Common Cloud Conundrum
Many people think that clouds form due to the process of the water cycle phase, evaporation. It is true that without evaporation, clouds would not exist. Evaporation is the process of liquid water turning into gaseous water, or water vapor. Without evaporation as a part of the water cycle, water would only cycle from liquid to solid, and would never make it off the ground.
Liquid water is relatively “sticky”, the molecules when water is in a liquid state are attracted to each other creating a lattice of water molecules. Think about how water can “stick” to the sides of a glass, your mirror during a shower, or itself when you’ve poured a glass of it too high, and it domes up above the edge of the glass (try it!).
When liquid water molecules have enough energy, some of them break away from the liquid water lattice. A single water molecule is less dense than our typical air molecules (nitrogen and oxygen) so it rises up through the air. That’s usually where water vapor hangs out, amid our air molecules. But we don’t see it.
Water molecules floating around alone are far too small to see. Even so, a common misconception exists that evaporation, liquid water becoming water vapor, creates clouds. But we can see clouds! And we can see liquid water. So at some point, the water vapor must turn back to liquid water, otherwise known as the process of condensation.
Remember that it takes water molecules with energy to break away to form water vapor, so the opposite needs to happen to water vapor molecules to slow down enough to allow their natural attraction to take hold. The temperatures further from the surface of Earth are colder due to less pressure (“thinner” air), so as water vapor rises in the air, it cools, or the molecules lose energy and slow down. In addition to sticking to each other, water molecules tend to need a surface to form onto. Our atmosphere is full of microscopic dust which provides a perfect surface for microscopic water molecules to cling to as they lose energy. The lattice formed between the clinging water and dust is our cloud!
So in a typical graphic that appears in many student textbooks, we can see the cause and effect that creates this cycle of cloud formation:
In a recent workshop, fifth grade teachers from Franklinville, Randolph Academy, West Valley, and Genesee Valley practiced an activity they do with their students in the Models of the Earth Advancing STEM Kit.
This activity helps students understand the conditions needed for a cloud to form. There are different scenarios represented by four combinations of water and air: (1) cold water/cold air; (2) cold water/warm air; (3) warm water/cold air; and (4) warm water/warm air. You can see in the picture that water droplets have formed on the top of one of the cups enclosing the land. What do you think is the combination that created this “cloud”? This activity goes along great with one of the third grade NYS Required Science Investigations: Cloud in a Bottle.
Another great activity to do with kids or by yourself is Cloud BINGO. This fun activity can help develop keen observation skills and practice prediction. Record the date and time when you see a type of cloud and record the weather going on at the time you see this cloud. You can make this a competition if you set a time frame, say three weeks, and whoever has seen the most clouds, wins!
Follow-up questions to a few weeks of cloud observations might be: What type of weather would you expect with thin, wispy clouds? What type of weather would you expect with thick, fluffy clouds? What type of weather would you expect with dark clouds? What did you find were the most common types of clouds? The least common? Are there any clouds that indicate bad weather or good weather is on the way? Are there any clouds that signify a storm is now over? Did you discover any other types of patterns?
By: Kelli Grabowski, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Excitement is building in the CABOCES region as teams are forming and starting to prepare for the 2022-2023 CABOCES Student Competitions, sponsored through CoSer 506. Specifically, thirteen districts will participate in the 2022-2023 CABOCES VEX Robotics Qualifying Tournament Series. For the first time, teams will have 2 local qualifying tournament experiences. Twenty-six VEX Robotics teams from across Cattaraugus and Allegany counties will be attending the CABOCES VEX Robotics Qualifying Tournament at Belfast Central School on Wednesday, December 21st, 2022, and Cuba-Rushford Middle/High School on Wednesday, February 1st, 2023. Students will compete with and against teams from Belfast, Cattaraugus-Little Valley, Cuba-Rushford, Fillmore, Franklinville, Genesee Valley, Hinsdale, Pioneer, Portville, Randolph Academy, Salamanca, Wellsville, and Whitesville.
Each year, an exciting engineering challenge is presented to middle and high school students in the form of a game. The object of this year’s game, Spin Up (https://www.roboticseducation.org/teams/vex-robotics-competition/), is to attain a higher score than the opposing alliance by scoring discs in goals, owning rollers, and covering field tiles at the end of a two-minute match.
