Document Type

Activities and Labs


Climatic changes--Study and teaching (Elementary);


Teachers need to address global climate change with students in their classrooms as evidence for consequences from these environmental changes mounts. One way to approach global climate change is through examination of authentic data. Mathematics and science may be integrated by interpreting graphs from the professional literature. This study examined the types of errors 72 preservice elementary teachers made in producing hands-on materials for teaching graph interpretation skills through graphed evidence of global climate change from the literature. The teaching materials consisted of a graph electronically manipulated on a colored background and enhanced with clip art related to the graph’s topic that was then printed and mounted on colored cardboard. The graph was accompanied by six graph interpretation statements printed on cards that were to be sorted as true or false. Additionally, a topic-related object was provided for each graph for an initial activity that focused student attention and aroused interest. Four graphs with their accompanying statements and four related objects were combined into one box of materials to be used by a small group of students. Preservice teachers practiced with example sets of materials made by the course instructor and then worked to each create a new, unique set. An appendix of many sets of correct materials is provided in this ERIC document. About half of the teaching materials produced were errorfree. The most common errors preservice teachers made were misuse of vocabulary and over generalizing a graph’s information. Other frequent errors included not supplying enough specific information in a statement to allow its verification and misinterpreting a major trend on a graph. These problems can be attributed to preservice teachers’ lack of sufficient experience in graph interpretation. Therefore, the authors conclude that the materials-making exercise was beneficial to preservice teachers and the resulting materials (with any errors corrected) can effectively be used with upper elementary and secondary students. [1 Table, 1 Appendix containing 18 graphs accompanied by interpretation statements.]


Department of Curriculum and Instruction

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