Sunday, February 4, 2007

To Teachers: Graphs to Interpret the Math of Global Warming

My students are better at making graphs than they are at reading them. And the people who have brought us our state standardized test recognize the ability to interpret graphical representations of data as an essential skill: My students aren't likely to pass the high stakes high school exit exam without that ability. My students also learn better when they are actively engaged in making meaning. Understanding the science of global warming is all about being able to make meaning of graphs and to understand the relationship between variables.

This week I plan to introduce global warming with a video entitled Arctic Meltdown, Rising Seas (See resources section of "Teaching about Global Warming" in the Useful Websites section of this page). It does a great job of putting a human face and story on the issue. I'll also have them explore the Union of Concerned Scientists' "Climate Hot Map." In order to allow them to make their own meaning of the facts behind global warming, I also plan to have them read and interpret graphs that show the research behind scientific opinions about global warming. Here are some links to graphs:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/pop_ups/04/sci_nat_climate_change___evidence_and_predictions/html/1.stm

http://www.exploratorium.edu/climate/atmosphere/data3.html

http://www.ucar.edu/learn/1_4_2_20t.htm
(Middle school lesson plan. Scroll down to see graphs)

http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/science/pastcc.html

I'll likely print graphs for them to analyze in groups of four. I'll ask them to identify the dependent and independent variables, indentify trends and write a caption for their graphs. For my classes of thirty to thirty-four eighth graders, I'll need at least four good graphs. That way we can have two presentations of each graph.

You can use the links for your own research (like I will later this week) or turn students loose to follow links on this site to find their own graph. They'll probably know that all they need to do is cut and paste URLs into the address window of their browser.

5 comments:

AHM said...

THank you so much for sharing this and doing it! I will be sharing this with my 9 year old daily and have passed it on to Roosevelt Elementary here in town and the PATS program as well in hopes that they will share it with their students. It is such important information! Best of luck and stay safe.

ry55 said...

i think that this is something that should be tolled about this and i think this is just awsome that u can see whats going on in the world

MissxxNee said...

I personally find reading graphs a whole lot easier then making them; could be because I hate taking the time to number the lines and all that. But I suppose I'll have to learn eventually. I cant wait for your updates, I'll be keeping up with this, promise.

Have fun, good luck Ms. Dean!
Renee, 5th period

BMS said...

i hope that you will have a fun time when you are up there and learn more about what is really going on up there

cuzK said...

I can't wait to read of your experiences and what you see. You are an inspiration and have opened up a great dialog between myself and my kids...a dialog about global warming, Math, and going for adventures. Thanks!