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Students will learn to use weather data to plan outdoor activities.
Utah’s weather is never boring! Our state has just experienced a six year drought, and recently several weather disasters, including severe flooding in the St. George region. While the whole state is temperate in nature, we have eight different USDA plant hardiness zones. There are technically four climatic regions; Desert, Steppe (Semiarid), Humid Continental-Hot Summer, and Undifferentiated Highlands. This indicates great variation in annual high and low temperatures across the state. Because weather mainly moves from west to east in the United States, the presence of the Sierra Nevada Mountains on the border of California and Nevada helps to create the desert environments of the Great Basin.
Planning outdoor activities can be a challenge in Utah. While precipitation may not be a problem in many months, the potential for high summer temperatures and freezing winters in many Utah regions makes “comfortable” outdoor days limited. We do not experience the frigid, wet cold of the central United States, or constant extreme heat of more southern states.
Weather is just one subject area where it is important to use data charts and graphs. Being able to interpret data from graphic organizers can be crucial to everyday life, like planning outdoor recreation. Data appears frequently in newspapers, magazines, brochures, and on Web pages as charts and graphs. The following activity allows students to use data for real-life purposes.
5. Make mathematical connections.
6. Represent mathematical situations.
Invitation to Learn
Show the overhead of The Man in the Bathtub. Ask the students if they can tell a story about the water level in the bathtub by reading the graph. Have them share ideas with the class or as partners. Encourage them to use the XY coordinate plane.
During another session, tell the students that they will be working as a class to display all the data on one big graph—a bar graph using pictographs.
Heidorn, P.B. (1999). Image Retrieval as Linguistic and Nonlinguistic Visual Model Matching. Library Trends, 48(2), 303-325.
The article reviews the research on how people use models of images in an information retrieval environment. It 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. Some images are content-based, while others are concept-based.
The Institute for the Advancement of Research in Education. (2003). Graphic Organizers: A Review of Scientifically Based Research. URL: http://email@example.com
The report is a complete review of 29 research studies about the effectiveness of graphic organizers. Studies were carefully selected by meeting the institute’s criteria for scientifically-based research as defined by the No Child Left Behind Act. In the section about the use of graphic organizers for thinking and learning skill, researchers found that students scored higher on tests, retained and transferred learning, and improved critical thinking skills, with the use of graphic organizers. In a section about other classroom work, researches concluded that problem solving, performance, comprehension and retention of learning were all enhanced by the use of graphic organizers.