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GLOBE: From Weather to Climate - Looking at Air Temperature Data

The Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment Program, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Students will work with short-term and long-term air temperature data in order to better understand the differences between weather and climate.

These activities take a minimum of two 50 minute class periods.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

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

  • The earlier activities would be more appropriate for upper elementary, but most of the activities are more appropriate for middle and high school levels. It is also likely that these activities will take younger students more time to go through, so more than two class periods would be recommended for younger students.
  • Note that the resource is very comprehensive but also long (30+ pages), so it will take the instructor some time to read through this lesson. Reviewers recommend reading and teaching in parts and not all at once.
  • The last activity involves the use of a plug-in for Google Earth to look at long-term data sets, this plug-in may not be available, although the data can be found here. Reviewers recommend that the instructor tries this activity out ahead of time so they can assist students with questions.
  • This resource is geared for middle and high school and intro college. An upper elementary teacher can select Activity 1 but likely no further. At the discretion of the teacher, they may pick sections that are appropriate for the level represented and add activities as extensions.

About the Content

  • In this lesson, students learn what it means to understand and analyze climate data (as opposed to weather data).
  • Students interpret graphs and look for patterns across multiple time periods (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly) and locations (local, regional, latitudinal, etc.).
  • Students also learn about various ways data and graphs can be interpreted and analyzed, by looking at how averages can be calculated differently, and how other statistics (such as temperature ranges) can be used to interpret and analyze data.
  • It clarifies the misconception between weather and climate.
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

About the Pedagogy

  • This resource emphasizes quantitative skills.
  • This lesson will appeal to visual learners and those students who enjoy math and data interpretation, though it may be a bit overwhelming or will need to be broken up into multiple lessons for other learners.
  • It would be an excellent set of activities for a math class as well as a science class, in that it shows real-world application of how averages are used and how data is interpreted.
  • The lesson includes excellent critical-thinking questions that encourage students to interpret the graphs on their own and formulate their own conclusions.
  • The lesson is really well scaffolded, starting with simpler data sets and moving to more complex data sets.
  • This set of activities is an excellent way to demonstrate how climate scientists interpret the data and make conclusions about the climate patterns they are observing.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Student worksheets are provided so the instructor does not need to create these, though no assessment rubric is provided.
  • Plug-in for Google Earth link is broken.
Entered the Collection: August 2020 Last Reviewed: June 2020

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