SciJinks: Precipitation Simulator

A computer simulator that allows students to adjust the air temperature and dew point to see what type of precipitation would fall to the ground.

Go To:

Tom Whittaker
Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies
University of Wisconsin Madison
SciJinks; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Notes From Our Reviewers

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Teaching Tips

Teaching Tips

Teachers will need to do initial planning to embed this simulator within a weather or water cycle unit.

An instructor could easily engage students in the full scientific process by asking students to make a hypothesis, change variables, and collect and analyze data. This would work best with middle school/high school.

There are no instructions provided on the page for how to manipulate the variables. Students should click on the square boxes on the temperature and dew point lines, and drag them to different areas of the graph. Note that there are four altitudes that students can manipulate variables, though no information/explanation is provided on what the altitudes are, or how altitude affects precipitation, therefore students/instructors may need to do additional research to understand this concept.

There is a challenge question at the end of the background information that encourages students to manipulate all of the variables to get all of the different types of precipitation, which also brings a fun and engaging element to the simulation.

Literacy and Resources

Climate Literacy: