How Do We Know What the Climate Was Like in the Past?by: David McGee and Kim Kastens

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In this Data Puzzle, students interpret a multiparameter graph of pollen data from a sediment core collected in the northeastern United States to assess changes that occurred in the tree community over a period of about 7,000 years. By comparing the pollen graph to present-day flora range maps, students infer temperature changes in the region during the time recorded in the core. Then, students interpret changes in sediment lithology recorded across the same time interval. Putting these pieces of information together, students infer that the sediments record the end of the last ice age in the region. This puzzle is suitable for courses in Earth science, living environment, and environmental science. This free selection also includes the Table of Contents, Introduction, and Index.

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Reviews (3)
  • on Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:36 AM

Using Data Puzzles is an excellent method to introduce paleoclimate to my Biology class. Student pages provide just enough scaffolding to keep students from getting confused, but not so much that the exercise is a “cookbook lab.” This is unique way to introduce another climate proxy—ancient pollen. I love the structure of the lessons in which they provide scaffolding, help diagnose difficulties in students’ thinking process, and aid in the targeting of specific thinking skills. After looking at this chapter, I’m prepared to purchase the book. The suggested extension activities and links are excellent in further study for those wanting more information.

Ruth Lehmann Hutson  (Westmoreland, KS)
Ruth Lehmann Hutson (Westmoreland, KS)

  • on Wed Jul 17, 2013 5:46 PM

I LOVE this book chapter. The purpose of the book is to help students develop data analysis skills, along with critical thinking skills. The data provided is concrete and relevant. The questions guide the students to understanding what the data is telling them. I plan to use some of these modified for my 7h grade students to include "claims, evidence and reasoning.' I highly recommend this book chapter. I actually have the book, and I highly recommend that too!

Susanne Hokkanen  (Orland Park, IL)
Susanne Hokkanen (Orland Park, IL)

  • on Mon Jun 06, 2011 10:34 AM

I like this chapter because students use data as evidence to their conclusions. Eventhough the book chapter does not use it, I use the claim-evidence-reasoning structure to help students frame their final answers. I find student writing is better and demonstrates what they truly know and understand about their conclusion.

Susan German  (Hallsville, MO)
Susan German (Hallsville, MO)

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