The Circle of Learning

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1 The Circle of Learning Title: Theme: Subject: Tracking the Storm Weather Predictions Mathematics Overview: Severe weather can have devastating effects on people and the communities in which they live. No one can control the weather; they can only prepare for those times when severe weather strikes. One of the worst forms of severe weather is the tropical cyclone or hurricane. Hurricanes can pack winds from 74 to 180+ miles per hour. They can create storm surges that impact miles and miles of coastline and result in floods and often the loss of life. Pounding rain and high winds can damage homes and cars. Each year tropical cyclones are born in the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean. Fortunately, many of these storms do not make landfall and eventually die at sea. However, a significant number of storms do make landfall. For this reason, it is important that students understand and can demonstrate how to track a hurricane using a tracking map. Tracking a storm requires a skill that is used on the GED Tests plotting coordinates. On the GED Mathematics Tests, students are asked to plot a point based on two coordinates on a coordinate plane grid. Using a hurricane-tracking map requires the same skills. Materials: Copy of Coordinate Plane Grid for each student Copy of AccuWeather Hurricane Tracking map downloaded from g/atlantic.pdf for each student Copy of Coordinates Hurricane handout for each student Procedure/Guided Practice: Begin the activity by reviewing with students the components of the coordinate plane grid. Have students identify each part of the grid and the numbers that can be used in each quadrant. Have students locate the following coordinates on the plane grid: (2, -3) (-1, -4) (0, -5) Pittman and Vondracek 1

2 (-3, -3) (4, 5) Discuss with students the importance of understanding longitude and latitude if they are going to be successful in plotting the coordinates of a tropical storm or hurricane. Longitude and latitude provide a coordinate system that can be used to track any location on earth. Latitude is the measurement of a location north or south of the Equator. Longitude is the measurement of location east or west of the Prime Meridian at Greenwich, England. Both latitude and longitude are given in degrees, minutes, and seconds. On the AccuWeather Hurricane Tracking Map, show students the parallels of latitude numbered from 5 and to 35. On the map, show students the lines of longitude numbered from to 85. Explain that between these lines rest the area that is the birthplace to tropical storms and hurricanes. The National Hurricane Center posts coordinates as follows: AT 5 AM AST Z...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL DEPRESSION TEN WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 10.7 NORTH...LONGITUDE 65.1 WEST OR ABOUT Have students find 10.7 North and 65.1 West on the Hurricane Tracking Map. When students are comfortable locating this coordinate, have them plot the track of the following storm. The coordinates provided are actual coordinates from Hurricane that formed on September 21, You may wish to discuss with students how the name changed from a tropical depression to a tropical storm to a hurricane and why. You may also want to ask questions about why the wind speed changed over time - rising and falling. For more information on hurricanes, you may wish to visit the National Hurricane Center website at: Evaluation: Review each student s hurricane tracking map and check for accuracy in plotting the storm coordinates. Pittman and Vondracek 2

3 Coordinate Plane Grid The coordinate plane grid consists of thirteen rows and thirteen columns. The center row is the x-axis. It runs horizontally through the grid. The center column is the y-axis. It runs vertically through the grid. Quadrant II: The x coordinates are negative and the y coordinates are positive. Example: ( 2, 3) y-axis Quadrant I: Both x and y coordinates in this quadrant are positive. Example: (2, 3) x-axis Quadrant III: Both x and y coordinates plotted in this quadrant are negative. Example: ( 2, 3) Quadrant IV: The x coordinates are positive and the y coordinates are negative. Example: (2, 3) X-Axis The numbers on the x-axis to the right of 0 are positive. The numbers to the left of 0 are negative. Y-Axis The numbers on the y-axis above 0 are positive. The numbers below the 0 are negative. The middle circle, where the y-axis and x-axis meet, is labeled 0. Four Quadrants The coordinate plane grid is divided into four quadrants. Each quadrant contains on of the following examples: two positive coordinates (3, 4), two negative coordinates (-3, -4), or a combination of positive and negative coordinates (2, -3). Pittman and Vondracek 3

4 Coordinates - Hurricane 9/21-27/2001 Name Date Time Coordinates Wind Speed 9/21 5 p.m. 26.1, Tropical Depression 10 Tropical Storm Hurricane Tropical Storm 11 p.m. 27.0, /22 5 a.m. 28.1, a.m. 28.2, /22 5 p.m. 29.0, p.m. 29.6, /23 5 a.m. 30.5, a.m. 31.4, /23 5 p.m. 32.3, p.m. 33.2, /24 5 a.m. 34.3, a.m. 35.4, p.m. 36.5, /25 5 a.m. 38.0, a.m. 38.9, p.m. 39.5, p.m. 39.9, /26 5 a.m. 40.7, a.m. 41.3, p.m. 42.1, p.m. 42.3, /27 5 a.m. 42.4, a.m. 42.0, p.m. 41.4, Pittman and Vondracek 4

5 Atlantic City Washington, D.C. Charleston Azores Louisville Roanoke Norfolk Nashville Charlotte Cape Hatteras 35 Columbia Wilmington Montgomery Atlanta Myrtle Beach Charleston Savannah Mobile Tallahasse Jacksonville 30 Pensacola Daytona Beach Tampa Orlando Freeport Bermuda Canary Islands Miami Key West Havana Nassau 25 Mérida 20 Cozumel Belize City Santiago de Cuba Kingston Turk Islands Port-au- Prince San Juan Santo Domingo St. Kitts Antigua Cape Verde Islands 20 San Salvador 10 Managua Limón Caracas Dominica St. Lucia Barbados St. Vincent Grenada Tobago Trinidad 10 Panama City 5 Provided by: