Lesson Plans

Data Literacy Cube: Global Atmospheric Temperature Anomaly Data


Use the Data Literacy Cubes to guide students’ exploration of data to enrich their observations and inferences.  This is a flexible resource that may be used with a variety of data, whether the data originates from students' investigations with personally-collected data or data that they have accessed/downloaded.  This activity requires a data table for students to evaluate.

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

Learning Objectives

  • Summarize the data
  • Research how the data was collected
  • Identify the geographic area and time range the data represent
  • Assess the data values and their characteristics
  • Analyze data values using statistics
  • Develop research questions using the data

Essential Questions

  • What are key features of these data?
  • Where do the data come from?
  • What do these data represent?
  • What patterns exist in these data?

Materials Required

*MND offers a variety of Earth System data.  To access and download tabulated data, visit the MND Data Visualization Tool, Earth System Data Explorer

Technology Requirements

  • Standalone Lesson (no technology required)
  • Internet Required
  • One-to-a-Group


  1. Distribute one Data Cube per group, as well as the differentiated question sheets, along with the data table.
  2. Students roll the cube and find the matching question on the Data Cube Question sheets. 
  3. Answer one question found under matching question on a sheet of paper, labeling the question with the number and letter of the question.  
  4. Repeat Steps 2-4 until at least 10 are answered.  

My NASA Data - Data Literacy Cube - Data CubeImage removed.My NASA Data - Data Literacy Cube - Data Cube Questions - Beginner My NASA Data - Data Literacy Cubes - Data Cube Questions - Intermediate My NASA Data - Data Literacy Cubes - Data Cube Questions - Advanced My NASA Data - Data Literacy Cubes - Data Cube Questions - ELL

Teacher 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.