Maps, Graphs, and Data

Tropical Cyclone Counts Model

Tropical Cyclone Count Thumbnail

Tropical cyclones are sometimes called hurricanes or typhoons. The image is a model of the number of tropical cyclones around the world from 1842 – 2017. It was generated in the My NASA Data Earth System Data Explorer.

Mini Lesson

Tropical Cyclone Counts Image


Use the Data Literacy Map Cubes to familiarize yourself with and interpret the model.

This is a flexible resource that may be used with a variety of mapped images.

Learning Objectives

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

Materials Required

  • Templates for Map Cubes: Map Cubes
  • 1 Cube per group/student
  • 1 matching Cube Question Sheet per student/group
  • 1 sheet of paper per student
  • Pencil or Pen
  • Tropical Cyclone Maps

Teacher Preparation:

  • Print copies of the cubes, cut out and assemble with glue or tape. (Tip: For increased durability, consider printing cubes on card stock and/or laminating. Regular dice can be used as a substitute, as the cube’s sides and related questions are numbered.
  • Print off copies of the Cube Questions. The question sheets are differentiated. This can be used for grouping or for individual students.
  • Provide each student/group with the appropriate question sheet/s.
  • Provide each student/group with a copy of the Tropical Cyclone Count Map. Alternatively, the map can be displayed for the entire class.


  1. Distribute one cube per group, as well as the related Cube Questions sheet/s, and mapped image.

  2. Students roll the cube and find the matching question/number on the Cube Question sheet. They are numbered for easy matching. Answer one sub-question found under matching main question on a sheet of paper, labeling the question with the number and letter of the question.

  3. Repeat Steps 2-3 until at least 10 are answered. NOTE: Question 5.B does not pertain to this particular map. Advise students to skip it and roll again if necessary.

Map Data Cube and Question Sheet Image