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The Algebra of Earth Science
In this activity, students will graph carbon dioxide levels against temperature change over time and examine the data to look for trends. Another plotting exercise is provided in which they examine the relationship between the retreat of glaciers and sea level change. Non-linear trends (exponential or quadratic) are discussed and students investigate them by plotting population against time. Since many of the measured parameters in Earth science change with time, students will try to find if these changes are linear or not, and whether they can be used to predict future trends.
Intended for grade levels:
  • High (9-12)
Type of resource:
  • For the classroom:
    • Classroom activity
  • Climatology
  • Geographical Sciences:
    • Physical geography
  • Mathematics
Technical requirements:
Adobe Acrobat reader
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
Activities are Copyright Rice University, however they may be freely copied for educational use so long as headers are not changed. Teachers are encouraged to register using the registration facility so that they receive notices of new activities.
DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-007-774
Educational standards:
  • National Science Education Standards (NSES):
    • 9-12:
      • Unifying concepts and processes:
        • Change, constancy, and measurement
        • Evidence, models, and explanation
      • A - Science as inquiry:
        • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
        • Understandings about scientific inquiry
      • F - Science in personal / social perspectives:
        • Population growth
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Publisher: Rice University, Museums Teaching Planet Earth