GLOBE Earth as a System- Relationships Among Variables

Students will observe images from all six variables for one month, looking for possible relationships that are occurring between or among variables for their particular month.


  • Students will learn to interpret data represented graphically on a map.
  • Students will learn to identify trends in graphic representation of data, including extremes and variation.
  • Students will compare and contrast the represented data across regions of certain characteristics.
  • Students will think critically on causes of certain trends.


NOTE: The small poster is a color version (340 KB) of the GLOBE Earth System Poster which can be printed on an office copier (using ~11x17" paper). The large poster is a full-size color version (51.9 MB) of the GLOBE Earth System Poster which can be downloaded for printing. The lowres version of the poster is the same size as the large one, but at a lower resolution and smaller file size (2.4 MB).


  1. Distribute the Month labels to each group.
  2. Distribute the images to groups according to month. Each group will have images for all six variables for a single month.
  3. Ask students to identify relationships among data for each month, using the essential questions as a guide.

Framework & Standards

Enduring Understandings

NGSS: Student Performance Expectation (SPE): 

  • 2-ESS-3: Earth’s Systems, 5-ESS2 Earth’s Systems
  • MS-LS1 From Molecules to Organisms: Structure and Processes
  • MS-LS2 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
  • MS-ESS3 Earth and Human Activity
  • HS-LS1 From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
  • HS-LS4 Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
  • HS-ESS2 Earth’s Systems
  • HS-ESS3 Earth and Human Activity

Essential Questions

  • Which regions experience the extreme highs and lows for each variable?
  • Which regions don’t experience the extremes? Why do you think this occurs?
  • What differences, if any, do you find between variations of variables over the oceans versus variations in variables over the continents?
  • What amounts of insolation, surface temperature, cloud fraction, precipitation and aerosols characterize the world’s most vegetated regions for a particular month? Where is the greatest concentration of aerosols originating from and how would you characterize that particular environment based on the six images? 



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