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El Nino


Found in: science; 3-5; 6-8; 9-12

The El Niño of 97-98 brought flooding in the southeast, an ice storm in the northeast, flooding in California, and tornadoes in Florida. The year was the second warmest and seventh wettest winter since 1895. (See: The El Niño Winter of ’97-’98) (  PDF, 3.2 MB, 28

 pgs.) This year’s El Niño may prove to be one of the strongest recorded. These lessons and resources describe the cyclical event and how it affects global weather, agriculture, and the spread of disease.

Lessons:

  • What Is El Niño? (  PDF, 273 B, 26 pgs.) This unit has 12 lessons for students in grades 5-12 to examine the impacts of El Niño on agriculture, coastal areas, forests, human health, and water. Appendices provide assessment rubric & answers keys and National Educational Standards.
  • The Ocean and Weather: El Niño and La Niña Students in grades 6-8 explore El Niño and La Niña, map where they occur, and discuss the benefits of predicting these events.
  • El Niño Lesson Students in grades 6-12 use satellite data from the 1997 El Nino and correlate it to local weather.
  • El Niño Two activities for students in grades 6-12: a webquest for information on El Niño and La Niña and another on climate change.

Background Resources:

  • El Niño Module An instructional module that introduces El Niño, conditions for its occurrence, and its impact on the world. It highlights the 97-98 event.
  • NOAA's El Niño Portal provides daily Pacific Ocean surface temperature data, weather forecasts, observations, research, impacts, FAQs, graphics, links to educational materials and websites (for young and older students) and to the El Niño and La Niña home pages.
  • El Niño Theme Page links to information on El Niño. The section on basics distinguishes El Niño and La Niña and links to related videos. The video El Nino - What is it? (4:26) is especially effective.
  • NOAA Research Teacher Information has teacher information, student activity book, and teacher activity key (PDF) to use with the online science lessons.
  • Teachers Guide: Chasing El Niño (NOVA video) Companion website for NOVA program. Includes ideas for teachers, classroom activity, and student interactive.

Video:

  • El Niño 101 (3:10)
    Describes what causesElNi, how it can affectus,and why it is hard to predict.
  • Chasing El El Niño (52:53) (NOVA 1998) Reports on Scientists on a research ship take measurements and build compu

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