Build Your Own Earth

David Schultz, University of Manchester
Author Profile


Build Your Own Earth is a freely available web site to explore the factors that affect Earth's climate. Climate model simulations reveal the annual distributions of 50 different quantities. An accompanying homework for undergraduates is included that could be adapted for other students.

Used this activity? Share your experiences and modifications



Middle school, high school, and undergraduate courses in atmospheric science, climate science, environmental science, or Earth science.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Reading and interpreting maps of the Earth.
Basic controls on Earth's climate (solar input, atmospheric composition, land/ocean differences).

How the activity is situated in the course

Standalone exercise and supporting lecture content.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Get students to understand how climate data is mapped on Earth.
What factors control the Earth's climate in the past, present, and future.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Analysis of graphical data.
Formulation of hypotheses.
External reading of scientific literature.
Synthesis of ideas.
Understanding how computer models of the climate function.

Other skills goals for this activity

searching the web
using a web-based plotting tool

Description and Teaching Materials

Sample homework for first-year undergraduates in an Earth science course.
Homework for Build Your Own Earth (Acrobat (PDF) 1.2MB Apr11 17)

Teaching Notes and Tips


Successful completion of the homework assignment.

References and Resources
This is the web site associated with the homework assignment.