Rex Roettger, NASA
Lesson takes about one to two 45-minute lesson periodsLearn 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, 6 Science and Engineering Practices
High School: 1 Performance Expectation, 2 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 9 Cross Cutting Concepts, 7 Science and Engineering Practices
About Teaching Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy
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Notes From Our Reviewers
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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy |
- Allow time to familiarize yourself with this resource before using in class.
- A set of student directions would be useful.
- Read the Teachers Notes section of this lesson plan for implementation and extension ideas.
- Use this activity to build skills in using data sets (for both instructor and students), which may then be transferred to using other data sets.
- This resource could be used to address misconceptions regarding the Gulf Stream.
About the Science
- Students use authentic data to explore the seasonal changes in sea surface temperature of the Gulf Stream.
- Data is available on NASA's Live Access Server (LAS).
- Background material is provided for the teacher.
- Comment from expert scientist: Uses a good and simple interface that allows students to interact with real data that has not been subject to previous interpretation allowing them to form their own conclusions. An individual student could base a project on this lesson plan.
About the Pedagogy
- A segment of a NOVA video is suggested to introduce/review ocean currents with students. The video uses satellite imagery to illustrate the Gulf Stream's path and animations to explain how atmospheric phenomena cause it to move. A background essay is also included that could be printed for students to read ahead of time.
- Lesson is well-organized but students would benefit from a worksheet with directions they can follow.
- Students are able to look at and analyze real data.
- Some of the questions require prior knowledge that is not covered (e.g. fisheries)
- Step-by-step instructions are provided, but are complex.
- This resource engages students in using scientific data.
See other data-rich activities
Technical Details/Ease of Use
- Lesson can be converted to a pdf file.
- Data can be accessed through NASA's live action server. A link is provided in the lesson.
- Updated Lesson Link to What Causes the Gulf Stream?
- Detailed directions for the teacher to follow are provided. No specific student directions are provided.
Related URLs These related sites were noted by our reviewers but have not been reviewed by CLEANhttp://mynasadata.larc.nasa.gov/
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: 4
MS-ESS2.C1:Water continually cycles among land, ocean, and atmosphere via transpiration, evaporation, condensation and crystallization, and precipitation, as well as downhill flows on land.
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.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.
Cross Cutting Concepts: 6
MS-C2.2:Cause and effect relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural or designed systems.
MS-C3.5:Phenomena that can be observed at one scale may not be observable at another scale.
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-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-C7.3:Stability might be disturbed either by sudden events or gradual changes that accumulate over time.
Science and Engineering Practices: 6
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-P5.1: Use digital tools (e.g., computers) to analyze very large data sets for patterns and trends.
MS-P5.2:Use mathematical representations to describe and/or support scientific conclusions and design solutions
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-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: 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: 2
HS-ESS2.C1:The abundance of liquid water on Earth’s surface and its unique combination of physical and chemical properties are central to the planet’s dynamics. These properties include water’s exceptional capacity to absorb, store, and release large amounts of energy, transmit sunlight, expand upon freezing, dissolve and transport materials, and lower the viscosities and melting points of rocks.
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: 9
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-C3.2: Some systems can only be studied indirectly as they are too small, too large, too fast, or too slow to observe directly.
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-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-C5.4: Energy drives the cycling of matter within and between systems.
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: 7
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-P4.3:Consider limitations of data analysis (e.g., measurement error, sample selection) when analyzing and interpreting data
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-P5.5:Apply ratios, rates, percentages, and unit conversions in the context of complicated measurement problems involving quantities with derived or compound units (such as mg/mL, kg/m3, acre-feet, etc.).
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.