Weather Stations: Storms

Children test how cornstarch and glitter in water move when disturbed. They compare their observations with videos of Jupiter's and Earth's storm movements.

Go To:

Lunar and Planetary Institute
Universities Space Research Association

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Teaching Tips

Teaching Tips

Some discussion questions may need to be adapted due to the fact that the Juno Mission has been launched and is currently still orbiting Jupiter (until July 2021 according to NASA).

This demonstration is part of a [link Station"'] set, however, it can stand alone.

The "My Trip to Jupiter" journal is not required to complete the activity, as there is a link to the relevant handout pages. However, if multiple activities from the series are going to be completed, the journal may be useful.

The materials used in this activity might add conceptual complexity and confusion. Specifically, the significance of the glitter and cornstarch in relation to the two different planets' atmospheres is unclear.

It is recommended to test out the demo beforehand to see whether it will support students' understanding. Adjustments can be made to simplify the hands-on demo activity (eg. use same materials for Jupiter vs. Earth demo to remove the extra variable), or the video resources can be used to explore the idea of planetary atmospheres and storms without the demo.

In order to model stewardship practices, alternative materials can be used instead of glitter. Traditional glitter is a persistent pollutant and microplastic that harms aquatic environments (eco-safe biodegradable glitter can be found online, but is less readily available in stores). Oregano, basil, or any other dried leafy spice could work instead.

Literacy and Resources