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Climographs: Temperature, Precipitation, and the Human Condition
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/xpeditions/lessons/15/g912/

National Geographic Xpeditions Archive

In this activity, students learn how to read, analyze, and construct climographs. These climographs are a graphic way of displaying monthly average temperature and precipitation. Students also practice matching climographs to various locations and summarize global-scale climate patterns revealed by comparing climographs.

Activity takes about four to six hours.

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Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Earth’s climate is influenced by interactions involving the Sun, ocean, atmosphere, clouds, ice, land, and life. Climate varies by region as a result of local differences in these interactions.
About Teaching Principle 2
Other materials addressing 2a
Individual organisms survive within specific ranges of temperature, precipitation, humidity, and sunlight. Organisms exposed to climate conditions outside their normal range must adapt or migrate, or they will perish.
About Teaching Principle 3
Other materials addressing 3a
Climate is determined by the long-term pattern of temperature and precipitation averages and extremes at a location. Climate descriptions can refer to areas that are local, regional, or global in extent. Climate can be described for different time intervals, such as decades, years, seasons, months, or specific dates of the year.
About Teaching Principle 4
Other materials addressing 4a
Climate is not the same thing as weather. Weather is the minute-by-minute variable condition of the atmosphere on a local scale. Climate is a conceptual description of an area’s average weather conditions and the extent to which those conditions vary over long time intervals.
About Teaching Principle 4
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Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:E) Organizing information
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E) Organizing information.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.1 The Earth as a Physical System:A) Processes that shape the Earth
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A) Processes that shape the Earth.

Benchmarks for Science Literacy
Learn more about the Benchmarks

The earth has a variety of climates, defined by average temperature, precipitation, humidity, air pressure, and wind, over time in a particular place.
Explore the map of concepts related to this benchmark
Climatic conditions result from latitude, altitude, and from the position of mountain ranges, oceans, and lakes. Dynamic processes such as cloud formation, ocean currents, and atmospheric circulation patterns influence climates as well.
Explore the map of concepts related to this benchmark
The world contains a wide diversity of physical conditions, which creates a wide variety of environments: freshwater, marine, forest, desert, grassland, mountain, and others. In any particular environment, the growth and survival of organisms depend on the physical conditions
Explore the map of concepts related to this benchmark

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

  • Perhaps go through African geography with class to familiarize them with the continent vs countries vs cities in Africa.
  • Students may need direction in converting inches to centimeters and Fahrenheit to Celsius.
  • Students may need help reading and creating graphs, e.g., dealing with changing ranges on y-axes.
  • Not all the vocabulary is related, but may still be useful.
  • MapMaker interactive tool may be useful in other activities.
  • Can teach about/highlight seasonality in different hemispheres using this activity.
  • Can compare past data to current data (e.g. compare last 10 yrs to last 50 yrs) to look more into climate change and interpreting their graphs.
  • Could link activity to climate normals data.

About the Science

  • Well-structured, clear use of basic climate information to help students build general climate patterns on the planet. Excellent activity for students to gain practice working with data and x-y plots.
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

About the Pedagogy

  • Learning is carefully scaffolded so that students understand climate zones and what can be gleaned from analyzing climate data.
  • Builds critical thinking skills through making hypotheses before actually doing the activity.
  • Includes relevance to agricultural and human health issues.
  • Builds quantitative skills and data analysis skills.
  • Uses real data.
  • Has thoughtful questions and assessment suggestions.
  • Conversion of units is addressed.
  • Excellent resource with great links to additional materials.
  • Direction for addressing diverse students is included.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Detailed instructions and worksheets are provided.
  • The African climate zones link does not work.

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