Following on from the cloud homework we completed with S3 recently, I wanted to see if it aided the understanding of the passage of a depression. We spent the start of the period talking about the unusually warm weather and decided we must be in the warm sector of the depression (confirmed by the met office synoptic chart). We had a little go at predicting the weather before I randomly distributed some of the clouds that the class had observed.
With these, the class worked in pairs to create a cloud 'profile'. I compared it to a celebrity/ football magazine which has a movie star/ player factfile. For this exercise, we thought about location (in relation to weather fronts), distinguishing characteristics, travel plans and temperament. Although some of the class stayed safe and did very formulaic profiles (perhaps a failing of mine in terms of promoting the aims of the activity fully), some were very creative.
Some examples of really good characterisations might include the nimbostratus cloud which was "slightly overweight", "laying low" and "sweating profusely", an excellent description of the low cloud and persistent rainfall at the warm front. We also had obese cumulonimbus clouds, the "tallest in their class" with "anger management issues" and other such descriptive accounts.
I liked this exercise, but would give it more prominence than 15 minutes at the end of the lesson. It has a lot of scope if given a fuller introduction to further develop both subject and general literacy while placing subject knowledge in a different context. I wonder if something like this would be valid assessment of learning in the new qualifications?