Lesson Plans

Data Literacy Cube: Beginner Map Data Using Seasonal Vegetation Mapped Images

Data Literacy Cube:  Beginner Map Data


Use the My NASA Data Cubes to guide students’ exploration of mapped data of the Earth System to enrich their observations and inferences.  This is a flexible resource that may be used with a variety of mapped images.  This activity requires a map of Earth data for students to evaluate.

For the purposes of this lesson, students will analyze Global Atmospheric Temperature Anomaly Data.

Learning Objectives

  • observe and interpret physical characteristics of the Earth System using maps of NASA data
  • analyze how the phenomena changes of time and space
  • brainstorm the phenomena connects to other parts of the Earth System
  • identify patterns and relationships in data

Essential Questions

  • How is the data represented in the model? 
  • How do we identify a change in these data?
  • Where on Earth are these data collected from?
  • When were these data collected?
  • What areas have high and low values?  Why?
  • What other questions do you have about the map?

Materials Required

  • 1 Cube per group/student
  • 1 matching Cube Question Sheet
  • 1 sheet of paper per student
  • Pencil
  • *Dataset: 
  • *MND offers a variety of Earth System maps to integrate with this Data Cube tool.  Check out the Maps & Data sections to locate.  To access and download mapped data, visit the MND Data Visualization Tool, Earth System Data Explorer

  • Teacher Preparation:  

    • Print copies of the cube on cardstock and cut out.  Assemble the cube with glue. Note: consider laminating after you cut these out for multiple uses.  Also, print off copies of the Cube Questions. Distribute to students for group or independent work

Background Information

For more information about the procedures for accessing MND data on the Earth System Data Explorer, visit our YouTube page and watch the tutorials.


  1. Distribute one cube per group, as well as the related Cube Questions sheet, and mapped images.
  2. Students roll the cube and find the matching question on the Cube Question sheet. 
  3. Answer one question found under matching question on a sheet of paper, labeling the question with the number and letter of the question.  See example below, 5.A.
  4. Repeat Steps 2-4 until at least 10 are answered.