Venugopal Bhat, NASA - My NASA Data Lesson Plans
Activity takes two 50-minute class periods. Computer access is necessary.Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»
See how this Activity supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 1 Performance Expectation, 4 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 6 Cross Cutting Concepts, 12 Science and Engineering Practices
High School: 2 Performance Expectations, 5 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 8 Cross Cutting Concepts, 10 Science and Engineering Practices
Best suited for upper middle school and lower high school students.
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing 3a
Other materials addressing 7e
Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines
Other materials addressing:
A) Organisms, populations, and communities.
Other materials addressing:
C) Systems and connections.
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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy |
- Students may need help navigating the access site. Providing students with some screenshots of the steps in the procedure section may be helpful.
- Younger students may need better scaffolding to guide them in analyzing data.
- Activity could be extended to look at other species.
- Be aware that the video from WWF might be biased - possibly discuss the advocacy standpoint behind the video with the students.
About the Science
- Students develop an understanding of the impacts of climate change on wildlife.
- Students use real NASA and USGS data.
- Comment from scientist: The statement about sea ice breaking off and moving towards warmer waters is not accurate for the Arctic – it may be accurate for the Antarctic.
- Comment from scientist: All materials on this site imply that climate change is the only factor potentially responsible for the decline of the species. The major threats are: climate change, over-harvest, pollution, oil development, and tourism (not listed in order of priority).
About the Pedagogy
- Students work directly with data, making graphs and drawing conclusions.
- The activity has students developing understanding of the global through the local.
- The activity does not address the role of humans in climate change as stated in the learning outcome. This piece could be added by educator.
- This resource engages students in using scientific data.
See other data-rich activities
Next Generation Science Standards See how this Activity supports:
Performance Expectations: 1
MS-LS2-4: Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
Disciplinary Core Ideas: 4
MS-ESS2.D1:Weather and climate are influenced by interactions involving sunlight, the ocean, the atmosphere, ice, landforms, and living things. These interactions vary with latitude, altitude, and local and regional geography, all of which can affect oceanic and atmospheric flow patterns.
MS-ESS2.D3:The ocean exerts a major influence on weather and climate by absorbing energy from the sun, releasing it over time, and globally redistributing it through ocean currents.
MS-LS2.A:Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
MS-LS2.C:Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience
Cross Cutting Concepts: 6
MS-C1.2: Patterns in rates of change and other numerical relationships can provide information about natural and human designed systems
MS-C1.3: Patterns can be used to identify cause and effect relationships.
MS-C1.4:Graphs, charts, and images can be used to identify patterns in data.
MS-C2.2:Cause and effect relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural or designed systems.
MS-C5.4:The transfer of energy can be tracked as energy flows through a designed or natural system.
MS-C7:Stability and Change
Science and Engineering Practices: 12
MS-P3.2:Conduct an investigation and/or evaluate and/or revise the experimental design to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence that meet the goals of the investigation
MS-P4.1:Construct, analyze, and/or interpret graphical displays of data and/or large data sets to identify linear and nonlinear relationships.
MS-P4.2:Use graphical displays (e.g., maps, charts, graphs, and/or tables) of large data sets to identify temporal and spatial relationships.
MS-P4.4:Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for phenomena.
MS-P4.7:Analyze and interpret data to determine similarities and differences in findings.
MS-P5.1: Use digital tools (e.g., computers) to analyze very large data sets for patterns and trends.
MS-P6.1:Construct an explanation that includes qualitative or quantitative relationships between variables that predict(s) and/or describe(s) phenomena.
MS-P6.2:Construct an explanation using models or representations.
MS-P6.3:Construct a scientific explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained from sources (including the students’ own experiments) and the assumption that theories and laws that describe the natural world operate today as they did in the past and will continue to do so in the future.
MS-P6.4:Apply scientific ideas, principles, and/or evidence to construct, revise and/or use an explanation for real- world phenomena, examples, or events.
MS-P7.3:Construct, use, and/or present an oral and written argument supported by empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to support or refute an explanation or a model for a phenomenon or a solution to a problem.
MS-P8.5:Communicate scientific and/or technical information (e.g. about a proposed object, tool, process, system) in writing and/or through oral presentations.
Performance Expectations: 2
HS-ESS3-6: Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.
HS-LS2-6: Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
Disciplinary Core Ideas: 5
HS-ESS2.D1:The foundation for Earth’s global climate systems is the electromagnetic radiation from the sun, as well as its reflection, absorption, storage, and redistribution among the atmosphere, ocean, and land systems, and this energy’s re-radiation into space.
HS-ESS2.D4:Current models predict that, although future regional climate changes will be complex and varied, average global temperatures will continue to rise. The outcomes predicted by global climate models strongly depend on the amounts of human-generated greenhouse gases added to the atmosphere each year and by the ways in which these gases are absorbed by the ocean and biosphere.
HS-ESS3.D:Global Climate Change
HS-LS2.A:Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
HS-LS2.C:Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience
Cross Cutting Concepts: 8
HS-C1.4:Mathematical representations are needed to identify some patterns
HS-C2.1:Empirical evidence is required to differentiate between cause and correlation and make claims about specific causes and effects.
HS-C3.3:Patterns observable at one scale may not be observable or exist at other scales.
HS-C3.5:Algebraic thinking is used to examine scientific data and predict the effect of a change in one variable on another (e.g., linear growth vs. exponential growth).
HS-C5.2:Changes of energy and matter in a system can be described in terms of energy and matter flows into, out of, and within that system.
HS-C7.1:Much of science deals with constructing explanations of how things change and how they remain stable.
HS-C7.2:Change and rates of change can be quantified and modeled over very short or very long periods of time. Some system changes are irreversible.
HS-C7.3:Feedback (negative or positive) can stabilize or destabilize a system.
Science and Engineering Practices: 10
HS-P2.3:Develop, revise, and/or use a model based on evidence to illustrate and/or predict the relationships between systems or between components of a system
HS-P3.5:Make directional hypotheses that specify what happens to a dependent variable when an independent variable is manipulated.
HS-P4.1:Analyze data using tools, technologies, and/or models (e.g., computational, mathematical) in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims or determine an optimal design solution.
HS-P4.2:Apply concepts of statistics and probability (including determining function fits to data, slope, intercept, and correlation coefficient for linear fits) to scientific and engineering questions and problems, using digital tools when feasible.
HS-P5.2:Use mathematical, computational, and/or algorithmic representations of phenomena or design solutions to describe and/or support claims and/or explanations.
HS-P6.1:Make a quantitative and/or qualitative claim regarding the relationship between dependent and independent variables.
HS-P6.2:Construct and revise an explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained from a variety of sources (including students’ own investigations, models, theories, simulations, peer review) and the assumption that theories and laws that describe the natural world operate today as they did in the past and will continue to do so in the future.
HS-P6.4:Apply scientific reasoning, theory, and/or models to link evidence to the claims to assess the extent to which the reasoning and data support the explanation or conclusion.
HS-P7.4:Construct, use, and/or present an oral and written argument or counter-arguments based on data and evidence.
HS-P8.5:Communicate scientific and/or technical information or ideas (e.g. about phenomena and/or the process of development and the design and performance of a proposed process or system) in multiple formats (i.e., orally, graphically, textually, mathematically).