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Mapping Local Data in a GIS

Debbie Dogancay, Newbury Park High School, Earth Exploration Toolbook Chapter

This activity offers an introduction to working with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) by using field data on the Urban Heat Island Effect that was collected by students. The field data is entered in the GIS, displayed in a map, and analyzed.

Activity takes at least 3 lesson periods (50-min each) and requires thermometers, hand-held GPS units, and GIS licenses (after the 45-day free trial).

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Activity supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 1 Performance Expectation, 1 Disciplinary Core Idea, 5 Cross Cutting Concepts, 6 Science and Engineering Practices
High School: 1 Performance Expectation, 1 Disciplinary Core Idea, 4 Cross Cutting Concepts, 8 Science and Engineering Practices

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

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:B) Designing investigations
Other materials addressing:
B) Designing investigations.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.1 The Earth as a Physical System:C) Energy
Other materials addressing:
C) 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

  • Original student research produced by following the guidelines would be appropriate for a science fair or a class project.
  • More discussion questions and guidelines of how these findings fit in a larger context of climate change and human impacts is necessary.

About the Science

  • MyWorld GIS is used for this GIS-focused activity that uses the example of urban heat islands and the relationship between surface temperature and type of land cover. The temperature measurements are done by students as a project.
  • Activity is mainly a guide of how to use a GIS program and the urban heat island is simply an example. Background information is presented well, as is instruction of how to do the measurements; however, it lacks some scaffolding and further questions that lead students toward an understanding of the science behind the Urban Heat Island phenomenon.
  • Refer to a more recent quote from the US Global Change Research Program's Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States assessment that was released on Tuesday June 16th, 2009.

About the Pedagogy

  • Great combination of hands-on data collection and graphical display of results.
  • Well-designed introduction to GIS with a number of suggestions for potential environmental research questions that can be explored by students.
  • Scientific research question of Urban Heat Island is mainly a vehicle to learn the use of a GIS Program; therefore, it lacks a lot of the pedagogic scaffolding that would be helpful for teachers (no assessment strategies suggested, no discussion or interpretation guidelines for results).
  • Defining research hypothesis, setting up experiment, conducting the measurements, and displaying data in a GIS will engage students of different learning styles.
  • This activity is a time-intensive activity and requires software that can be downloaded for free but needs to be purchased after 45 days.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Activity requires thermometers, hand-held GPS units, and GIS licenses (free 45-day trials, but if teacher wanted to repeat the activity, each license is at least $100).

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

PASCO My World GIS download at https://geode.northwestern.edu/myworld/myworlddownload.htm

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Activity supports:

Middle School

Performance Expectations: 1

MS-ESS3-3: Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 1

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.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 5

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

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-C3.1:Time, space, and energy phenomena can be observed at various scales using models to study systems that are too large or too small.

MS-C5.3:Energy may take different forms (e.g. energy in fields, thermal energy, energy of motion).

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.

Science and Engineering Practices: 6

Developing and Using Models, Planning and Carrying Out Investigations, Analyzing and Interpreting Data, Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking, Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions, Asking Questions and Defining Problems

MS-P1.3:Ask questions to determine relationships between independent and dependent variables and relationships in models.

MS-P2.5:Develop and/or use a model to predict and/or describe phenomena.

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-P4.2:Use graphical displays (e.g., maps, charts, graphs, and/or tables) of large data sets to identify temporal and spatial relationships.

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.

High School

Performance Expectations: 1

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.

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 1

HS-ESS3.D1:Though the magnitudes of human impacts are greater than they have ever been, so too are human abilities to model, predict, and manage current and future impacts.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 4

Cause and effect, Systems and System Models, Energy and Matter, Stability and Change

HS-C2.1:Empirical evidence is required to differentiate between cause and correlation and make claims about specific causes and effects.

HS-C4.2:When investigating or describing a system, the boundaries and initial conditions of the system need to be defined and their inputs and outputs analyzed and described using models.

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.

Science and Engineering Practices: 8

Asking Questions and Defining Problems, Developing and Using Models, Planning and Carrying Out Investigations, Analyzing and Interpreting Data, Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking, Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions, Engaging in Argument from Evidence, Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

HS-P1.1:Ask questions that arise from careful observation of phenomena, or unexpected results, to clarify and/or seek additional information.

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-P3.1: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-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-P7.2:Evaluate the claims, evidence, and/or reasoning behind currently accepted explanations or solutions to determine the merits of arguments.

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).

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