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Temperature data and Climatology

Kristine DeLong
,
Louisana State University
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Summary

Students learn what climate data is available for their area and how to access and use that data. Students will learn how to read and interpret climatological graphs.

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Context

Audience

Undergraduate Freshman/Sophomore level course in Physical Geography - the Atmosphere. Mostly non-majors.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Computer with web browser and internet connection. Basic math and statistics. Reading graphs.

How the activity is situated in the course

A weekly exercise to help students understand concepts presented in class; an online "lab" that students work on independently.

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity

Understanding how climatological averages and ranges are determined from data and graphs.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Reading graph and determining maximum and minimum temperature to determine range of temperatures, and monthly means.

Other skills goals for this activity

Description of the activity/assignment

To prepare for this exercise, students read textbook chapter on temperature (Geosystems, Christoperson 2009) and they read about the differences between weather and climate. The classroom lecture includes definitions of daily mean temperature, monthly mean temperature, mean monthly temperature, range of temperatures, and climatological averages. The students need to read graphs and determine values from the graphs. Simple addition and division are used. The data set used is from the Southern Regional Climate Center and is accessed via the internet. I used the data set from current month (March 2010) and we discussed the past winter and whether or not it was colder than the climatology averages. This helps students understand the difference between weather from climate.
The activity is part of an online activity in Moodle, a classroom management software program used at LSU.

Determining whether students have met the goals

5-question quiz given online in classroom management software. Quiz is open book and open internet.

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Other Materials

Supporting references/URLs

http://www.srcc.lsu.edu/stations/

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