Teaching Notes

Example Output

Note: This chapter was retired in October 2018. The visualization tool (My World GIS) is no longer supported.
Example Output
Map of surface temperature changes influenced by ground cover displayed in an example in My World. Click on image for larger view.

While the specific details of each local study will vary, this example shows what a completed GIS project may look like. This project shows how surface temperatures change as the type of ground cover varies on a school campus. While this study has been done on a small scale, the results allow users to form hypotheses about the larger-scale implications of their findings.

The My World Tour window provides a way for users to communicate their conclusions or introduce their GIS project. The map view contains a satellite image of the local area and the plotted data, which are visually represented according to a color, size and/or shape scale. The table(s) of data can be viewed and edited from within the project file. Additionally, projects can contain links to images, documents, and websites.

Grade Level

This chapter is most appropriate for students in grades 9-12.

Learning Goals

After completing this chapter, students will be able to:

  • design an experiment;
  • collect and record geospatial data;
  • analyze geospatial relationships in a GIS;
  • communicate information in a GIS; and
  • draw conclusions to an environmental question.

Background Information

Before presenting students with this inquiry project, teachers may wish to view this website on geographic inquiry produced by ESRI, an established GIS company. The document provides information about the process of using GIS technology to explore geospatial relationships.

Learning Contexts

The example provided in the following set of procedures examines the relationship between land cover and surface air temperature. This could help students to understand the urban heat island effect. Here are some other investigation possibilities:
  • If another body of water is nearby, students could map water quality data.
  • Students could bring in samples of soil and/or water from their own homes to test in the classroom, and then this data could be mapped for analysis.
  • If students live in different water districts, it may be interesting to compare the qualities of their drinking water.
  • Students could map atmospheric data on campus over time.
  • If the campus is in an urban area, it may make sense to monitor certain air pollutants.

Science Standards

The following National Science Education Standards are supported by this chapter:

Grades 5-8

  • Identify questions that can be answered through scientific investigations.
  • Design and conduct a scientific investigation.
  • Use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret data.
  • Develop descriptions, explanations, predictions, and models using evidence.
  • Think critically and logically to make the relationships between evidence and explanations.

Grades 9-12

  • Identify questions and concepts that guide scientific investigations.
  • Design and conduct scientific investigations.
  • Use technology and mathematics to improve investigations and communications.
  • Communicate and defend a scientific argument.
  • Scientists rely on technology to enhance the gathering and manipulation of data.

Other Standards

The following National Educational Technology Standards for Students are supported by this chapter

  • Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.
  • Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources.

Time Required

A minimum of three 50-minute periods.

Depending on the instructor's level of experience with GPS/GIS and My World, preparation time will vary. The instructor should take time time to become familiar with My World functions and to practice collecting GPS data and importing into My World.

Other Resources

What is GIS?this website was developed by ESRI Schools and Libraries Program and was revised in April of 2007.
Geohistorical Perspective of GISthis brochure provides a historical account of GIS, excellent examples of starting points for GIS exploration and a list of websites and other resources for using GIS.