Lesson Plans

Data Literacy Cube: Map Data Using Seasonal Vegetation Mapped Images


Use the Data Literacy 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.

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 are the data represented in the model? 
  • How do we identify a change in these data?
  • Where on Earth were these data collected?
  • 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 Map Cube per group/student
  • 1 differentiated Map Cube Question Sheet per student
  • 1 sheet of paper per student
  • Pencil
  • *Dataset: 
  • *MND offers a variety of Earth System maps to integrate with the Data Literacy Cube tool.  Look for the Data Literacy Cubes - Map Image icon which indicates that activities have an appropriate map. 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.  (Gaming dice may be substituted for the cubes.) Also, print off copies of the differentiated Map Cube Questions. Distribute to students for group or independent work


  1. Distribute one Map Cube per group, as well as the differentiated Map Cube Question sheets, and mapped images.
  2. Students roll the cube and find the matching question on the Map 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.  
  4. Repeat Steps 2-4 until at least 10 are answered. 

My NASA Data - Data Literacy Cubes - Map Cube Image My NASA Data - Data Literacy Cubes - Map Cube Questions - Beginner My NASA Data - Data Literacy Cubes - Map Cube Questions - Intermediate My NASA Data - Data Literacy Cubes - Map Cube Questions - Advanced My NASA Data - Data Literacy Cubes - Map 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.