Ed Hawkins, Institute for Environmental Analytics
Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»
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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy |
- Teachers should use the FAQ page to gain a better understanding of the graphics and what they could be used for in the classroom.
- Discussion of the tool and underlying data is limited to a few sentences in the FAQ section, which includes references and links to the underlying datasets.
- Without a legend (quantitative color scale) or the ability to view dates, it would be challenging to use the graphs further. The underlying data cannot be exported for each graphic.
- The graphic needs some interpretation on the front or back end from the teacher.
- The tool should be used in a fashion commensurate with the author's intent - "as simple as possible" and "to enable communication with minimal scientific knowledge required to understand their meaning".
- By exploring different countries or regions, common or global trends can be observed (e.g. warming is both local and global).
- Additional student exploration could relate trends to industrialization and human impact, and the impact of one region on others.
- If using in a middle school, it would be best to pair it with a more engaging activity.
About the Science
- This visualization depicts the change in temperature globally and by country over the past ~120 years. Each stripe represents the temperature in that country averaged over a year. For most countries, the stripes start in the year 1901 and finish in 2019. For the ocean basins and for several countries with longer datasets available the stripes start in the 19th century. For two cities (Stockholm and Vienna), the data starts in the 18th century.
- The graphs are digitally available interpretations of each year's average temperature in each country on Earth.
- Data comes from the Berkeley Earth temperature dataset, updated to the end of 2019. For some countries (USA, UK, Switzerland, Germany, France & Sweden) the data comes from the relevant national meteorological agency. This data is pulled from a static database and the data references are cited.
- From the FAQ section: For each country, the average temperature in 1971-2000 is set as the boundary between blue and red colors. The FAQ section has links to data sources and other useful contextual information.
- Comments from expert scientist:
Scientific strengths: Very visually intuitive.
About the Pedagogy
- The graphics provided are a great tool to open conversations about the warming trends across the world. Students are able to use the filters at the national or regional level around the world. The graphics are simple with no numbers or words and can be used to discuss and analyze what is observed within the stripes.
- This visualization does not provide a lesson plan or learning outcome but does provide a stepping stone for a conversation about global climate change and specific regional variations. The data is easily interpreted and should be accessible to most types of learners. As there is no suggested discussion, teachers may want to follow up with a discussion or unit about climate change action to foster empowerment rather than defeatism.