GLOBE Connections

El Niño - GLOBE Learning Activities

Build Thermometer

El Niño and La Niña are important climatic phenomena that impact the climate globally causing flooding and droughts, as well as changes in seasonal weather. These learning activities will prepare students for collecting data and support integration of MND with GLOBE in your curriculum.

Building a Thermometer

Overview: Students will construct a soda-bottle thermometer, which is similar to the thermometer used by GLOBE schools. Both are based on the principle that most substances expand and contract as their temperature changes. This experiment also demonstrates the principle of heat transfer.

Student Outcomes:

  • Student will understand why and how a standard thermometer works
  • Substances expand and contract as they are heated and cooled
  • The temperature variability of a location affects the characteristics of the physical geographic system
  • Identify answerable questions
  • Design and conduct scientific investigations
  • Construct a scientific instrument
  • Develop explanations and predictions using evidence
  • Communicate results and explanations

 

Climate and Latitude - A GLOBE Data Exploration Data Literacy Cube Graph IconClimate and Latitude

Overview: Students investigate GLOBE air temperature data from five locations and deduce the origin location of each dataset after learning the relationship between distance from the equator and temperature.

Student Outcomes:

  • Match graphs of temperature data with locations given the latitude
  • Explain why they matched each graph to a particular location using knowledge that seasonal differences are larger further from the equator and temperatures are warmer near the equator
  • Weather can be described with quantitative measurements
  • Weather changes day to day and over seasons
  • Analyzing and interpreting data
  • Constructing explanations
  • Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

 

How Do Seasonal Temperature Patterns Vary Among Different Regions of the World?

 Data Literacy Cube Data Icon Data Literacy Cube Graph IconHow do Seasonal Temperature Patterns Vary Among Different Regions of the World? Data Literacy Cube Map Icon

Overview: Students use the GLOBE Student Data Archive and visualizations to display current temperatures on a map of the world. They explore the patterns in the temperature map, looking especially for differences between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, and between equatorial regions and high latitudes. Then students zoom in for a closer look at a region which has a high density of student reporting stations (such as US and Europe). They examine temperature maps for the region, from four dates during the past year (the solstices and equinoxes). Students compare and contrast the patterns in these maps, looking for seasonal patterns. At the end of the activity, students discuss the relative merits of different types of data displays: data tables, graphs and maps. 

Student Outcomes:

  • Summarize the effect of latitude, elevation, and geography on global temperature patterns
  • Explore local and regional seasonal variations
  • Heat energy is transferred by conduction, convection and radiation
  • Heat moves from warmer to colder objects
  • Sun is a major source of energy for changes on the Earth’s surface
  • Weather changes from day to day and over the seasons
  • Seasons result from variations in solar insolation resulting from the tilt of the Earth’s rotation axis
  • The sun is the major source of energy at Earth’s surface
  • Solar insolation drives atmospheric and ocean circulation
  • Sunlight is the major source of energy for ecosystems
  • Scientific Inquiry Abilities
    • Mapping data with the GLOBE Student Data Server to explore seasonal temperature patterns
    • Comparing graphs, maps and data tables as tools for data analysis
    • Develop explanations and predictions using evidence
    • Recognize and analyze alternative explanations
    • Communicate results and explanations

What Are Some Factors that Affect Seasonal Patterns?  Data Literacy Cube Graph IconFactors that Affect Seasonal Patterns

Overview: Students analyze the graph of the past year’s maximum and minimum temperatures at their site. They compare this graph to similar graphs for two other sites - one nearby and one distant. They list factors that might cause the patterns to be different, and select one to investigate in depth. They repeat this process with other parameters. Students summarize their investigations by describing how latitude, geography and elevation influence seasonal patterns.

Student Outcomes:

  • Interpret a graph of annual temperature data
  • Identify factors that account for temperature pattern differences
  • Compare temperature patterns on a regional basis
  • Heat energy is transferred by conduction, convection and radiation
  • Heat moves from warmer to colder objects
  • Sun is a major source of energy for changes on Earth’s surface
  • Weather changes from day to day and over the seasons
  • Seasons result from variations in solar insolation resulting from the tilt of the Earth’s rotation axis
  • The sun is the major source of energy at Earth’s surface
  • Solar insolation drives atmospheric and ocean circulation
  • Sunlight is the major source of energy for ecosystems
  • Energy for life derives mainly from the sun
  • Living systems require a continuous input of energy to maintain their chemical and physical organizations
  • Scientific Inquiry Abilities
    • Graphing GLOBE data to show seasonal patterns
    • Comparing graphs and analyzing data to determine the effects of latitude, elevation and geographical features
    • Drawing conclusions about which factors can influence seasonal patterns
    • Generating questions and developing hypotheses Designing and conducting an investigation
    • Develop explanations and predictions using evidence
    • Recognize and analyze alternative explanations
    • Communicating conclusions to others

