Friday, November 8, 2019

The History of Thermometers and Barometers

Many moons ago when I was an undergrad I took a meteorology course. It was my favorite course outside of my major. I'm still fascinated by weather and weather forecasting. In fact, for my next career I might become a meteorologist. All that to say, I was naturally interested when I came across a Met Office (the UK's national weather service) video about the history of the thermometer and then a YouTube-suggested TED-Ed video The History of the Barometer.

Fahrenheit to Celsius: History of the Thermometer is an eight minute overview of the evolution of thermometers and their units of measurement. The video begins with an introduction to the earliest attempts to measure temperature before progressing into the work of Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit and Anders Celsius. The video explains how Fahrenheit settled on his standards for the freezing and boiling points of water. The video also explains how Anders Celsius did the same and why his original scale is the opposite of what we read on Celsius thermometers today.

The History of the Barometer is a TED-ED lesson that explains how a barometer works and how it was developed. The majority of the video is spent on explaining how the work of Galileo and Evangelista Torricelli contributed to how we measure barometric pressure today.

Mapping Thanksgiving

Where Does Your Thanksgiving Dinner Come From? is an interactive storymap that displays where eight popular Thanksgiving foods are grown and harvested in the United States. The storymap includes a map for each ingredient. Each map shows the locations of commercial producers. Fun facts are included in the storymap too. For example, did you know that Illinois has at least twice as many acres of pumpkins as any state?

Applications for Education
When I shared it last year I suggested using it as a way to spark students' curiosity to investigate questions about the origins of traditional Thanksgiving foods. This year I'd like to suggest that students can create their own storymaps about Thanksgiving. Students could do that with tools provided by ESRI. An easy way to do it is to use StoryMap JS. In the following video I demonstrate how to create a storymap with StoryMap JS.