Jump to this Activity »
US Historical Climate: Excel Statistical
http://serc.carleton.edu/introgeo/mathstatmodels/examples/XLstats.html

R.M. MacKay, SERC Starting Point

In this intermediate Excel activity, students import US Historical Climate Network mean temperature data into Excel from a station of their choice. They are then guided through the activity on how to use Excel for statistical calculations, graphing, and linear trend estimates. The activity assumes some familiarity with Excel and graphing in Excel.

Activity will take about two hours depending on the familiarity with Excel.

Discuss this Resource»
Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Climate is determined by the long-term pattern of temperature and precipitation averages and extremes at a location. Climate descriptions can refer to areas that are local, regional, or global in extent. Climate can be described for different time intervals, such as decades, years, seasons, months, or specific dates of the year.
About Teaching Principle 4
Other materials addressing 4a
Climate is not the same thing as weather. Weather is the minute-by-minute variable condition of the atmosphere on a local scale. Climate is a conceptual description of an area’s average weather conditions and the extent to which those conditions vary over long time intervals.
About Teaching Principle 4
Other materials addressing 4b
Environmental observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system. From the bottom of the ocean to the surface of the Sun, instruments on weather stations, buoys, satellites, and other platforms collect climate data. To learn about past climates, scientists use natural records, such as tree rings, ice cores, and sedimentary layers. Historical observations, such as native knowledge and personal journals, also document past climate change.
About Teaching Principle 5
Other materials addressing 5b

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:C) Collecting information
Other materials addressing:
C) Collecting information.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.1 The Earth as a Physical System:A) Processes that shape the Earth
Other materials addressing:
A) Processes that shape the Earth.

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Educator has to be careful to not allow students to draw too broad of conclusions from one station. For example, a given station may indicate a cooling trend even though the globe as a whole is warming.
  • Students unfamiliar with Excel should complete an introductory Excel activity (see resources listed in activity) before working through this activity.
  • Students should be able to work through this activity at home or in a computer lab with no supervision.

About the Science

  • Students work with real data for their home region.
  • Data used in the activity is only available until 1994, which is acceptable given the activity is about historic data, but certainly not ideal. More recent data is available on the USHCN Website so the educator can update the activity.

About the Pedagogy

  • Activity is primarily a mathematical skill builder, using data from a scientific database.
  • Questions posed in the instructions at various points in the activity help keep students on track and help them to abstract from the presented data and see the reason for the statistical analysis.
  • Activity relies heavily on Excel knowledge and skills - could be a disadvantage for some less tech-savy students.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Very extensive Excel instructions and good links for further reading/help.
  • Getting current data from the interface is fast and responsive for getting data plots.
  • All required materials are downloadable from site.

Jump to this Activity »



Have you used these materials with your students? Do you have insights to share with other educators about their use? Please share with the community by adding a comment below.

Please use this space only for discussion about teaching with these particular materials.
For more general discussion about teaching climate literacy please use our general discussion boards.
To report a problem or direct a comment to the CLEAN project team please use our feedback form (or the feedback link at the bottom of every page).
Off-topic posts will be deleted.

Join the Discussion


Log in to reply