Students will use glyphs as a way to visually represent information about Utah weather.
- Large topographic Utah
- Weather Detectives, by Mark Eubanks; ISBN 1-58685-412-7
- Agriculture in the Classroom has many
lessons that correlate with the
core. They send a seasonal newsletter that includes new lessons to
anyone who registers., www.agclassroom.org/ut
Background for Teachers
Utah’s climate is variable. In the southwestern regions crops like
cotton can be grown, while in the higher elevations of northern Utah,
only grasses and cereal grains are cultivated. We experience almost
every weather phenomena with the exception of hurricanes. The climate
in the most populated parts of the state is generally temperate, with
daytime temperatures that are warm and not too hot in the summer.
Winter temperatures are cold but seldom extreme. Snowfall in the valleys
does not accumulate extensively, while in the mountains snow builds to
great depths, providing water for domestic use. Most of Utah is
considered a desert with less than 10 inches of precipitation a year, while
the mountainous regions receive significantly more.
The Great Basin is a region between rivers and lakes that is bordered
on the west by the Sierra Nevada and the Cascade Mountain Ranges and
on the east by the middle Rocky Mountains and the Colorado Plateau.
The basin encompasses most of the state of Nevada, while Utah is
dominated by the Wasatch Mountains and the Colorado Plateaus of the
central portion of the state. The Great Basin is cut off from the westerly
flow of Pacific moisture by the Sierra and Cascade Mountains. As the
moist air masses from the ocean move west, they cool and lose much of
their precipitation before they cross Nevada. As a result, Nevada is the
driest state in the nation. The dry steppe climate is typical of large basins,
where the potential for evaporation exceeds precipitation throughout the
Utah’s distinct geography defines its unique climate. Utah is the
second driest state. By the time the air masses reach the Basin’s eastern
edge they get another lift, creating extra moisture and highland climates
that support Utah’s most populous region along the Wasatch Front. High-level,
low pressure systems affecting our state’s weather in the spring
fall are often referred to as “Great Basin” or “Nevada” lows.
bring the most significant amounts of precipitation every year.
Glyphs are a way to pictorially represent information. These
nonverbal representations help students collect and interpret data in a
visual format. The idea of glyphs comes from ancient hieroglyphics.
They bring a creative and fun method to data collection and analysis into
This activity uses glyphs as a way to visually represent information
about Utah weather.
Modified and used with permission of Utah Agriculture in the Classroom, Utah
State University, [online] www.agclassroom.org/ut.
Intended Learning Outcomes
5. Make mathematical connections.
6. Represent mathematical situations.
Invitation to Learn
Ask students to draw a picture of themselves enjoying an outdoor
activity in July and in January. “How will I know which picture is
January and which picture is July?” Share and discuss with the class
possible indicators of these seasons. Clarify any confusion that may exist.
Invite individual students to share their drawings.
This activity requires advanced preparation. The day before you
make the glyphs with your students, complete the first step of this
- Using the Utah Weather Map, invite the students to select a
specific city from across the state. You may choose to assign
these locations to assure that a statewide representation is
available for analysis. You may also wish to print a
transparency of the Utah Weather Map for use on an overhead
- Glyphs (symbols used to convey meaning) are easy to create
and help students with step-by-step process skills. To introduce
glyph-making use an overhead projector and model what you
want students to do. Post the selected glyph shape for students
to see. Read aloud each survey question, adding your own
picture detail to the glyph shape after each question. Seeing the
glyph being made will help students understand the
construction process. After students have heard all the survey
questions and watched you use your answers to create a glyph,
they will be ready to begin their own glyphs.
- Provide each student a copy
of the Utah Weather Glyph worksheet and each pair of students
Weather Map. Post
the Weather Glyph Questionstransparency on an overhead
- Review the background information with the students. You may
wish to emphasize that this activity will allow them to see the
differences in the types of weather throughout the state.
- Have the students
cut out the pattern following the directions on
the Weather Glyph Questions transparency. Students should check
with the teacher before cutting the line for the size of the sun in
question one. It is recommended that students use a black marker
to add the glyphs for average January temperature.
