« DataTools Activity Plan Discussion
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jayanthi's datatool activity  

I have implemented a number of datatool investigations to explore Earth Science. Recently, I have also used the ‘moon phases’ data to broaden the understanding of the subject.

This term I want to use the following website for datatool investigations:
www.earthobservatory.nasa.gov. I have chosen this site because I have already introduced the tools to the students. I have given them guidelines as to how to use and follow up on any topic to gain further understanding. I plan to give an open ended assignment so children could explore any topic of their choice and work it in the datatools. I am guiding the children to ask individual questions after preliminary search of the web. However, the broad guideline is to compare atleast 2-6 datasets and look for patterns and surprizes. Look critically at the datasets and further investigate why there was an unexpected data. What factor/s might have caused such a change?

One student has already chosen the topic “Why does the ozone hole occur only at the poles?” This interest was triggered when I showed them the data on Image J of the Antartic Ozone measurements.

I will post other questions as we proceed further.


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I am never very succesful with open-ended assignments.

So could you help me out how you are guiding them into developing their topic questions and understand what deliverables you are expecting from them?




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Hello Arnold,

Thanks for asking the question. I have asked the students to pick a topic about the weather. Download 5-10 images to analyse from Earth observatory site. If they want to study the sea surface temperature in the Gulf area in December then they need to download 1995-2005 December data for sea surface temperature. Before analyzing the data on image J, they need to note down in their notebook as to what they expect to find based on the first image they see on the topic. So if they see 20 degrees for the water temperature for December 1995, they should be expecting near about the same temperature for other years as well. However, when they look at the 10 different images on image J they are likely to see anamolies or 'surprizes.'
In analysis they are supposed to briefly describe whether the event seems to be related to any other factor like the air temperature in the area. Is there a pattern to the anamoly? Is the temperature unusually high or low? How does that data compare with the surrounding sea surface temperature?

This assignment is meant to open up Pandora's box for me. I am hoping to make use of Image J fully for measuring, stacking images and the site to provide us with a number of
unexplored topics like aerosol size and satellite images. I am getting into uncharted waters and hope to learn as we go along.


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