Jump to this Activity »
Global Patterns

Federica Raia, On the Cutting Edge Collection - SERC (Science Education Resource Center)

This activity supports educators in the use of the activities that accompany the GLOBE Program's Earth System Poster 'Exploring Connections in Year 2007'. Students identify global patterns and connections in environmental data that include soil moisture, insolation, surface temperature, cloud fraction, precipitation, world topography/bathymetry, aerosol optical thickness, and biosphere (from different times of the year) with the goal of recognizing patterns and trends in global data sets.

Activity takes one to two class periods.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Activity supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 1 Disciplinary Core Idea
High School: 1 Performance Expectation, 1 Disciplinary Core Idea, 6 Cross Cutting Concepts, 3 Science and Engineering Practices

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Sunlight warms the planet
About Teaching Principle 1
Other materials addressing 1a
World's climate definition
About Teaching Principle 2
Other materials addressing 2a
Observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system
About Teaching Principle 5
Other materials addressing 5b

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:G) Drawing conclusions and developing explanations
Other materials addressing:
G) Drawing conclusions and developing explanations.
1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:C) Collecting information
Other materials addressing:
C) Collecting information.
1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:E) Organizing information
Other materials addressing:
E) Organizing information.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.1 The Earth as a Physical System:A) Processes that shape the Earth
Other materials addressing:
A) Processes that shape the Earth.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.1 The Earth as a Physical System:C) Energy
Other materials addressing:
C) Energy.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.2 The Living Environment:C) Systems and connections
Other materials addressing:
C) Systems and connections.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.2 The Living Environment:D) Flow of matter and energy
Other materials addressing:
D) Flow of matter and energy.

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Students will need some guidance from the instructor to frame their observations.
  • This activity has been modified from the original GLOBE poster and activities, that are linked, and offer additional background and instructions.

About the Science

  • This a skill-based activity that focuses on having students recognize patterns in global data sets.
  • This skill is important for critical thinking while analyzing large data sets and data-based imagery.
  • The activity can be used with data on the GLOBE poster or with any data set.
  • Comments from expert scientist: This course provides a broad overview of the Earth System. I see this as a strength compared to other ways of presenting the material such as going into detail on each Earth System component but then missing the big picture. The process of formulating hypotheses is critical to the scientific method. In this course, students are pushed to develop their own hypotheses.

About the Pedagogy

  • This activity uses a jigsaw approach to have students work in small groups while observing data-based imagery.
  • The activity does not contain specific handouts or instructions, so it will need to be tailored by the instructor.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

Related URLs These related sites were noted by our reviewers but have not been reviewed by CLEAN

GLOBE Earth System Poster "Exploring Connections in Year 2007": http://classic.globe.gov/page?earth_system

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Activity supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 1

MS-ESS1.B2:This model of the solar system can explain eclipses of the sun and the moon. Earth’s spin axis is fixed in direction over the short-term but tilted relative to its orbit around the sun. The seasons are a result of that tilt and are caused by the differential intensity of sunlight on different areas of Earth across the year.

High School

Performance Expectations: 1

HS-ESS2-4: Use a model to describe how variations in the flow of energy into and out of Earth’s systems result in changes in climate.

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: 6

Patterns, Cause and effect, Scale, Proportion and Quantity, Energy and Matter, Stability and Change

HS-C1.5:Empirical evidence is needed to identify 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-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: 3

Asking Questions and Defining Problems, Analyzing and Interpreting Data, Engaging in Argument from Evidence

HS-P1.3:ask questions to determine relationships, including quantitative relationships, between independent and dependent variables

HS-P4.4:Compare and contrast various types of data sets (e.g., self-generated, archival) to examine consistency of measurements and observations.

HS-P7.4:Construct, use, and/or present an oral and written argument or counter-arguments based on data and evidence.

Jump to this Activity »