In the UK we regularly experience the passage of a depression. Those pesky low pressure systems can often create havoc such as the Winter storms of 2013/2014. The first storm arrived on December 5th 2013 and with it came strong winds and a storm surge. The consequences included 100,000 homes without power, flooding, grounded flights, traffic accidents and even a few fatalities and they were far spread from North Wales to Norfolk, Scotland to Kent. The impacts were felt across the country. Despite the disasters it creates some fantastic teaching opportunities when the pupils see it happening there and then.
One of my favourite resources is a Passage of a Depression thinking task. It encourages pupils to think logically and to recognise patterns in order to arrange the cards correctly. The task can be differentiated by adding information or removing information from the diagram, cards or table. I’ve used it numerous times with both Key Stage 3 and 4 and both as part of a lesson on depressions and as a revision tool at the end of a topic.
To use the activity pupils will need a copy of the diagram and table sheet as well as a set of cards. Pupils can work independently, in pairs or small groups to complete the challenge of this task. After having taught pupils about the passage of a depression, pupils interpret the diagram to sort the cards into the table to outline the weather, temperature and cloud types associated with each part of the depression as it moves over a location. It can be followed up with a living graph such as this one to assess pupils understanding.
How do you approach teaching weather fronts and depressions? Share your ideas in the comments below.