Maps, Graphs, and Data

Global Temperatures Graph

Global land-ocean temperature index

This graph illustrates the change in global surface temperature relative to 1951-1980 average temperatures. Seventeen of the 18 warmest years in the 136-year record all have occurred since 2001, with the exception of 1998. The year 2016 ranks as the warmest on record. (Source: NASA/GISS). This research is broadly consistent with similar constructions prepared by the Climatic Research Unit and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Mini Lesson

Analyzing Air Temperature Graphs

Goal:  Use the Data Literacy Cubes to guide students’ exploration of graphs, maps, and datasets to enrich their observations and inferences.


  • 1 Graph Cube per group/student
  • 1 differentiated Graph Cube Question Sheet per group/student
  • 1 sheet of paper per student
  • Pencil

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 cube.) Also, print off copies of the differentiated Graph Cube Questions. Distribute to students for group or independent work.

1. Distribute one Graph Cube per group, as well as the differentiated Graph Cube Question sheets.
2. Students roll the cube and find the matching question on the Graph Cube Question sheet. E.g., “Assess the data values.”
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 - Graph Cube Image