Welcome To Forces of Nature: Weather for Teachers


Info about specific units
Click on the menu bar choices above.

General and technical info
Look on this page.


Other units coming in Phase II.
This is where you can access notes and additional information about the student activities, troubleshoot your computer access, and find more background information about the science content -- anything that you may need!

Please let us know about any technical glitches. This is the first release of this website so glitches are likely to occur. We will try our best to fix these as soon as we hear about them.

In general, please let us know if this type of website is useful to you and whether or not we can provide anything else. We can't promise a response to every request, but we do keep requests in mind for later. Positive feedback is greatly appreciated too! It helps us and our supporters know when we're doing the right things.

The UCSD undergraduate students at Earthguide, who built this website, also want to know whether your fifth-graders like the website! We encourage them to write to us or send their comments along with yours.

We work closely with the scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. From time-to-time we will adjust the content to reflect their expertise related to standards-based science topics.

Hope the WEATHER is more than unusual at your school this year!

- The Earthguide Team

Memorie Yasuda at Earthguide, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD
Sue Magdziarz at the Ocean Institute

Symbols used in the website activities:

Instruction questions  Rollover the question mark to temporarily review previous instructions.

Compass  Drag the compass over the map to expand it. Drag it back into the lower box to snap it back into storage. Note that it may be difficult to let go of the compass while it is hovering over the ruler. Move the compass away from the ruler to let go of it.

Ruler  Drag the ruler over the map to expand it. The rulers in each section are scaled to distances on the map used in a particular activity. Click on the clockwise and counterclockwise arrows to rotate the ruler. Click on Reset to return the ruler back to a horizontal position. Drag the ruler back into the lower box to snap it back into storage. Note that it may be difficult to let go of the ruler while it is hovering over the ruler. Move the ruler away from the compass to let go of it.

Calculator  Click on the calculator to call up a window with a calculator.

Speed (velocity) scale  Drag the speed scale over the map to estimate the length of the wind speed line on a particular station. Clicking on the central dot will allow you to rotate it to the most convenient angle. You will need to extrapolate wind speeds based on the lengths of white lines on the map relative to the units on the scale in miles per hour.

Marker flags  These flags are used to mark the changing location of moving objects observed on different frames of a movie. Once you have selected a scene in a movie, drag one flag onto the map and mark the location of interest. Lock the flag into place by clicking on the lock. This keeps the flag in position with respect to the movie frame as well as the location. Do the same with the other flag, once you have selected another time and location of interest.

Technical questions about how to use this website:

"It takes a long time to load"
In order to transmit the graphics and data that make our activities as interactive as they are, they require a relatively fast download time. They will load slowly on dial-up connection. On broadband connections, even the largest activity - Forecasting Hurricane Emily - usually runs fast enough on most systems.

"I am using a Mac and I can't print the map in the Wind activity"
Your browser needs to be updated with the new Flash Player (version 7 or higher). You can download Flash Player at:

"Why doesn't the activity save student essays so that they don't lose their answers in case they forget to print?"
It now does!  Please read the details in the Tips for Saving Student Work section below.

"I don't have a live internet connection in my classroom"
Our interactive website is a website, so you'll need to use a web browser to view its contents. The web browsers that we try to accommodate are listed below. If a feature is not compatible on both, the default browser is the one with the *.  Most features should be viewable on all browsers. This first version of Forces of Nature: Weather incorporates movies and other interactive animations that make the site more fun and interactive. However, it does require a fast internet connection and a computer that is relatively new.

    On the PC
    • Internet Explorer *
    • Netscape
    On the Mac
    • Safari *
    • Internet Explorer

"I don't see the moving..."
You will need to have Macromedia Flash Player installed on your computer in order to view the animation. The Marcomedia Flash Player can be downloaded here for free: http://www.macromedia.com/downloads/. You will need to ask your computer system administrator to do this unless you have permission to install programs on your computer.

To determine if your browser (PC or Mac) meets the requirements needed to install the Macromedia Flash Player, view the system requirements page at: http://www.macromedia.com/software/flash/productinfo/systemreqs/.

Once ready to install, select the Maromedia Flash Player under the "Download Free Players" heading and you will be taken to the installation page. It is a good idea to scroll down the page and read the "Installation Instructions" before clicking the "Install Now" button. Follow additional instructions that appear with the install wizard.

Most browsers such as Internet Explorere come installed with Macromedia Flash Player, so you may already have a previous version of Macromedia Flash Player installed. You may still need to update to the latest version if the web site contains features that require a newer version. If this is the case with your version, a box should appear when your computer attempts to view the animation informing you that you require an update. Follow the instructions in the onscreen box or simply access the Macromedia Flash Player website and follow the instructions above.

"Can I run the browser-driven website while not connected to the internet?"
You will be able to run major component on our website without being connected to the internet as we have not included any activities that require your ability to access our web server. There are a few consequences of this however:
  • You will not be able to access any of the external website resources.
  • You will not be able to access live data once it becomes available.
  • You will need to download any components you wish to view onto your local computer.

Tips for Saving Student Work

Students must choose a unique name
If students do not choose a unique name - their saved files can be overwritten by another user. This can happen when two people have the same name or if another student uses that name.

Thus, it is important for students to choose a name that is not only unique, but unlikely to be used by another student. Usernames are not password protected at this time.

Do my students need to enter their usernames again?
They must enter a username at the start of each activity and at the start of each essay question section. The answers for each activity are saved in different files. We recommend that students use the same username each time because it is easier to remember.

If a student cannot recall saved data
Try to track down the source of the problem to avoid the problem next time. Ask the student whether they:
  • Entered exactly the same name as before? Including spaces?
  • Did they click on the Save button before exiting the activity the last time?
  • Could they have saved blank information by mistake?

The importance of clicking on the "Save button" to save current work.
If students do not save before exiting an activity, their work will be lost. Their current work will not appear when they reenter the activity.

In the main activities, settings and entered values will be recalled if they have been saved.

In the essay portion, essay answers will be recalled if they have been saved.

However, students should think before saving. Once they click on the save button, all previous work will be replaced.

More questions?
Please email Memorie Yasuda at Earthguide.