 

Learning to Use Visualizations Data Literacy Cube Map IconLearning to Use Visualizations

Overview: In this learning activity, students use visualizations to make sense of elevation and temperature data and to explore the relationships between the two variables. Students color in visualizations of elevation and temperature so that important patterns in the data become evident. The relationship between the two quantities is studied by using them to compute the lapse rate, the rate at which temperature falls with increasing elevation.

Student Outcomes:

  • Students identify and communicate important patterns in a dataset by drawing a visualization and begin to interpret those patterns
  • Students analyze the correlation between two variables using visualization as a tool
  • Science Concepts
    • General Visual models help us analyze and interpret data
  • Geography
    • Geographic visualizations help organize information about places, environments, and people
  • Scientific Inquiry Abilities
    • Identify answerable questions
    • Use appropriate tools and techniques
    • Use appropriate mathematics to analyze data
    • Develop and construct models using evidence
    • Communicate procedures and explanations

Getting to Know Your Satellite Imagery and GLOBE  Study Site Getting to Know Satellite Images

Overview: Students outline and label areas in their school’s Landsat TM image to create a simple land cover map. They use this map to locate areas for field study.

Student Outcomes: 

  • How to use maps (real and imaginary)
  • The physical characteristics of a place
  • The characteristics and distribution of ecosystems
  • Scientific Inquiry Abilities
    • Use maps, aerial photographs and other tools and techniques on order to create a land cover map
    • Recognize and analyze differing viewpoints on land cover classification and reach a consensus
    • Identify answerable questions
    • Design and conduct scientific investigations
    • Use appropriate mathematics to analyze data
    • Develop descriptions and predictions using evidence
    • Recognize and analyze alternative explanations
    • Communicate procedures, descriptions, and predictions

Model a Catchment Basin Model a Catchment Basin

Overview: Students will construct a 3-dimensional model of a catchment basin. They will use the model to explore catchment basins, water pathways, and manipulate the model to illustrate how catchment basins can change.

Student Outcomes:

  • Define the concept of a catchment basin and a watershed
  • Give examples of how their model relates to the real world
  • Give examples of basic concepts of catchment basins and watersheds, such as, water runs downhill, hills make divides, low-lying areas create pooling, water quality is affected by what is upstream
  • Soils have properties of color, texture and composition; they support the growth of many kinds of plants
  • Landforms are the result of destructive and constructive forces
  • Soils consist of weathered rocks and decomposed organic matter
  • Water circulates through the biosphere, lithosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere (water cycle)
  • Water is a solvent
  • Each element moves among different reservoirs (biosphere, lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere)
  • Scientific Inquiry Abilities
    • Develop descriptions and explanations using evidence
    • Communicate procedures and explanations

 

Water Walk Water Walk

Overview: Students will study and visit the Hydrosphere Study Site, conduct a visual survey to discover information about local land cover, water quality, and document their findings. They will use this initial investigation to raise questions about local land cover and/ or water chemistry issues that may require further investigation.

Student Outcomes:

  • Students will learn different methods for finding out about a study site, such as through library research, field visits, and interviews
  • Soils have properties of color, texture and composition; they support the growth of many kinds of plants
  • Landforms are the result of destructive and constructive forces
  • Soils consist of weathered rocks and decomposed organic matter
  • Water circulates through the biosphere, lithosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere (water cycle)
  • Water is a solvent
  • Each element moves among different reservoirs (biosphere, lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere)
  • Organisms can only survive in environments where their needs are met
  • Earth has many different environments that support different combinations of organisms
  • Organisms change the environment in which they live
  • Humans can change natural environments
  • All organisms must be able to obtain and use resources while living in a constantly changing environment
  • Scientific Inquiry Abilities
    • Identify answerable questions
    • Develop descriptions and explanations using evidence
    • Recognize and analyze alternative explanations
    • Communicate procedures and explanations

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