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Early Retirement: Making Sense of Patterns in Historical Data of Retired Hurricanes

The Science Teacher—May/June 2024 (Volume 91, Issue 3)

By Christopher Roemmele, Joby Hilliker, and Victoria Clayton

Long after a hurricane passes over and through any region or coastal area, the memories of it often linger. There may be visual reminders of the storm and the day lives may have been changed, or lost, forever. Hurricanes can be long-lived storms. They can also be structurally large, so their impact can cover enormous swaths of land and water, often with large populations in the way, particularly coastal areas. Hurricanes are the only officially named natural disasters, as well as the only hazards whose names can be retired. This unique characteristic provided us an opportunity to develop an activity that allows students to gain a greater understanding and appreciation into the: a) climatology of hurricanes, b) change over time with respect to naming and their frequency, and c) socio-scientific impact of the storms. In this activity students make sense of various data by analyzing, comparing and contrasting, and thinking critically about the various patterns that emerge, enhancing scientific literacy as well as gaining an appreciation for the phenomenon and the research around tropical systems.

Crosscutting Concepts Earth & Space Science Environmental Science Sensemaking Teaching Strategies High School

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