- Invite students to add
the remaining details to their glyphs to
show their answers to the questions. Students can also personalize
their glyph if it does not interfere with the interpretation of the
- Once the glyphs are complete, have the students display them in a
central location. Ask them to describe how these glyphs could be
sorted to collect the data from them. You may choose to write
these suggestions on a chalk or white board. As an extension,
students can create displays using their own ideas.
- Display the Utah Weather
Map on the overhead projector. Have
the students organize the glyphs by their locations on the map and
tape them to the wall.
- Review the Weather Glyph Questions with students
them verbally describe what information is available from the
glyphs to provide an overview of Utah weather patterns. Ask the
students to describe what physical geographic features may be
influencing the climate at various locations.
- Using another wall (or white
board), form a basic outline for a bar
graph. Ask the students to organize the cities with a 50-60° range
in high and low temperature in one bar, those with 61-70° ranges
on the second bar, and those locations with 71° or higher degree
ranges in high and low temperatures in the third bar.
- Ask the following
questions: What similarities do they notice
about the cities that are in the same category? Does the geography
of the locations determine the climate? Does the weather define
what kinds of jobs are available in that community? Why would
someone consider the weather of a particular area when deciding
to start a business or move their business to a new area?
- Ask students
to determine if their city’s climate would encourage
or discourage them from certain types of agriculture and
activities. Why would it be possible to grow apples in some parts
of Utah, but not others? What types of risks do farmers face with
regard to the weather? What things can farmers do to work with the weather?
Can you ski everywhere in Utah? How about hiking
in March? How does the weather affect our daily choices about
activity? How does it affect wildlife? Record these answers on a
chart in a journal.
- Relate to students the importance of determining the
before planting a garden or crop, raising livestock, planning
outdoor activities, and dressing.
- Have pairs of students present their
glyph information in another
graphical form not previously shown, such as a pie chart or line
graph or pictograph.
- Place the glyphs in a
basket. Ask each student to select one glyph
from the basket, and using the data from the glyph, list the items
s/he would pack if traveling to that city today. What activities
would s/he be able to do? For example, if the weather is 50°F
(10° C) and rainy, a student might list a jacket, blue jeans, a
sweatshirt, and an umbrella. S/he may suggest indoor activities. If
it’s 80°F (27°C) and sunny, the list might include shorts,
a tennis racket, and a bathing suit, and going for a swim. Remind
students to consider the daytime and evening temperatures when
packing for their trips.
- Ask students to gather data about the city
they live in for a oneweek
period of time. They may use the Weather Data Analysis and Data
Charts for Weather Forecasting handouts to record their
data. Challenge them to create line graphs using their data.
- Invite students
to research weather conditions for cities in other
parts of the world. Have them create glyphs for these cities, and
then list what types of advantages and disadvantages that area
may have if they were trying to grow a crop or raise livestock.
can create displays with the glyphs using their own ideas
about graphing and charting.
Students create a chart in which
they draw their own glyphs for
the day’s weather over a week. Then record how the weather
affected their choices for after school activities and how it may
have affected their family in any way. Students can find weather
information on the television news, computer, or newspaper.
Heidorn,P.B. (1999). Image Retrieval as Linguistic and Nonlinguistic Visual
Model Matching. Library Trends, 48(2), pp.303-325.
The article reviews the research on how people use models of images
in an information retrieval environment. The article describes the human
use of images (nonverbal representations) as predating human language
and explains that language evolved out of a need to communicate about
the world. Verbal language is limited in that it is dependant on a shared
experience or shared vocabulary. Some aspects of our mental models are
not easily described using words. For example, our brains perceive millions
of color indexes and we only have relatively few color names.
Some iconic representations are simple and some can be more complex.
Our mental models have many aspects including color and shape. These
images can be more complex than verbal representations. Some images
are content- based, while others are concept-based. It has been suggested
that nonlinguistic representations may be used in conjunction with
linguistic representations as determined by the task.