Cynthia M. Fadem, InTeGrate; SERC
Activity takes about 30-40 minutes.Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»
See how this Activity supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
High School: 3 Cross Cutting Concepts, 4 Science and Engineering Practices
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing 2b
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Other materials addressing 5b
2.4 Water stores and transfers energy.
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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy |
- This activity is part of a larger sequence that examines ENSO and ocean-atmosphere behavior. Each component can stand alone or be combined with other activities https://serc.carleton.edu/integrate/teaching_materials/climate_change/unit3.html
- Teaching notes and tips are included in the activity overview.
About the Science
- In this activity, El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is explored through actual ocean surface temperature data, utilizing a time series of sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly maps to create an ENSO timeline.
- References and resources from NOAA, NASA, etc. provide valuable background information in understanding the activity topic.
- Comments from expert scientist:
- Use of real, oceanographic data and maps
- Plotting recurrence intervals
- Addressing the difference between a regular SST plot and an SST anomaly plot
- Only using SST instead of introducing more factors as part of ENSO
- I think there needs to be a bit more of introduction of what conditions define an El Nino vs. what conditions define La Nina (if used as a stand-alone activity)
About the Pedagogy
- This activity assumes prior knowledge of El Niño and ENSO (background materials and related learning materials are linked from the activity), and it helps students tie together their existing knowledge while gaining a deeper understanding for the ENSO and other cycles in the climate system.
- This resource puts real data at the fingertips of the students and asks them to determine patterns from it. Some of the data can be challenging for students to interpret, but that is part of the value of the activity. Several suggestions are given for helping students work through ambiguities.
- Student resources and an instructor's guide are provided. Assessment strategies and an answer key are provided. In many cases, the answers given by students will vary considerably, so the answer guide reflects this approach.
- This resource engages students in using scientific data.
See other data-rich activities
Next Generation Science Standards See how this Activity supports:
Cross Cutting Concepts: 3
HS-C1.4:Mathematical representations are needed to identify some patterns
HS-C1.5:Empirical evidence is needed to identify patterns.
HS-C4.4:Models can be used to predict the behavior of a system, but these predictions have limited precision and reliability due to the assumptions and approximations inherent in models.
Science and Engineering Practices: 4
HS-P1.2:ask questions that arise from examining models or a theory, to clarify and/or seek additional information and relationships.
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-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-P6.1:Make a quantitative and/or qualitative claim regarding the relationship between dependent and independent variables.