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D. Robinson

Forked Lightning

Forked lightning occurs when a second lightning stroke doesn't follow the same path as the first lightning stroke. Thus, it appears forked.

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The Fall 2009 issue of The Earth Scientist, which includes articles on student research into building design for earthquakes and a classroom lab on the composition of the Earth’s ancient atmosphere, is available in our online store.

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Ready, Set, SCIENCE!: Putting Research to Work in K-8 Science Classrooms

What types of instructional experiences help K-8 students learn science with understanding? What do science educators teachers, teacher leaders, science specialists, professional development staff, curriculum designers, school administrators need to know to create and support such experiences?...more

Cumulus Stage

The sun heats the earth's surface during the day. The heat on the surface and warms the air around it. Since warm air is lighter than cool air, it starts to rise (known as an updraft). If the air is moist,...more

Dissipating Stage

After about 30 minutes, the thunderstorm begins to dissipate. This occurs when the downdrafts in the cloud begins to dominate over the updraft. Since warm moist air can no longer rise, cloud droplets...more

Mature Stage

When the cumulus cloud becomes very large, the water in it become large and heavy. Raindrops start to fall through the cloud when the rising air can no longer hold them up. Meanwhile, cool dry air starts...more

Sound Waves vs. Light Waves

You see a flash of lightning across the night sky. Five seconds later, your hear the rumble of thunder. If lightning and thunder come from the same source, then why don't they occur at the same time?...more

Thunderstorm Safety

Thunderstorms can be really dangerous! Flash floods, lightning bolts, hail, tornadoes...all of these things can hurt you if you're not careful. So here's some safety tips. GO INSIDE! If you hear distant...more

Lightning Formation

The sky is filled with electric charge. In a calm sky, the positive (+) and negative (-) charges are evenly spaced throughout the atmosphere. Therefore, a calm sky has a neutral charge. Inside a thunderstorm,...more

Create Your Own Lightning

Here's a safe and easy way to make lightning. You will need a cotton or wool blanket. This experiment works best on a dry, cool night. Turn out all the lights and let your eyes adjust to the darkness....more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA