Students organize and then examine data that has been collected over a period of time in a spreadsheet.
Have students collect data related to
the weather in their city. Organize and archive the data collected over
a period of time in a spreadsheet. A sample spreadsheet appears below.
Add data (real data from your area or made-up data for this exploration)
and see how the "summary data" change. What do the summary data tell
you? After collecting data for a month, explore and develop answers for
questions such as, What was our weather like in January? How would we
describe January weather in our town to a visitor? What was the
temperature generally like this month? How much rainfall did we get?
How to Use the Interactive FigureSpreadsheet
students gather data over several months, they should compare data
sets. For example, which was the colder month—this month or last month?
On what basis could such a decision be made? Are there ways to graph the
data to enable comparisons?
Students might be interested
in accessing data for prior years and comparing their data with data
for the same month over several years. Is the January weather generally
the same during these years? Were temperatures and rainfall similar in
other Januarys? How much do the temperature and rainfall vary? Is it
pretty much the same every year? Students also may become interested in
comparing data from their own locale to data from other areas—perhaps
places that students have visited or where their friends or relatives
are living. Comparisons of data from different cities or regions, of
data from coastal communities and inland communities, or of weather in
different hemispheres are all possible extensions.A variety of
websites contain large databases (census data, educational statistics,
athletic statistics, etc.). Find and explore some of these databases.
Download interesting data into a spreadsheet for additional study.
can collect weather data by checking the local paper, watching a daily
televised weather report, getting the information from a Web site, or
monitoring various aspects of the weather themselves. Archiving data in a
spreadsheet allows students to add new types of data as they become
interested in other aspects of the weather. For example, in the Boston
area, students might realize that in the winter, the temperature alone
does not give them enough information to fully describe the weather.
Wind chill is a measure that gives a better sense of how cold it
actually feels, so they might decide to add this measure to their chart.
They might also realize that simply listing the amount of precipitation
does not tell them in what form the precipitation fell—rain, snow,
hail, or sleet. They might decide to add another column to keep track of
this information. A spreadsheet provides maximum flexibility for
current and future explorations.
Take Time to Reflect
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