Montana State University

ERTH 591-801: Weather and Climate for Teachers

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Feb 01-Apr 22, 2016
Credit: 3 graduate
Tuition & Fees: $0.00 CRN is 34813
Instructor(s): Jordy Hendrikx

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Course Description

Few subjects within Earth Sciences are as far reaching as the study of weather (meteorology) and climate (climatology). We plan our days based on the current weather, plant food supplies based on seasonal forecasts, and develop economies based on regional climate. Weather and climate also explain major biogeographic patterns and influence physical processes shaping Earth. With unprecedented climate changes likely inevitable in our lifetimes, the study of weather and climate has also taken on added importance in recent decades. For these reasons and many more, it is imperative that we equip our teacher and educators with the tools to better prepare and motivate the next generation of scientists in this field. In this course we will build a physical understanding of how Earth systems interact to create the weather we see on a daily basis and the climatic patterns that emerge at larger spatial and temporal scales.

The course goals are to:
  • Increase weather and climate content knowledge,
  • Increase pedagogical skills related to teaching weather and climate,
  • Create a "tool-kit" of teaching activities relating to weather and climate, and
  • Engender changes in teacher-participants' classrooms that lead to an increased quantity and quality of weather and climate related instruction.
These goals will be accomplished through a highly structured series of readings, web based activities using a range of on-line resources, development and maintenance of a local weather journal, and the development and peer review of weather and climate class room activities. This course is specially designed for practicing science teachers at the middle to high school level.

This course is a prerequisite for our new course, Understanding Climate Change, which will be offered this summer. It is also part of the proposed Graduate Certificate in Science Teaching in Climate Change.

Meeting Place and Times

Teachers log into the course at a time of day that best fits their schedule. It is necessary to connect at least 4 - 6 times per week and spend 10 - 13 hours each week while the course is in session, either online or offline working on course related assignments, to stay current and successfully complete this 3 credit graduate course.


Jordy Hendrikx, PhD. Earth Science Department, Montana State University
Jordy is the Director of the Snow & Avalanche Laboratory and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at Montana State University. Jordy has undertaken research on snow, glaciers, avalanches and climate change around the world, and has considerable experience with applied climatology and meteorology research. Jordy has worked extensively with avalanches programmes, glacier monitoring programmes and set up a National Snow and Ice monitoring Network in New Zealand. He understands weather and climate from the ground-up with hands on experience with both the research and applied sides of this field. Prior to working for Montana State University, Jordy worked as a Snow and Ice Scientist at NIWA (National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research) in Christchurch, New Zealand (similar to NCAR in the USA).


Bachelor’s degree; two years of teaching experience; an introduction to physical geography course, or equivalent.

Target Audience

9-12 grade science teachers who are currently certified with one year of teaching experience.

Time Commitment:

10-13 hours per week. If you are unfamiliar with this field of study and/or method of delivery, you may require more time.

Tuition and Fees

Teachers are on their own to purchase the text listed below.

Required Books/Materials

  • Please purchase one of the following text book options. We strongly recommend that you buy this via the MSU bookstore, or the Pearson website directly

    AGUADO & BURT: UNDERSTANDING WEATHER & CLIMATEPKG, 7/E (Paper-bound Text with Modified Mastering Code plus e-text)
    ISBN-10: 0134111494
    ISBN-13: 9780134111490

    AGUADO & BURT: UNDERSTANDING WEATHER & CLIMATEPKG, 7/E (Stand-Alone Access Code with e-text)
    ISBN-10: 0133998657
    ISBN-13: 9780133998658

    You need EXACTLY this text with the ISBN number as shown, as different ISBN numbers have access codes that won't work via D2L for access to the online resources. You can also purchase the e-text and access code via D2L when you first log into the Pearson linked web-based resources.

If you decide to ignore this recommendation, and purchase from Amazon or elsewhere, then you will likely not be able to access the web-based resources. These resources include assessment activities that are required for this course.

If you have already purchased from Amazon or elsewhere, then we suggest you return your text for a refund, and purchase the access code and e-text via D2L when logging into the Pearson resources.

Teacher/participants are responsible for purchasing the required text for the course on their own before the course begins.

Computer Requirements:

  • Computer running Windows XP Service Pack 3 or newer or Mac OS X.5 (Leopard) or higher
  • CD-ROM drive
  • Internet access

This course uses a learning management system. You will learn more closer to the course start date.

For More Information

regarding registration, please contact NTEN at (800)282-6062 or (406)994-6812, or by email at

For questions regarding course content, please contact Jordy Hendrikx at

How to Register

Register Online

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