monsoon patterns and tropical rain belts. 

You can also invite some scientists from your local meteorology department. The students can prepare a list of questions beforehand and initiate an exciting discussion about the scientists’ jobs.

5. Connect Topic to Real-World Scenarios

Both microscale and large-scale phenomena can become non-relatable for students because of a lack of connection to the real world. For example, atmospheric circulation and climate patterns are pervasive and highly relevant large-scale phenomena that can be elusive for students. To enhance your students’ learning, you must connect these topics to real-world scenarios.

Tell your students how the tricellular model can help predict the climate and biome characteristics at a given latitude. Talk to them about the significance of climate change in the context of the different biomes on earth.

Final thoughts

Atmospheric circulation, climate patterns and biomes are concepts that are increasingly becoming more relevant every year. The out-of-the-box teaching techniques we have discussed here can make atmospheric phenomena easier to comprehend and fun to learn.

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