GLOBE Earth Systems Poster and My NASA Data

Contributor
The GLOBE Program: Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Activity , Data , Instructor Guide/Manual , Lesson/Lesson Plan , Map , Model
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

Using My NASA Data to generate maps of precipitation and surface temperature, students can represent weather data in a way that shows global patterns during different times of the year.  Students can use the website to create their maps and use the images to describe patterns of weather conditions through the year in locations around the world.

The GLOBE Earth Systems Poster has 36 global images.  There are six mages for each of the following variables – insolation (amount of solar radiation reaching Earth’s surface), surface temperature, cloud fraction (amount of cloud cover), precipitation, aerosol optical thickness (tiny solid and liquid particles suspended in the atmosphere) and biosphere (ocean: chlorophyll concentration and land: vegetation).  Each of the six images represents a month of the year – January, March, May, July, September, and November. The most recent downloadable poster is 2007; however, more recent years’ images can be created using the My NASA Data website.  There is a Learning Activities packet that accompanies the poster that provides an overview, instructions for 5 learning activities, 3 assessment activities, 2 extension activities and an appendix. 

Intended Audience

Educator and learner
Educational Level
  • Middle School
  • Upper Elementary
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

3-ESS2-2 Obtain and combine information to describe climates in different regions of the world.

Clarification Statement: none

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this performance expectation, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
The Earth Systems Poster provides images that display representations of six different variables including surface temperature and precipitation. If using the My NASA Data website to generate images from several years, this information can be combined and used to describe climates in different locations around the world (as the map images are global).

3-ESS2-1 Represent data in tables and graphical displays to describe typical weather conditions expected during a particular season.

Clarification Statement: Examples of data could include average temperature, precipitation, and wind direction.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment of graphical displays is limited to pictographs and bar graphs. Assessment does not include climate change.

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this performance expectation, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Using My NASA Data to generate maps of precipitation and surface temperature allows students to represent weather data in a way that shows global patterns during different times of the year. Students can use the website to create their maps and use the images to describe patterns of weather conditions through the year in locations around the world. They can generate maps for several different years to show patterns across years leading to a study of climate. Go to this link: https://mynasadata-las.larc.nasa.gov/EarthSystemLAS/UI.vm If you click on the “LAS” (Live Access Server) under one of the images, it will take you to the My NASA Data Live Access Server. On that page, you can update the year and month, and change the dataset. Make sure you update the plot (it will be in red in the upper left corner). Then you can right click on the map and save the image to use.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Using My NASA Data to generate maps of precipitation and surface temperature allows students to represent weather data in a way that shows global patterns during different times of the year. In teaching students to use the website to create their maps, they are developing models that are then used describe patterns of weather conditions through the year in locations around the world.

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Students use the generated map images or maps on the poster and logical reasoning to make sense of global weather conditions throughout the year. Using multiple years of generated maps leads to an understanding that climate is a composition of day-to-day weather over a longer period of time. In Activity 1, groups of students are each given one month’s image of one variable. At the 3rd grade level, this could be limited to the variables of surface temperature and precipitation. They are directed to report their observations including any patterns noticed. Activity 2 extends this observation to the entire year. In Activity 3, two groups with different variables come together to look for relationships between their images. At this level, it may be easiest to use surface temperature or precipitation with biosphere. If possible and students are able, in Activity 4, use all three variables together – surface temperature, precipitation and biosphere, instead of all six. Students can analyze for relationships between them over the year and share their observations with the class.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
The map images are a model of recorded weather over many months and years. With these records, future weather can be predicted. The activities ask students to analyze the images and to look for relationships, but they do not ask students to predict future weather. To more fully address this core idea, students could be asked to make broad predictions, such as what temperatures they would expect in South Africa in July, or how much precipitation they would expect in their own location in a given month.

This resource was not designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Students would need to use My NASA Data to look at weather data over several years to build understanding of this disciplinary core idea element.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
When students are completing Activities 3, 4 & 5, they are exploring the relationships between the variables. The idea of cause and effect will be a natural discussion point for their observations, particularly when comparing biosphere with surface temperature and precipitation.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: The Learning Activities Packet provides activities that, when modified for use with 3rd graders, utilize all three dimensions in instruction. The elements of the practices, disciplinary core ideas and crosscutting concepts are integrated in instruction so that students can explain phenomena around weather and climate.

  • Instructional Supports: The Learning Activities packet that accompanies the poster provides an overview, instructions for 5 learning activities, 3 assessment activities, 2 extension activities and an appendix. The extension activities would not be appropriate at the 3rd grade level. The learning activities and the assessment activities would likely need to be modified to fits the needs and abilities of the 3rd grade classroom. For example, a teacher might not use all six variables in the activities. Depending on the purpose or focus, it might be best to use only one or two variables at a time. Insolation and aerosol optical thickness might not be used at all at this level.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: The Learning Activities packet does not have any provision for measuring student progress. A teacher would need to consider how they will monitor student progress and what formative and/or summative methods of assessment would be used.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: The teacher will need to practice using the My NASA Data website to assist students. The GLOBE Poster site provides the url for the My NASA Data site. It should be noted that there are no instructions for using the My NASA Data site to create the map images in the Learning Activities packet.