Atziri Ibanez, Kate Thompson, Kenneth Casey, NOAA Ocean Data Education (NODE) Project
The entire sequence of activities takes nine 45-minute class periods but can be shortened when only doing part of the sequence. 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, 2 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 6 Cross Cutting Concepts, 11 Science and Engineering Practices
High School: 1 Performance Expectation, 1 Disciplinary Core Idea, 7 Cross Cutting Concepts, 12 Science and Engineering Practices
About Teaching Climate Literacy
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Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines
Other materials addressing:
C) Collecting information.
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A) Processes that shape the Earth.
Notes From Our Reviewers
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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy |
- Most current El Niño information and data is available at http://www.elnino.noaa.gov/.
- Many terms used in this activity are likely unfamiliar or poorly defined in mind of students. A good glossary can be found here: http://amsglossary.allenpress.com/glossary.
- This resource is aligned with Ocean Literacy principles.
About the Science
- NOAA remote sensing data from the 1990s is used in the activities. The "get data" link in the activity provides data up to 2006.
- The educator's guide provides good background information and excellent references.
- Comment from scientist: Also aside from the statistical concepts of normal and extreme very little new scientific content is presented, such as "Why does El Niño occur?," "Where can I find out more?" Additional information can be found on the PMEL ENSO pages http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/tao/elnino/nino-home.html.
About the Pedagogy
- A carefully constructed series of 5 activities that can be entered at different levels depending on background knowledge and experience of the students.
- Students or educators who are not tech-savvy or comfortable manipulating data may have a hard time with these activities.
- Students may find the resource more engaging if more recent data is used.
- The vocabulary is relatively advanced, and a glossary is included.
- The educator guide is thoughtfully designed and easy to follow.
- Younger students will need support to complete activities.
- 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-ESS2-6: Develop and use a model to describe how unequal heating and rotation of the Earth cause patterns of atmospheric and oceanic circulation that determine regional climates.
Disciplinary Core Ideas: 2
MS-ESS2.C2:The complex patterns of the changes and the movement of water in the atmosphere, determined by winds, landforms, and ocean temperatures and currents, are major determinants of local weather 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.
Cross Cutting Concepts: 6
MS-C4.1: Systems may interact with other systems; they may have sub-systems and be a part of larger complex systems.
MS-C5.2: Within a natural or designed system, the transfer of energy drives the motion and/or cycling of matter.
MS-C5.4:The transfer of energy can be tracked as energy flows through a designed or natural system.
MS-C7.1: Explanations of stability and change in natural or designed systems can be constructed by examining the changes over time and forces at different scales, including the atomic scale.
MS-C1.4:Graphs, charts, and images can be used to identify patterns in data.
MS-C3.4:Scientific relationships can be represented through the use of algebraic expressions and equations.
Science and Engineering Practices: 11
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-P4.3: Distinguish between causal and correlational relationships in data.
MS-P4.4:Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for phenomena.
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-P6.3: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-P6.5:Apply scientific reasoning to show why the data or evidence is adequate for the explanation or conclusion
MS-P8.1:Critically read scientific texts adapted for classroom use to determine the central ideas and/or obtain scientific and/or technical information to describe patterns in and/or evidence about the natural and designed world(s).
MS-P1.6:Ask questions that can be investigated within the scope of the classroom, outdoor environment, and museums and other public facilities with available resources and, when appropriate, frame a hypothesis based on observations and scientific principles.
Performance Expectations: 1
HS-ESS2-2: Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth's surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
Disciplinary Core Ideas: 1
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.
Cross Cutting Concepts: 7
HS-C1.1:Different patterns may be observed at each of the scales at which a system is studied and can provide evidence for causality in explanations of phenomena
HS-C2.2:Cause and effect relationships can be suggested and predicted for complex natural and human designed systems by examining what is known about smaller scale mechanisms within the system.
HS-C3.1:The significance of a phenomenon is dependent on the scale, proportion, and quantity at which it occurs.
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-C5.4: Energy drives the cycling of matter within and between systems.
HS-C7.1:Much of science deals with constructing explanations of how things change and how they remain stable.
Science and Engineering Practices: 12
HS-P1.3:ask questions to determine relationships, including quantitative relationships, between independent and dependent variables
HS-P1.6:Ask questions that can be investigated within the scope of the school laboratory, research facilities, or field (e.g., outdoor environment) with available resources and, when appropriate, frame a hypothesis based on a model or theory.
HS-P3.1:Plan an investigation or test a design individually and collaboratively to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence as part of building and revising models, supporting explanations for phenomena, or testing solutions to problems. Consider possible confounding variables or effects and evaluate the investigation’s design to ensure variables are controlled.
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-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-P6.3:Apply scientific ideas, principles, and/or evidence to provide an explanation of phenomena and solve design problems, taking into account possible unanticipated effects.
HS-P7.5:Make and defend a claim based on evidence about the natural world or the effectiveness of a design solution that reflects scientific knowledge and student-generated evidence.
HS-P8.1:Critically read scientific literature adapted for classroom use to determine the central ideas or conclusions and/or to obtain scientific and/or technical information to summarize complex evidence, concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms.
HS-P8.2:Compare, integrate and evaluate sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a scientific question or solve a problem.