Kansas Kaleidoscope, February/March 2003
(Volume 6, Number 5)
Real People. Real Stories.
A fun magazine for kids!
I Love Kansas, Weather or Not!
Have you ever heard the saying, “If you can’t stand the weather in Kansas, wait ten minutes?” Our state is known for changeable, extreme, and unpredictable weather.
For Parents and Teachers:
The Kansas curricular geography standards for fourth grade require students to describe the physical components of Earth’s water, temperature, precipitation, wind, weather, and climate. The Science Education standards for fourth grade require students to be able to describe changes in the earth and weather. This issue provides a multitude of information for both of these indicators. Not only will students learn why Kansas weather is so changeable and unpredictable, they will also gain an understanding as to how weather has affected the state’s history.
Want to learn how meteorologists predict the weather? Visit Wichita's Exploration Place, 300 N. McLean Blvd, home of the KSN WeatherLab! The KSN WeatherLab is a state-of-the-art weather laboratory.
Changeable Kansas Weather
Weather is wind, moisture, and energy from the sun. Most weather takes place in an area measuring from ground level up to as much as ten miles above the ground.
People of the South Wind
Wind is a major feature of the Kansas climate. In fact the state’s name comes from the native Kansa Indians who called themselves “the people of the south wind.”
A WIND SCALE
Do you know how to measure the wind? In 1805 an Englishman named Sir Francis Beaufort developed a scale to estimate wind speeds. It tells what natural effects you could see at different speeds.
East vs. West
Did you know that the climate in eastern Kansas is quite different fromthe climate in the western part of the state? The elevation of Kansas gradually rises from about 700 feet above sea level in the east to nearly 4,000 feet in the west.
The Cyclone State
When it comes to weather, Kansas is most famous for its tie to L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. This popular children’s book and 1939 motion picture gives Kansas the image of being a “cyclone state.”
Let it Snow!
Blizzards are the most widespread storms to affect Kansas. What makes a blizzard is not just the snow but also the temperature and the wind.
When It Rains, It Pours!
Have you ever wished for a clear day by saying, “rain, rain, go away, come again another day?” In 1951 many Kansans probably recited these words over and over again.
Dust in the Wind
Drought is no stranger to Kansas. Hot temperatures and high winds of Kansas summers have dried out soil and wreaked havoc on plants and animals many times through the years.
When a drought becomes severe, plants and crops die. This leaves many insects and animals without their usual food sources. Where do they find food to stay alive?
Fooling Mother Nature
Kansas weather tends to be extreme. Water does not always arrive in useful forms or at convenient times.
In the state known as the "Wheat State" and the "Bread Basket of the World," agriculture has always been very important. Hail and lack of rain can impact the economy of the entire state if crops are damaged.
Oh Kansas Land!
Early settlers sometimes wrote songs about their situations to help lift their spirits. Find some creative and comical lyrics set to the tune of a popular gospel song called "Beulah Land."
Before there were scientific instruments for measuring weather, such as barometers, thermometers, or weather satellites, people learned about weather in other ways. Most people worked outside and got to know the weather quite well.
In This Issue:
- Kaleidoscope Challenge
- History Lab
- Visit History
- Bee a Winner!