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Precipitation Towers: Modeling Weather Data

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

In this activity students use stacking cubes to graph precipitation data.

This learning activity takes one 45 min class period

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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

  • Good introduction to graphing and precipitation using hands-on lego stacking.

About the Content

  • In this activity students use stacking cubes as a way to graph precipitation data, comparing the precipitation averages and seasonal patterns for several locations.
  • This is a good introduction to the topic of precipitation, with well rounded background information.
  • Data management and graphing are taught throughout the lesson.
  • The weather data is credible, and the activity uses real world data.

About the Pedagogy

  • In this activity, students use precipitation data to make "graphs" using stacking cubes such as legos. The instructions include variations for different ability levels for this activity, including allowing students to gather the data themselves vs. providing simplified data.
  • Discussion prompts allow students to consider the impacts of precipitation and explore patterns in the data. Potential extension activities are provided and learners can engage in multiple different learning styles.
  • This is a strong activity to discuss precipitation and have students engage in graphing practice. The graphing activity with 3D graphs made of easily accessible materials (legos, stacking blocks) makes this activity engaging and hands-on.
  • This could work for all age ranges listed (K-5). Multiple activity sheets split up the lesson into beginner, intermediate, and advanced.
  • Extension videos could be helpful to demonstrate global precipitation.
  • Time invested by the teacher is minimal for activity to run.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Data sheets are accessible with useful information, and teachers can create an extension for more advanced students/age groups to find more precipitation data.
  • Students will need internet access for data collection, but this activity can be completed without internet for the class.
  • Activity is useable, accessible and well thought out.
Entered the Collection: September 2023 Last Reviewed: June 2023

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