Sandra Kolb, on leave from Central Kitsap School District, Silverdale, Washington (2000/2001 TEArctic) Rick Griffith, Fairview Junior High, Central Kitsap School District, Silverdale, Washington
Engagement and Exploration (Student Inquiry Activity
On the first day, ask the students to record the temperature and other information they find interesting. Have the students acquire and record the local temperature from either the Internet or a school temperature station.
As a class, have each group share the Antarctic station they have chosen and the temperature for that day. Is the weather cold? Warm? Windy? Rainy Snowy? How does it compare to the local weather? Is the weather at all the Antarctic stations the same? What is the range of temperatures? Of Wind? Do the students think the weather will change over the next several days/weeks in Antarctica? At home? How much?
In what units are the temperature data presented? Most of the Antarctic temperature data are presented in Celsius. Often local data are presented in Fahrenheit. Guide students through the conversion of Celsius to Fahrenheit and Fahrenheit to Celsius. Help them to estimate the difference as a quick way to check their calculations. Students will need to record both Celsius and Fahrenheit in their temperature logs. How will the students organize their data as they collect it? What do they need to record (date, Antarctic temperature in Celsius and Fahrenheit, local temperature in Celsius and Fahrenheit, Antarctic and local wind and precipitation data, etc.)? Discuss the necessity for careful and neat recording and for keeping records in a safe place.
Does the class get a good "picture" of what is happening? Probably not. Looking at data in a table does not show the changes effectively and talking about the trends loses even more details.
Can the students think of a better way to show the data? How are temperatures often shown? Suggest that a graph might be the best way to show the temperature changes. What kind of information is shown on a graph? Show the students graphs of histograms, x-y plots, and pie charts. Which might be best for temperature? As a class, discuss the attributes of each graph.
Provide the students with graph paper. In their groups, ask the students to show the local temperature changes as a graph. What information should the students show on their graphs (time and temperature)? How will they want to show their data?
Continue the class with students working in groups, but lead a discussion for the class. On an overhead, work through graphing the local data (Celsius) as a histogram with the students. What is the x axis? What data get plotted on this axis? What is the y axis? What data get plotted on this axis? What about scale? How long should their axis be? What values of the temperature did the students record? What number of days? What divisions should they make? What about a title?
Have the groups graph the local temperature data as the facilitator creates the graph on the overhead. Plot the data on the graph.
Ask the student groups to plot their temperature data from Antarctica. Remind them that they may wish to compare their Antarctic data with their local data. They may wish to compare data with other student groups. Should all groups use the same type of data (Celsius or Fahrenheit)? How about similar scales? As a class, determine the scale and data types to use.
When all the groups are finished, have the groups exchange plots and interpret another group's plot.
Ask the students to graph the local wind directional data. What kind of a graph might be appropriate? The students can show the data as a line graph or as a histogram. Often wind direction is plotted as a pie chart (modified; rose diagram). With the students working in groups, guide them through the creation of the pie chart as a class. Ask the student to count the number of times the wind is from the northeast, northwest, southeast, and southwest. The data will not fall into these categories in every situation. The students may have to make some decisions. The pie chart should be divided into a number of pieces equal to the number of observations the students recorded. Students need to color the number of pieces that correspond to northeast wind readings one color, southeast readings another, etc. Have the students plot their Antarctic wind data on a pie chart. Ask the students to exchange their charts with another group and have each group interpret the other's plot.
Ask each student group to select another Antarctic data set to graph (e.g., precipitation, wind speed) and allow time for their work. Circulate among the groups to assist as necessary.
Elaboration (Polar Applications)
This activity can be extended to include discussion of: o Weather trends related to seasonal changes the "opposite" seasons experienced by the Northern and Southern hemispheres at the same time of year o The "severity" of the winter and summer at the poles, relative to the milder seasonal changes of the lower latitudes