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Download Extreme Temps

Download Weather Web Guide

Extreme Weather Statistics


Summary
Build students' data analysis skills with a real-world phenomenon that students will find fascinating: daily extreme temperatures around the United States.

Grade Level(s)
6-9

Curriculum Area
Math

Time Required
1 class period per activity (each activity can be done independently)

Standards Connections
Objectives
Materials/Resources Needed
Teacher Preparation
Introducing the Lesson
Student Activities
Wrap-Up Activity
Extension Activity

Standards Connections
  • National Standards:
    • Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (NCTM)/Standard X: Data Analysis and Probability
  • State Standards:
    • Mathematics Content Standards for California Public Schools/Grades 6-7: Statistics, Data Analysis and Probability; Grades 8-9: Probability and Statistics
    • See www.explorasource.com for more state standards connections.
  • District Standards (fill in your own)
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Objectives
Students will:
  • Accurately collect, use, and analyze real-world weather data.
  • Create graphical representations of the data in the form of a chart (histogram, line graph, etc.).
  • Draw conclusions from the charted weather data and communicate these clearly and effectively.
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Materials/Resources Needed
Electronic handouts:
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Teacher Preparation
  1. Review the electronic handout for your chosen activity and revise or adapt for your class, if needed.
  2. Check out the websites listed in the Weather Web Guide and add local weather sources, if possible.
  3. Beam the handouts to the first two students as they come through the door. Each student can beam the worksheet to two more students until everyone has the assignment on the handheld.
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Introducing the Lesson
  1. Remind your students about the severe weather conditions many parts of the country have been experiencing in winter 2000-2001. Ask them to guess what the coldest temperature might have been during January, and where that temperature might have been recorded. Repeat for the highest temperature.
  2. Tell students that they will now explore extreme weather from a mathematical point of view, exercising their data analysis skills to "crunch the numbers" and uncover important patterns they reveal.
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Student Activities
Activity 1: Review the Data

Grouping: Individual
Materials: Extreme Temps file
  1. Have students open the Extreme Temps workbook on their handheld computer, and choose the tab at the bottom called USATodayData.
  2. Explain that USA Today newspaper, as part of its weather coverage on the Internet, provides an archive of daily extreme temperatures (http://cgi1.usatoday.com/weather/wext0.htm). The temperatures shown here were extracted from the archive for January 1-14, 2001.
  3. Discuss the data on this sheet. How close did students' earlier guesses come? What other patterns do they notice in the data? (For example, they might see that while the true extremes seem to be in Alaska and Hawaii, the locations of the extremes for the contiguous 48 states are more diverse.)
Activity 2: Chart the Extremes
Grouping: Individual
Materials: Extreme Temps file, Weather Web Guide
  1. Now have students select the Chart sheet in the Extreme Temps workbook, and read the instructions there. Explain that students should decide how to construct their own charts, what data to use, and so on-as long as the chart reveals something significant about the data.
  2. Point out the Extra Credit challenge, which invites students to integrate local weather data from the same time period into their charts. They will need to track down and select this data themselves (though you may provide some helpful Internet links from the Weather Web Guide).
  3. Before they begin working, suggest that students also review the Evaluation sheet, where they will assess their own work when complete. Explain that you will also be assessing their work on this same scale.
  4. Give students most of a class period to construct their charts, calling on you or a peer for help as needed. Have them save their work under a unique filename, such as ExtremeTemps-[StudentName].
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Wrap-Up and Evaluation
Grouping: Whole Class
Materials: Results from Activity 2
  1. After students have completed their charts but before they've done their self-evaluation, call on several volunteers to share their work by beaming it to classmates and discussing the designs.
  2. Ask students what other types of weather data they might be interested in charting. Make a list of their suggestions on the board, then choose one as a homework assignment or project for the next class.
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Extension Activity
Have students assess their own work using the Evaluation sheet, then save and beam it to you for evaluation using the same rubric. If there is a great discrepancy between your assessment and the student's own, discuss these differences with the student individually.
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