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El Nino – Silent Weather Maker

Grade: 6-8

Lesson Time: 1-1.5 hours


This lesson focuses upon the scientific phenomenon of El Niño. Activities will enable the learner to understand that El Nino is a climate event occurring every three to seven years, starting in the tropical Pacific Ocean and effects the atmospheric and oceanic changes causing drought and destruction far beyond its point of origin. Learners will also explore the possible link between human -induced global warming and El Niño as as possible distributor of global warming’s extra energy.


  • Use technology to acquire, explore, and analyze data images
  • Conduct scientific inquiry using a variety of technical resources
  • Use internet resources to conduct scientific investigation
  • Use graphing skills to analyze and present data
  • Describe in scientific terminology the definition and geographic origins of El Nino
  • Identify and describe specific oceanic and atmospheric events inherent in the cyclic occurrence of El Nino in the Pacific Ocean
  • Explain the physics of relaxed trade winds which allow warm water surges and oceanic changes in an Eastward direction across the Pacific Ocean
  • Access and evaluate internet data to determine dates of past occurrences of El Nino
  • Analyze and interpret graphs to discern the correlation between El Nino events and global temperatures

Standards References:

  • Massachusetts Frameworks Grades 6-8 #4
  • National Standards (Science): A.1, A.2, A.4, B.3, D.1, E.1, and E.2
  • National Standards (Geography): 4, 11
  • National Standards (Mathematics): 1.1, 1.2, 1.4, 1.5, 2.4, 3.1, 4.4, 5.5, 8.1, 8.2

Activity download: El_Nino_Silent_Weather

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