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Climate Change, Interpret Data


6th, 7th, 8th




60 minutes

Regional Focus

North America, United States


Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides


This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

Rising Temperatures: Data Analysis Lesson

Created By Teacher:
Last Updated:
May 23, 2024
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This lesson gives students the opportunity to experience a simplified version of how mathematicians and scientists use data analysis and statistics to determine how much our planet is warming due to climate change. Students will create a data table and scatter plot and use linear regression to make predictions about the future. 

Step 1 - Inquire: Students look at a global temperature anomaly graph and discuss how this graph shows a trend of warming temperatures.

Step 2 - Investigate: Students analyze real-world temperature data from a city by creating a data table and scatter plot.

Step 3 - Inspire: Students connect what they discovered about their city to the overall trend of rising temperatures.

Accompanying Teaching Materials
Teaching Tips


  • This lesson fosters independence by letting students choose their city, find their own data, create their own data table and graph, and analyze their data using guiding questions.
  • Students get to use what they learned in the lesson to practice discussing climate change with people who might be skeptical or misinformed.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students need access to their own computer (or teachers could have students work in partners if devices are limited).
  • Students should be familiar with graphing in Google Sheets.


  • Teachers could use this lesson as a mini-project to assess students' understanding of graphing, data analysis, and/or linear regression.
  • For lower levels, teachers can instruct all students to select the same city (use the city from the example graph if you want to make sure there is a positive association).
  • For higher levels, students can look at multiple cities in different regions and compare their scatter plots.
  • This article can be used as an extension or follow up activity for early finishers or students who are interested in learning more.
Scientist Notes

This lesson develops students' statistical skills to analyze weather data, compute trends and variance, and fit scatter plots in regression to understand climate variability in U.S. cities. All materials embedded in the lesson are thoroughly sourced. Accordingly, this lesson is recommended for classroom use.


This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

Supporting Standards

  • Mathematics
    • Statistics & Probability (6-8)
      • 8.SP.A.1 Construct and interpret scatter plots for bivariate measurement data to investigate patterns of association between two quantities. Describe patterns such as clustering, outliers, positive or negative association, linear association, and nonlinear association.
      • 8.SP.A.2 Know that straight lines are widely used to model relationships between two quantitative variables. For scatter plots that suggest a linear association, informally fit a straight line, and informally assess the model fit (e.g., line of best fit) by judging the closeness of the data points to the line.
      • 8.SP.A.3 Use the equation of a linear model to solve problems in the context of bivariate measurement data, interpreting the slope and intercept. For example, in a linear model for a biology experiment, interpret a slope of 1.5 cm/hr as meaning that an additional hour of sunlight each day is associated with an additional 1.5 cm in mature plant height.
  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-5. Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.

Note On Standards:

This lesson is aligned to SubjectToClimate standards. Review the aligned standards directly in the lesson plan document and teacher slideshow.

Discover more on SubjectToClimate.
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