Before reading the article:
What’s the coldest weather you’ve ever experienced? What do you remember about how it felt?
Watch the video above, then imagine you are the mayor of a city like Chicago and that you know a few days in advance that historically cold temperatures are coming. How would you prepare? What specific services, businesses, industries and groups of people might need extra attention? Why?
Now, read the article, “A Merciless Cold Lingers in the Midwest,” and answer the following questions:
1. How low did temperatures drop across the Midwest this week? What happens after going gloveless for minute or two in conditions like these?
2. What were some of the services and businesses that were affected? How?
3. Why do some experts think these low temperatures may be the result of global warming?
4. How did schools across the region handle the cold?
5. What is a “frost quake” and what does it sound like?
Finally, tell us more about what you think:
Do you understand the science behind the polar vortex?
Take a look at these images and graphics that explain the dangerously cold winds.
Once you’ve read the full piece, challenge yourself: how would you explain the polar vortex to a second grader?