All teams can compete in both qualifying tournaments as well as Skills Challenges. Teams also have an opportunity to participate in a Team Interview and be judged on their Engineering Notebook. Teams who earn advancement will qualify to attend the Northern New York State Championship in Syracuse in March 2023.
To prepare for these tournaments, students work together to design, build and program a semiautonomous robot that can quickly and efficiently solve the specific challenges of the Spin Up game. Teams study electronics, programming, mechanical systems, animation, 3D CAD, computer-aided machining, web design, and materials fabrication. An equally important set of skills is learned through competition: communication, collaboration, critical thinking, project management, time management, and teamwork.
The CABOCES Qualifying Tournaments are two of a series of VEX Robotics Competitions taking place internationally throughout the year. VEX Competitions are the largest and fastest-growing competitive robotics program for middle and high schools globally. VEX Competitions represent over 24,000 teams from 61 countries that participate in more than 1,650 VEX Competition events worldwide. The competition season culminates each spring, with the VEX Robotics World Championship, an event for top qualifying teams from local, state, regional, and international VEX Robotics Competitions. More information about VEX Robotics is available at RoboticsEducation.org and RobotEvents.com.
About the REC Foundation
The Robotics Education & Competition Foundation manages the VEX Robotics Competition, which thousands of schools participate in around the world each year. REC states that one million students are reached worldwide through all the VEX robotics programs, classrooms, and competitions.
The REC Foundation seeks to increase student interest and involvement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by engaging students in hands-on, sustainable, and affordable curriculum-based robotics engineering programs across the United States and internationally. Its goal is to provide these programs with services, solutions, and a community that allows them to flourish in a way that fosters the technical and interpersonal skills necessary for students to succeed in the 21st Century. The REC Foundation develops partnerships with K-12 education, higher education, government, industry, and the non-profit community to achieve this work so that one day these programs will become accessible to all students and all schools in all communities.
To find out more about VEX Robotics in the CABOCES region, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 716-376-8323.
Jean Oliverio, ISS Student Programs
On March 11th, over 100 local educators, administrators and community leaders gathered at the Restorative Practices Symposium to explore, learn and experience from experts and practitioners in the field. The event was organized in response to the increasing interest in restorative practices in the region. The morning consisted of a keynote speaker and three practitioner presentations, while the afternoon allowed participants to experience different aspects of restorative practices based upon interest. Let’s take a look at what we learned about throughout the morning!
The keynote speaker, Dr. Tom Cavanagh of Colorado State University shared evidence and research specific to restorative practice in schools. He noted the significance of creating a culture of care using the principles and practices of restorative justice in the school environment. Dr. Cavanagh’s work with Hinkley High School in Aurora, Colorado was a great example of the application of a “culture of care” and related positive outcomes. Based on his research, Dr. Cavanagh concluded the implications for restorative schools include improved graduation rates, decreased discipline referrals, increased learning time and greater equity.
Deb Golley and Mollie Lapi, of CA BOCES Exceptional Education Programs spoke about the implementation process and daily practices within special education programs. They shared the reality of the 80/20 rule with restorative practices. The majority (80%) of practices are proactive, leaving the reactive practices happening much less of the time (20%). Therefore, reinforcing that restorative schools are heavily invested in practices that build relationships and community. This investment enables the responsive practices, such as conferences or corrective circles, to have greater influence and success in repairing harm and relationships when harm has occurred.
Representatives from East High School in the Rochester City School District, Dr. Lia Festenstein and Michelle Garcia offered insight into the revitalization of climate and culture in an urban school, through the implementation of restorative practices. Garcia introduced the social discipline window and noted that the ideal restorative response is a combination of high control (limit setting, discipline) and high support (encouragement, nurturing). Dr. Festenstein highlighted the process and stages of implementation and shared details of the journey from year one into year four. Finally, Dr. Festenstein spoke of the noteworthy impact that restorative practices has had at EAST. Outcomes include, a decrease in school referrals and suspensions, a decrease in the severity of school offenses and a narrowing discipline gap that disproportionately punishes students of color.
Finally, participants heard from local superintendent Lori DiCarlo. DiCarlo walked participants through the three tiers of restorative practices. She illustrated how the multi-tiered system of support aligns with the restorative practices continuum and what this looks like at Randolph Academy UFSD. For each of the three tiers, DiCarlo gave examples of what the practice looks like, how it is implemented and what the benefits are.
By: Katie Mendell, CA BOCES Community Schools Coordinator
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