Atmospheric eddies in Science Centers – connection between secondary school teaching and informal learning
There are many atmospheric phenomena which can be taught in the frame of different subjects at secondary schools. Geography and environmental education characteristically deal with observable natural phenomena. Some of them can be easily modeled in a school laboratory, but in spite of this neither the exact (phenomenological) description nor the theoretical background of these phenomena are given in any of the curricula. These phenomena include a wide scale of atmospheric and marine whirls. The beauty and frightening effect of the vortices from dust devils and waterspouts to hurricanes and cyclones can be a great motivating force for the students to learn more about the physics of these phenomena. This paper demonstrates the introductory steps of the elaboration of a learning material about the atmospheric eddies and shows how can be connected the formal and non-formal teaching methods. To construct the teaching material the principles of the MER (Model of Educational Reconstruction) will be applied (Niebert and Gropengiesser, 2013), having planned the educational reconstruction of the scientific content we suggest simple conceptual and mathematical description of atmospheric whirls of tornadic type at secondary school level.